Workshops

The 50th Banff International Conference on Behavioural Science

Ideal Mental Health Services for Children and Youth: The Next 50 Years

March 18 to 21, 2018


A. Integrating adolescent substance abuse treatment into behavioural health practice

Holly Waldron, Oregon Research Institute

Adolescent substance abuse is common among youth receiving behavioural health services for depression, disruptive behaviour, and related problems. Although comorbidity is high among youth in treatment, clinicians often refer youth to specialized addictions treatment rather than addressing substance use directly. Many such youth go untreated or receive services only when problems have escalated. Mental health treatment offers a prime opportunity to address youth substance abuse in an integrated fashion. Evidence-based treatments for many adolescent disorders are highly compatible and can be combined to form a multicomponent approach for treating adolescent substance abuse and co-occurring behavioural health problems. This workshop focuses on treatment strategies for adolescent substance abuse and how to implement these strategies within individual and family-centered mental health services. The workshop will provide an overview of adolescent substance abuse and present core elements of substance abuse treatment strategies, including enhancing motivation, functional analysis of substance use, coping skills for managing drug-use cravings and negative moods, assertive communication, problem-solving, and substance refusal skills and relapse prevention strategies. Options for integrating substance abuse treatment into behavioural health practice and solutions for common treatment challenges will be discussed.


B. Pre-empting student mental health challenges. Earlier identification and intervention: Joining the perspective of ECE’s and special education teachers

David Philpott and Jane Bertrand, Memorial University and Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation

The growing draw on support services in Canadian schools is fueled by weak skills in three core areas of child development: language, self-regulation and social functioning. The economic costs are escalating and student mental health issues are mounting. The combined burden on families, teachers and support services is a significant impediment to child and youth mental well-being. Longitudinal evidence from Canada and the United Kingdom reveal the potential for early childhood education to reduce the incidence of behaviour and learning difficulties related to mental health challenges and improve children’s social and emotional well-being. The workshop will explore the current demand and cost of support services and examine the preemptive potential of early education. Workshop participants will examine a continuum of play-based learning and early identification/intervention beginning within the early childhood education platform to support children’s self-regulation, language development and their effectiveness in reducing mental health issues and special education involvement.  


C. Context and development in cognitive-behavioural treatment for anxiety in children and adolescents

Anne Marie Albano, Columbia University Medical Center

This advanced workshop will offer an understanding of the role of development and context in the maintenance and treatment of anxiety in youth (ages 7-17). Dr. Albano will examine anxiety within a developmental context to differentiate typical from excessive anxiety and anxiety disorders.  As anxiety starts by age 4, affected youth increasingly incur disability in their coping resources, severity and comorbidity, and fall behind same-aged peers in meeting usual developmental milestones of childhood and adolescence. This presentation will review risk factors, the impact of anxiety on functioning, and the ways that the context of the family and environment interact to result in stalled development that compounds and complicates anxiety-related problems. Conducting a developmental functional assessment is key and participants will learn the model and assessment frame for incorporating primary caretakers into treatment to facilitate maturation as well as anxiety management. “Stepping up tasks” for young children and “scaffolding work” for adolescents and their parents will be presented. Addressing parental anxiety about the child, and models for family problem solving and contingency contracting will also be addressed.  Participants will also gain information regarding medication treatment and combining this modality with cognitive-behavioural therapy.


D. Social and emotional learning: Systems change for students and educators

Mark Greenberg and Christa Turksma, Pennyslvania State University and CREATE

Social and emotional learning (SEL) has undergone dramatic growth during the past decade and there is now substantial interest and use across Canada and the US. This work has expanded from evidence-based curricula in the classroom to also include the well-being of teachers and the broader goal of creating systems change to create healthy and caring schools.  This workshop will cover aspects of social and emotional development for both students and teachers and present a conceptual model of the components of a healthy and caring school. Using illustrations from the PATHS Curriculum (for students) and CARE 4 Teachers Program (for educators), this active workshop will demonstrate and practice skills that create caring classrooms and healthy schools.  In doing so, the workshop will also discuss key challenges in implementation of SEL programs with students and educators, including the role of principals and other administrators,  and how one can take a systems approach to create collective change.


E. Promoting well-being among Indigenous youth through strengths-based culturally-relevant mentoring

Claire Crooks and Mike Cywink, Western University

Indigenous youth continue to experience disproportionate rates of social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties, as well as lower educational attainment than their non-Indigenous peers. School-based services have not met the needs of these youth and there is increasing interest in strengths-based programming that addresses youths’ needs more holistically. This workshop presents research and programming related to the Uniting Our Nations mentoring programs. These mentoring programs include a combination of social and emotional learning development with a focus on healthy relationships skills, embedded within a cultural framework. These programs have been developed over the past decade and evaluation has shown that they increase positive mental health and cultural connectedness for youth participants. The workshop will include a combination of theoretical and research background combined with experiential activities. The experiential activities are drawn from the Uniting Our Nations group-based mentoring program for elementary students and the peer mentoring program for high school students.


F. Contribution of e-health with families and youth to an ideal mental health system

Patrick McGrath, Dalhousie University

The world is wired. Almost everyone is communicating through their mobiles, tablets and computers. Children and youth are particularly engaged in electronic communication. Mental health is ideally suited to e-health methods and there have been dozens of studies and many systematic reviews demonstrating effectiveness of e-health solutions. Yet, by and large, we have clung to traditional models of care in which patients come to professionals’ offices during regular office hours for face-to-face care. We will explore the challenges of scaling up use of e-health in mental health and discuss what is needed to make  e-health part of the system of care. We will discuss Strongest Families, an e-health, coached intervention for child and youth mental health that serves over 45000 families across Canada each year. We will introduce Health Ensuite, a set of apps for family doctors to prescribe for their patients.


G. Research-policy partnerships in children’s mental health: Lessons from British Columbia

Nicole Catherine, Christine Schwartz, Charlotte Waddell, Simon Fraser University

We will provide an overview on a 15-year research-policy partnership that aims to improve children’s mental health in BC. A public health perspective — considering early social determinants in addition to promotion, prevention, treatment and monitoring — has informed this partnership. We have also been guided by the principles of “research-informed practice” to ensure that public policy advice is always based on the best available evidence on intervention effectiveness for children. We will describe our partnership activities and projects including: consulting on service planning; producing systematic reviews on prevention and treatment interventions; and co-leading the BC Healthy Connections Project (BCHCP), a large randomized-controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of the Nurse-Family Partnership program across BC. Building on BC examples, we will invite participants to explore the benefits and challenges associated with working with policymakers in their own settings — as well as the potential impact that such partnerships can have. As the BCHCP scientific director who regularly hears stories of young mothers and their children (NC), as a clinical psychologist (CS), and as a child psychiatrist (CW), we will also explore how research and clinical practice provide crucial “laboratories” for ensuring that children’s interests and realities remain at the center of research-policy partnerships.


H. Taking evidence-based parenting interventions to scale: Learnings from large-scale implementation of the Triple P system

Matthew Sanders, University of Queensland

Triple P as an integrated, multilevel system of parenting support designed to be delivered at a whole of population level has now been implemented on a large scale in multiple jurisdictions, across diverse countries and languages. This workshop focuses on  key learnings relating to optimising child, parent and professional outcomes. The workshop will discuss key learning relating to provision of training and supervision, ways of ensuring adequate population reach, how to practically apply the principle of “proportionate universalism,” using a Collaborative Partnership Adaptation model (CPAM) to address cultural diversity, creating meaningful consumer and end user engagement, ensuring fidelity at scale, and design a robust evaluation system. Implication for policy and practice are discussed.