Details for the 2020 meeting will appear shortly.  The format will not differ substantially from that of the 2019 meeting that appears in the following.


Banff 51 – School Mental Health

Equipping Schools and Communities to Support Student Mental Health

March 17 to 20, 2019

Workshop registration will be restricted to ensure a reasonable size.  If there is insufficient room in a workshop, you will be asked to enroll in another.

Workshop A:

Implementing Science:  Supporting Evidence-based, Implementation-Sensitive Mental Health Promotion and Prevention in Schools

Kathy Short, School Mental Health ASSIST, Ontario

The scientific literature is increasingly clear about what works for enhancing student mental health and well-being at school.  Unfortunately, most attempts to introduce evidence-based programming in schools are short-lived, small in scale, dependent upon external partners, and delivered with variable fidelity to established protocols.  To grow and sustain effective mental health promotion and prevention practices that reach every student, a system-wide, implementation-focused approach is needed. This workshop will highlight foundational elements that set the stage for scalable and sustainable school mental health programming.  In addition, early experiences with introducing, testing, and disseminating programming that is both informed by evidence, and sensitive to implementation context, will be shared. Workshop participants will be encouraged to share their experiences with school-based evidence-based programming, and to discuss enablers and challenges involved in “implementing science” in our schools.  

Workshop B:

Teacher Education for Mental Health

Susan Rodger, Centre for School Mental Health, Western University

Teachers are on the front lines of mental health, yet often are left out of critical conversations and development opportunities. The unique demands and challenges for educators and schools require us to be resourceful, effective and supportive in times where we are trying to do more with less, and support inclusion, healthy classrooms and healthy workplaces. During this interactive workshop we will discuss the professional role and development needs for teachers with respect to mental health and describe three projects and related evaluations aimed at increasing teachers’ knowledge and resources for mental health: 1) a mandatory online course in mental health literacy for teacher education students; 2) a web site created with teachers to provide accessible and evidence-informed resources that address many mental health topics for both teachers and students; and 3) ongoing research to bring trauma and violence-informed care to teachers at both the pre-service and in-service levels.

Workshop C:

STRONG Resilience Intervention for Newcomer Children and Youth

Sharon Hoover, National Center for School Mental Health, University of Maryland

Refugee and newcomer children and youth can experience significant distress and adjustment difficulties, even after their initial settling period. In this presentation, we describe the STRONG program for newcomer children and youth. The STRONG intervention is a manualized approach that includes 10 weekly sessions, and aims to strengthen newcomer groups’ transition resilience, promote individual strengths and skills to make positive choices, and provide a positive sense of self and belonging. The sessions draw on cognitive-behavioural therapy approaches. In addition to the group sessions, clinicians facilitate an individual session with each participant to help them process their journey narrative. Participants subsequently share parts of their journey narrative with the larger group. Clinicians are also encouraged to facilitate a parent meeting as part of the intervention. We will describe the development of the program, the implementation system and logistics involved with delivery, and the preliminary results of a 10-school pilot trial. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to try some of the strengths-based activities from the program.

Workshop D:

From Evidence to Impact: Supporting Effective School Mental Health Practices with Multi-level Implementation Strategies

Aaron R. Lyon and Eric J. Bruns, University of Washington SMART Center

This workshop will discuss how to apply implementation science to promote effective school mental health (SMH) services. The workshop will review implementation frameworks and determinants (i.e., barriers and facilitators) at multiple levels, with potential implementation strategies for targeting each level. Examples include strategies to motivate and engage teachers, counselors, and other staff persons charged with implementing SMH strategies (individual level); school-level strategies, including leadership enhancement strategies (inner setting); leveraging the district/state (or provincial) policy and funding context (outer setting); and the user-centered redesign of SMH interventions themselves (the innovation level). The overarching goal is to provide actionable strategies for ensuring implementation success, as well as the improvement of students’ social, emotional, and behavioral wellness. We also hope to discuss new directions in implementation research and practice relevant to school mental health.

Workshop E:  

Evidence-based Practices to Reduce Behavior Problems in Elementary School Classrooms

Carl Sumi, Centre for Learning and Development, SRI Education

The What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide (PG) “Reducing Behavior Problems in the Elementary School Classroom” offers concrete recommendations for reducing the frequency of the most common types of behaviour problems encountered with elementary school children. The PG focuses on strategies teachers and school staff can use in classrooms tomorrow, while at the same time recognizing their occasional need for the support of other professionals within the school or in the community more broadly. This presentation will describe the recommendations in the PG, then continue with a description of two evidence-based practices designed for elementary school classrooms: 1) the problem-solving program Tools for Getting Along, a curriculum that is taught to the whole class;  and 2) First Step Next, an early intervention program designed for at-risk students in the early elementary grades who show clear signs of emerging antisocial behavior patterns (e.g., aggression toward others, oppositional-defiant behavior, tantrumming, rule infractions).

Workshop F:

From Avoiding Risk to Nurturing Resilience: Transforming Drug and Gambling Education

Dan Reist, Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, University of Victoria

This workshop will deconstruct the theoretical foundations of traditional addiction prevention education and explore alternative constructs drawing from theories of addiction and education. Building on this foundation, the workshop will then explore a shift from a risk-focus to a resilience-focus for drug and gambling education. The emphasis throughout the workshop will be on probing into the practical implications both in terms of curriculum and pedagogy. In considering curriculum, participants will be challenged to question what it is that students need to learn in order to thrive in the modern world of addictions and to propose answers to that question. These answers provide the competencies that need to be articulated in the curriculum. In looking at pedagogy, participants will address practical implications both in terms of methods and contexts for teaching such competencies and in terms of teacher capacity.

Workshop G:

Promoting Resiliency and Well-being Among LGBT2Q+ Youth Through a Group Intervention

Claire Crooks and Alicia Lapointe, Centre for School Mental Health, Western University

LGBT2Q+ youth experience increased mental health issues and problematic substance use compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, in large part because of minority stress and discrimination. This presentation describes the development and implementation of the Healthy Relationships Program for LGBT2Q+ Youth, which was adapted from an evidence-informed mental health promotion program for adolescents. The program is comprised of 18 sessions (45 minutes each) and can be implemented in schools through a Gender and Sexuality Alliance or as a separate intervention group. This workshop will include an overview of some of the psychosocial challenges faced by LGBT2Q+ youth. Workshop participants will learn about the underlying principles of the program and the focus of the individual sessions. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience and practice some of the strategies included in the program. We will also discuss implementation strategies and initiate plans for successful program delivery. All attendees will receive a program manual.

Workshop H:

Advancing School Mental Health Globally: The School Mental Health International Leadership Exchange

Mark Weist, University of South Carolina

Kathy Short, School Mental Health ASSIST, Ontario

Emerging from the International Alliance on Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools (INTERCAMHS), in 2013, the School Mental Health International Leadership Exchange (SMHILE, see began to support global collaboration in improving school mental health (SMH). SMHILE is guided by a Core Development Team, with leaders from Canada, the USA, Australia, England, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden.  This global team has developed a number of strategies and platforms for SMH system leaders to connect, share ideas, and build collaborative projects (e.g., presentation strands at world conferences, scientific articles, international web-chats). This workshop will review critical themes emphasized by SMHILE, networking that has and is occurring, and updates from recent global SMH forums in Stockholm, Sweden; Las Vegas, USA; and Warsaw, Poland.  Opportunities presented by the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) to be held in Washington, DC in September, 2019, with meetings in Canada and the USA will also be discussed.