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With mental health issues on the rise in Canadian classrooms, teachers and educators are in need of professional development and training opportunities that address mental health and how it impacts students and the learning environment.

Developed in partnership with the Faculty of Education, our multi-module, blended certificate provides K–12 educators and related professionals with the opportunity to better understand mental health. Strategies to facilitate student learning and classroom resiliency will be provided.

Those wishing to register in the MHIC certificate must have classroom or administrative responsibilities within the education system, or be working towards a Bachelor of Education. Interested paraprofessionals may contact Carolyn FitzGerald, certificate designer and instructor, regarding their suitability for the certificate.

Certificate Details

Our Mental Health Issues in the Classroom (MHIC) certificate will:

  • Improve your ability to recognize mental health issues in the classroom.
  • Develop your skills and strategies to support students experiencing mental health issues.
  • Give you an understanding of how to liaise, connect and communicate with mental health resources in the community.

The certificate is available in a blended format, offering a combination of online coursework and in-class workshops. There are seven modules in total, each requiring approximately nine hours of online study. In addition to the online modules, two full-day, in-class workshops are required. These workshops provide a forum for discussion and exchange of experiences and ideas, as well as the opportunity to practice key skills.

Module 1 is mandatory and must be completed before participating in additional modules. Modules 2–7 can be taken in any order.

To enrol in the Level 1 in-class workshop, you must have completed Module 1 and two additional online modules (e.g. Modules 1, 2 and 4). To enrol in the Level 2 in-class workshop, you must have completed Module 1 and at least three of the additional online modules (e.g. Modules 1, 2, 4 and 6).

Participants wishing to obtain the certificate must complete all modules within a three-year period. You have the option to register in modules of interest or need only and not receive the certificate.

Registration

Details regarding registration can be found on our registration webpage.

Register for the Mental Health in the Classroom modules

In-Class Workshops

Level 1 In-Class Session

Check back for details on the next Level 1 In-Class Session offering.

Level 2 In-Class Session

  • Next offering: Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Place: Laurier's Waterloo campus
  • Register for the session.

Certificate Modules

Module 1: An Introduction to Mental Health Issues in the Classroom

Note: This course is a prerequisite for registration in all other modules of the Mental Health Issues in the Classroom certificate.

In this introductory module, we cover various topics related to mental health issues in children and teenagers, and the potential impact these issues have on learning.

In this module you'll learn about:

  • Mental health literacy as it applies to the classroom setting.
  • Relevant strategies to promote good mental health in the classroom.
  • Symptoms indicative of potential mental health problems, causes and associated risk factors.
  • Your role as one of the multiple partners in the team required to support a child or teenager with mental health issues.
  • The mental health system in Ontario, including the different roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals.
  • Strategies to encourage students to support classmates experiencing mental health issues.

Time: 9 hours, online.

Date: Monday, Feb. 6 to Friday, March 3

Registration Deadline: Feb. 3

Fee: $50.

Instructor: Carolyn FitzGerald, assistant professor, Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, PhD (clinical psychology).

Module 2: Depression and Other Mood Disorders: When Sadness Takes Over

Mood disorders are a complicated mental health issue that do not discriminate according to age. Youth and adolescence are at risk for developing depression and other mood disorders. Depression is much more than simple unhappiness, and mood disorders are much more than depression.

In this module you'll learn about:

  • The many facets of depression and other mood disorders.
  • Practical and specific strategies to support children and adolescents suffering from depression and other mood disorders.
  • Meaningful strategies to promote good mental health, care, and compassion in your classroom and within your students.

Time: 9 hours, online.

Date: Monday, Oct. 17 to Friday, Nov. 11

Registration Deadline: Oct. 14

Fee: $150.

Instructor: Carolyn FitzGerald, assistant professor, Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, PhD (clinical psychology)
.

Module 3: Anxiety Disorders: Moving Beyond Helping Students Cope with Everyday Stress

The feeling of anxiety is a common and expected part of life for any child or adolescent. Anxiety is a natural and predictable response to stressful life events, and can even provide us with important information about danger. However, not all feelings of anxiety are common, beneficial or normative. This module is designed to help you develop a thorough understanding of the difference between reasonable and expected levels of anxiety, and anxiety that interferes with and disrupts normal development and mental well-being.

Strategies will be presented to help you guide students in managing their everyday anxiety, and the anxiety that interferes may interfere with their learning.

Time: 9 hours, online.

Date: Monday, Nov. 21 to Friday, Dec. 16

Registration Deadline: Nov. 18

Fee: $150.

Instructor: Carolyn FitzGerald, assistant professor, Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, PhD (clinical psychology)
.

Module 4: Self-Harm and Suicidality: Key Issues in Reducing Risk and Preventing Harm

Suicidality and self-harm are difficult topics for most people. It can be hard to understand why young people might harm themselves or worse, end their lives.

You want to help but what do you say? What if you say the wrong thing? Where can you go to find help for students?

In this module you'll learn about:

  • The signs of distress that may indicate self-harm.
  • The skills you need to engage in a difficult conversation with an at-risk student.
  • Reducing your natural sense of fear and discomfort with this topic, allowing you to feel more confident and to take action if necessary.

SafeTALK training:

safeTALK training is integrated into this module. The  $20 fee associated with this additional professional development opportunity has been added to our standard course registration fee. Participants who have completed safeTALK training will need to provide a copy of their certificate.

Time: 9 hours, online.

Date: Monday, Jan. 9 to Friday, Feb. 3

Registration Deadline: Jan. 6

Fee: $170, includes safeTALK training.

Instructor: Carolyn FitzGerald, assistant professor, Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, PhD (clinical psychology)
.

Module 5: Body Image and Eating Disorders: When the Mirror Talks Back

Eating disorders are complicated, so equipping yourself with accurate and relative information is incredibly important. There can be life-threatening health consequences to an eating disorder. Simply put, intervention can save lives.

Increasing your knowledge and awareness about the potential warning signs of an eating disorder puts you in a better position to possibly change the course of a young person’s life, helping them find long-term health and happiness.

This is a crucial module for educators of all grade levels. Early intervention is critical when dealing with eating disorders and issues related to body image. Your ability to recognize the warning signs in young students can help reduce their risk for later problems.

Primary and junior school years are an excellent window of opportunity to help build resiliency in young children, so they can better resist negative media messaging, and social pressure to engage in unhealthy eating and weight-related behaviour.

Time: 9 hours, online.

Date: Monday, Feb. 6 to Friday, March 3

Registration Deadline: Feb. 3

Fee: $150.

Instructor: Carolyn FitzGerald, assistant professor, Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, PhD (clinical psychology)
.

Module 6: The Impact of Addictions on Learning: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Alcohol and Drug Use and Dependence in Children and Youth

Substance use is pervasive in our social world, but its a subject that rarely gets directly addressed. Our goal for this module is to start the conversation about substances, use and abuse, encouraging you to have open and honest conversations about drugs and alcohol, especially within your school’s setting.

Similar to Module 5, content in this module is particularly relevant for all educators, including those who work with the primary and junior grades. The early years are a formative time in the lives of students; educating them on the dangers of substance use and abuse may reduce the likelihood of problems or dependence later in life.

We will also introduce you to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and provide you with strategies to support the learning needs of students affected by it.

Time: 9 hours, online.

Date: Monday, March 6 to Friday, March 31

Registration Deadline: March 3

Fee: $150.

Instructor: Carolyn FitzGerald, assistant professor, Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, PhD (clinical psychology).

Module 7: Disruptive Behaviour Disorders and Psychotic Disorders: When Challenging Students Challenge You

The media is full of frightening images and ideas about what it means to have a serious mental illness. As a society, we have all paid the price for these distorted and inaccurate descriptions, but those who have experienced psychosis, and those who suffer from disruptive behaviour disorders, have likely been hurt the most.

Our goal for this module is to provide a remedy to the inaccurate information and misperceptions about psychotic disorders, encouraging open and factual conversations about the topic, especially within your school’s setting.

We also intend for participants to develop strong and relevant skills for working well with students struggling with psychotic issues or behaviours.

Time: 9 hours, online.

Date: Monday, April 3 to Friday, April 28

Registration Deadline: March 31

Fee: $150.

Instructor: Carolyn FitzGerald, assistant professor, Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, PhD (clinical psychology)
.


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