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Wednesday, June 17 • 1:45pm - 3:15pm
Mental Health & Youth Voices -Lisa Evanoff, Kelli Sirianni, Danielle Root, Petro Erasmus, Ria Schroder, Linda Liebenberg

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Mental Health & Youth Voices:

Abstract #3
Mobilizing the Power of Community In Nunavut to Protect from Suicide
Presenter: Lisa Evanoff
This session will look at how the Canadian Red Cross is working with a territorial partner, the Embrace Life Council, to reduce suicide by mobilizing communities through prevention education. This unique partnership funded by the Government of Nunavut aims to provide community  training and action planning; vital violence prevention training at the school and community level and cultural specific workshops to link traditions and modern realities. Using a framework called Ten Steps to Creating Safe Environments for Children and Youth, the outcome is a community-owned plan that is driven and implemented by communities. From there adults and children and youth are trained in all aspects of violence prevention. To date 10 of the 26 communities have taken the training.

Abstract # 13
Project BLAST: Breaking Barriers, Loving Yourself, Accepting Others, Similarities not Differences and Totally Inclusive Experience
Presenter: Kelli Sirianni
This research focuses on the one-day event, Project BLAST, and its intrinsic and extrinsic impact on student and adult participants. BLAST stands for: breaking barriers, loving yourself, accepting others, similarities not differences, and totally inclusive experience. Using small and large group activities, BLAST is a transformational day and described by many as ‘an eye-opening experience’. Its philosophy is that when one feels accepted, capable and competent, they are able to develop, positively adapt and to feel and be resilient. Resilience is crucial to one’s ability to develop into a socially competent citizen, and for this reason, must be incorporated as an element of character education. Education must target all aspects of the student, including the academic, personal and social self. Former adult participants were interviewed on the impact this event has had on them as adults, including short and long term implications, as well as its perceptive impact on students. Evaluative feedback forms collected from student participants after each event were incorporated into the qualitative thematic data analysis in drawing conclusions. Findings indicate BLAST as having an impact on resilience and sense of belonging as well as on the presence of respect, empathy, support and compassion/acceptance, among its student and adult participants. 

Abstract # 56
What Healthy Attachments Mean To Aboriginals
Presenter: Danielle Root 
Aboriginal populations are too often studied for what is "wrong" with them.  Initially, my research interest entailed finding ways to foster healthy attachments between young Aboriginal mothers and their young children in the "critical age range" (0-33 months).  I thought about ways in which we can help decolonize some of the learned, unhealthy parenting practices as a result of colonization.  Although this is still my ultimate research goal, I have learned that there is a gap in what is known to be "healthy attachments" in the context of Aboriginals.  Therefore, instead of going with what traditional attachment theories suggest as being "healthy" attachments, I must first give self-determination back to those with whom I wish to help foster those healthy attachments; the young Aboriginal mothers.   By first asking the question of what attachment means to them, I will have a better understanding of how to help foster it.  While it is important that we not ignore the negative effects that colonization has had, and continues to have on our people, I believe that focusing on our strengths is the most critical step in the process of decolonization.

Abtsract # 41
Eliciting The Life Story When Working With Adolescents: Introducing The Fortune Teller As A New Creative Technique
Presenter: Petro Erasmus
This paper aims to introduce a new and innovative technique for eliciting the life story when working with adolescents.  The fortune teller is a paper folding technique that has been part of play in various cultures. This paper folding technique has been adapted by the author as a creative tool for use in therapautic settings when working with adolescents to elicit their life story. This paper will exlain the rationale for using this technique in individual therapy and counselling ‘settings to elicite the life story and help the adolescent to explore their life stories.  The information obtained through this techniques offers the therapist insight into the emotional well-being of the adolescent by focusing on life themes, self-concept,  identities, self-talk, coping mechanims, traumas and hope (dreams and aspirations).  It contributes to facilitating understanding for the adolescent of their ego states and thought processes.  This technique contributes to establishing the therapeutic trust relationship in the first session and it can be used in individual and group settings in working with children who experiences trauma such as divorce, bullying, bereavement. The adolescent becomes an active participant in planning the therapeutic sessions as this technique allows them to understand the aims of therapy and  reduces resistance to therapy.

Abstract # 57
Building Resilience – Including The Voice Of Youth In Research: Managing The Ethical Dilemmas
Presenter: Ria Schroder Co - Presenters: Linda Liebenberg
Including youth voices in research is not only fundamental to promoting youth resilience by providing genuine opportunities for participation and empowerment, it is also fundamental to research concerned with understanding youth related issues.  Conducting research that includes a diverse range of youth participants, and incorporates use of youth friendly technologies for data collection offers an exciting opportunity for many researchers.  These possibilities become even more exciting when youth are included as part of the project team.  These same possibilities can also become extremely challenging, even to the point of abandonment, when such projects come before ethical review committees.  In this presentation we will highlight i) some of the dilemmas that are perceived by ethical review committees to exist around “youth friendly research” and, ii) the barriers these assumptions create for including youth in research.  We will also reflect on the ethical dilemma these assumptions pose in terms of reducing/eliminating youth voices from research where they are essential.  Strategies for working with ethical review committees to manage these dilemmas will be discussed.

Abstract # 62
Meaningfully Engaging Youth In Research And Evaluation
Presenter: Linda Liebenberg
This facilitated discussion will present core lessons gained from experiences of youth participants and researchers engaged in several research projects internationally. Specifically, we will present key points to elicit discussion around the following three questions: 1. Why should we engage youth meaningfully in research and evaluation? 2. How do we engage youth meaningfully in research/evaluation and dissemination of findings?3. How are community partners (including youth participants) working with researchers to protect the best interests of youth in the research/evaluation process?The focus will be on research and evaluation with youth living in challenging socioeconomically marginalised contexts. The goal of Understanding meaningful engagement is to facilitate connection and knowledge sharing between a diverse group of actors engaged in research (i.e. researchers, community-partners, and youth research participants); and to generate new knowledge about how to meaningfully engage youth in research and evaluation so as to reverse the flow of knowledge from marginalised and often silenced youth to adults in positions of decision-making power.

avatar for Danielle Root

Danielle Root

Danielle Root is from Listuguj First Nation, Quebec. In the year 2000, she came to Halifax, Nova Scotia and completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology at Saint Mary's University. Since coming to Halifax, Danielle has been actively involved in the Aboriginal community in... Read More →

Kelli Sirianni

Kelli Sirianni has received her B.A.[H], B.Ed and M.Ed with thesis from the University of Windsor. Her research interests include the building of resilience, sense of belonging and an overall positive school climate, specifically through an event she has run for four years in local... Read More →
avatar for Linda Liebenberg

Linda Liebenberg

Linda Liebenberg, PhD., Co-Director Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University, is a researcher and evaluator with a core interest in children and youth with complex needs. Her work explores the promotion of positive youth development and mental health, using formal and informal... Read More →
avatar for Petro Erasmus

Petro Erasmus

Senior Lecturer, North West University
I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the North West University where I teach Developmental Psychology and Positive Psychology and I am the coordinator of the Honors course. I also have a private practice which is called the Child and Family Guidance and Development... Read More →

Ria Schroder

Ria Schroder (PhD) completed her PhD at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 2004 and since that time has been an active member of the Collaborative team. In September 2012 Ria was employed as the Research Manager for the Collaborative. She is also a Research Fellow at the... Read More →

avatar for Linda Liebenberg

Linda Liebenberg

Linda Liebenberg, PhD., Co-Director Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University, is a researcher and evaluator with a core interest in children and youth with complex needs. Her work explores the promotion of positive youth development and mental health, using formal and informal... Read More →

Wednesday June 17, 2015 1:45pm - 3:15pm EDT
KTS Lecture Hall NAB 2nd Floor, King's College

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