The theme of the 17th annual EGSS Conference at McGill University is Let’s Get Learning: The Importance of Mental Health and Well-being in Education. Through this conference, our aim is to promote the importance of positive mental health and well-being practices in education by creating a platform for students, educators, and researchers to integrate perspectives from kinesiology, education, and psychology across the Faculty of Education and beyond.
Mental health is currently a prevalent theme in Canadian public discourse. Current estimates suggest that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental health problems before the age of 25 (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2015). Mental health challenges include (but are not limited to) anxiety, depression, eating and weight-related problems, substance abuse, gambling, self-harm, and suicide. When left untreated, mental health problems can significantly impact young people’s social relationships, academic achievement, employment opportunities, physical health, engagement in risky behaviours, and quality of life, and can lead to significant difficulties throughout the lifespan (see Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2016 for more info). Furthermore, mental health challenges disproportionately impact marginalized groups, including LGBTQ2 communities, Indigenous peoples, and individuals with medical conditions, physical disabilities, and/or developmental exceptionalities (e.g., Bjorgaas et al., 2013; CBC News, 2017; Galloway, 2017). Given that the majority of mental health problems have their onset in childhood and adolescence (Merikangas et al., 2010), early detection and intervention is key. As youth spend most of their time at school, identification and service delivery for mental health problems in educational settings is paramount. Further, schools represent the ideal setting for promoting positive mental health pedagogy and practices via interdisciplinary collaborations between educators, pediatric health professionals, and researchers.
To promote this goal, the 17th annual EGSS conference will feature dynamic leaders in the field of mental health and well-being and include meaningful dialogues between students and stakeholders across intersecting disciplines in the Faculty of Education at McGill University and beyond. Through the dissemination of current cutting-edge research by students, faculty, and community partners, our objective is to extend our understanding of mental health challenges and evidence-based practices that can be used to optimize mental health and well-being within the Canadian education system. We invite submissions of research relevant to some aspect of the conference theme or that can be applied to research or practice in education more broadly.
Bjorgaas, H. M., Elgen, I., Boe, T., & Hysing, M. (2013). Mental health in children with cerebral palsy: Does screening capture the complexity?. The Scientific World Journal, 2013, 1-7.
Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2015). Child and Youth Mental Health in Canada. Retrieved December 18, 2017, from https://www.cihi.ca/en/child-and-youth-mental-health-in-canada-infographic
CBC News. (2017). Transgender youth health study reveals “alarming” statistics on mental health. Retrieved December 18, 2017 from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/transgender-youth-mental-health-alberta-1.4348751
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2016). Mental Illness and Addictions: Facts and Statistics. Retrieved January 4, 2018 from http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/about_camh/newsroom/for_reporters/Pages/addictionmentalhealthstatistics.aspx.
Galloway, G. (2017, June 19). Ottawa must act to address Indigenous suicide in Canada: Committee. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/urgent-action-needed-to-address-indigenous-suicide-in-canada-committee/article35384932/
Merikangas, K. R., He, J. P., Burstein, M., Swanson, S. A., Avenevoli, S., Cui, L., … & Swendsen, J. (2010). Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in US adolescents: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication–Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 980-989.