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York and UVic launch Caring Minds, mental health Web site for students, teachers and parents in Grades 7-12

York and UVic launch Caring Minds, mental health Web site for students, teachers and parents in Grades 7-12

Researchers at York University and the University of Victoria in British Columbia have taken the latest research in mental health and worked with teachers, as well as mental-health-system users and service providers, to create an online curriculum easily used by teachers and grasped by high-school students.

Caring Minds: Youth, Mental Health & Community helps young people address the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health concerns and treatment. It provides Grade 7 to 12 teachers, students and parents with four teaching units—covering discrimination and stigma, housing and poverty, rights and activism, and well-being and treatment—that come with activities, lesson plans and resources.

The project garnered coverage in Victoria, BC’s Times Colonist on Feb. 18.

Led by Megan Davies, associate professor in York's Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies' Department of Social Science (left) and E. Anne Marshall,  professor of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies at UVic, the project was funded in 2009 by York and UVic's joint Knowledge Mobilization program, which launched several pilot projects by offering grants to help researchers and their partner organizations address research issues with relevant public policy and/or professional practice implications. Greater Victoria School District #61, which covers Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal and a portion of Saanich and Highlands, is among the project's partners.

Caring Minds features original artwork created by William Willis, a sixteen year-old secondary school student, and help make the site visually appealing while keeping its focus appropriate for a youth-centred project.

Davies and Marshall are now disseminating their research findings, pursuing additional funding to further resource development and expand the program internationally while seeking ways to integrate their materials with other provincial curricula and international Web sites. A more detailed overview of the Caring Minds Web site project is available here.

The curriculum project is part of a larger heritage initiative that is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. As part of that initiative, Davies has been active in the creation of another Web site, The History of Madness in Canada, which serves as a research, resource and educational hub on mental health issues.

By Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer, with files courtesy of YFile – York University’s daily e-bulletin – and Mobilize This! – researchimpact's blog about knowledge mobilization at York University and the University of Victoria.