Nurturing Resiliency

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Sault Area Hospital (SAH) recently hosted the 15th Annual Mental Health and Addictions Fall Symposium. Over 200 attended the event with participation from organizations across the Algoma District, including Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa, Elliot Lake and Blind River.

“The theme of this year’s symposium was assessing and nurturing resiliency in children, youth and families as a protective factor against mental illness,” says Jane Sippell, Director of Mental Health and Addictions at SAH. “The symposium attracted mental health and addictions and child care providers from organizations such as SAH, Group Health Centre, Algoma Public Health, Algoma Family Services, Canadian Mental Health Association, Community Living Algoma, Children’s Aid Society and both school boards,” she adds.

SAH’s Mental Health and Addictions Fall Symposium consisted of two key note speakers. Dr. Kathy Short is a Clinical Child Psychologist that leads the Knowledge Translation and Exchange Team for the National School Based Mental Health and Substance Abuse Consortium. She reported on the excellent work that is being done to promote Mental Health in Ontario Schools.

The key note speaker was Dr. Michael Ungar, a family therapist, Killam Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University, and Co-Director of the Resilience Research Centre. Dr. Ungar taught clinicians and child care providers how help children to confront their adversity to become more resilient. He also presented strategies for professional helpers to sustain their own resilience, both at work and at home.

Dr. Ungar shared some excellent strategies to nurture resilience, when working with children and youth with complex needs. “He spoke to a sold out crowd and it was very well received,” says Sippell. He also delivered a one-hour presentation to parents and child care providers in the community, providing practical parenting tips to help develop resiliency in children and youth.

SAH extend its thanks to all partner organizations for their participation and congratulates the Mental Health and Addictions Program on hosting a successful and informative conference.