Whole-School Mental Health Programming: Concentric Collaborative Conversations
MetadataShow full item record
This workshop will describe the development and operation of the Wellness Empowerment Program (WEP), and a mental health capacity building project, funded by Alberta Health Services, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and operating in two schools of choice serving Muslim students. From initial program consultation, program development, staff supervision, consultation to school staff, to service delivery to children and families, WEP was developed, and operates, collaboratively. The WEP project team engaged the community stakeholders, board members, and school administrators, using practices from solution-focused therapy and appreciative inquiry, with attention to the discourses in which education and school-based mental health services are embedded, and attending to the interface between Muslim and mainstream culture. WEP’s school support counsellors and therapists consult to teachers and administrators using narrative and solution-focused techniques, and utilize solution-focused and narrative ideas to develop classroom management plans and to deliver direct counselling services to children and families. The presenter will describe approaches to school-based mental health intervention, how collaborative and social constructionist principles can be practiced in the development of programs, articulate principles for conducting collaborative cross-cultural development and counselling, and describe lessons learned in the delivery of culture-infused school-based counselling. This workshop describes how the WEP used existing innovative practices from solution-focused therapy, narrative therapy, and appreciative inquiry to create collaborative engagement across cultures. The program builds on current applications by using postmodern ideas and practices to bridge across cultural, racial, and religious lines, and promotes social change by providing a context for social justice promotion, systemic change, and transcultural understanding. The presenter will invite participants to contribute their experiences of using collaborative approaches to develop programs and services, and work with staff and stakeholders. Particular attention will be paid to participants’ experience of transcultural work.