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UNDERSTANDING ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION & SUICIDE EDUCATION TRAINING PROGRAM About the Training Program The Understanding Adolescent Depression and Suicide Education Training Program is designed to enhance the knowledge of health professionals, primary care physicians and educators and enable them to better understand, recognize and assess depressed and/or suicidal youth, as well as appropriately refer them for treatment. The three-pronged approach targeting physicians, health professionals and educators aims to enhance communication between health providers and educators so that young people at risk can be better identified and cared for without falling through the cracks.

The Issue Suicide is a leading cause of death among youth in Canada, and a major risk factor for suicide is mental illness, particularly depression. In Canada, between 15 and 20 percent of youth suffer from a mental disorder that would benefit from appropriate care, and six to eight percent of young people suffer from depression. Early identification and effective intervention for depressed youth is necessary because with time symptoms of untreated illness may increase in severity, and its effects may be more serious. Although effective treatment is available it is often not readily accessed by (or accessible to) the young people who need it.

What’s the Solution? One of the most effective ways to prevent suicide is to identify and treat young people who have depression. Health professionals and educators are in an ideal position to fulfill this role. Training your district’s health professionals and educators to understand, recognize and assess depressed and/or suicidal youth will help to address the impact that depression and suicide have on teens, their families and their communities.

What’s Unique about this Program The Understanding Adolescent Depression and Suicide Education Training Program is based on adult education principles and stresses the importance of critical evaluation of scientific information and learning how to think about the complex issues of adolescent depression and suicide. Not only does it provide best and most up-to-date information on these topics, it gives participants the tools to be able to assess and understand new information as it become available, thus providing the basis for lifelong learning.

really enjoyed the presentation. It “ Ihelped me focus more on research has been the best workshop I “ Ithave ever attended. The content

geared for adolescents rather than the general population.

was relevant to the work I do. I left enriched in my knowledge and skills.

~ Educator

~ Health Professional

Program Results Since April 2007, 419 professionals in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario working in high schools, hospitals, and colleges have participated in the training program. This includes 267 education professionals (e.g. guidance counsellors, youth workers, administrators, and teachers) and 152 health professionals (e.g. social workers, psychology professionals, school nurses). The results from the training progra’s pre and post test show a substantial increase in the knowledge of health professionals and educators.


Training Program for Health Professionals

Training Program for Educators

The 2-day professional development workshop is designed to provide health professionals with evidence-based information about adolescent depression and youth suicide. The goal of the program is to teach health professionals to effectively identify, evaluate, and provide appropriate interventions for depressed and/or suicidal youth.

The 1-day professional development workshop is designed to provide educators with evidence-based information about adolescent depression and youth suicide. The goal is to teach educators how to effectively identify, evaluate, and provide appropriate interventions for depressed and/or suicidal youth.

Day 1 of the training focuses on understanding adolescent depression. It begins with an overview of the concept of adolescence, presents scientific data on mental disorders and depression, and provides a background in developmental neurobiology, moving towards an understanding of mood as a brain function. The program also addresses the complexities of mood and depression as a clinical entity and issues pertaining to diagnosis, and provides an evidence-based analysis of the research literature - including a discussion of levels of evidence and strength of outcome analysis. Finally the program addresses the use of clinical screening tools (e.g. Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale - KADS), and psychological and pharmacological issues including selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) and suicide, and discussions of withdrawal and addiction. Day 2 of the training focuses on understanding youth suicide. It addresses suicide rates in Canada, the issue of data interpretation and secular effects, myths of suicide causality, and approaches to suicide prevention including the public health risk model, health promotion, and clinical care. The program also trains health professionals to use the Tool for Assessment of Suicide Risk (TASR), a clinical strategy for assessment of suicide risk. Finally, the training program deals with postvention and concludes with a discussion of why some suicide prevention strategies do and do not work. Health professionals include: School nurses, social workers, youth workers, psychology professionals, physicians, administrators (health sector)

Educators have a unique opportunity to play an important role in the health and well-being of Canadian youth by learning how to recognize and assess depressed and/or suicidal youth, as well as appropriately refer them to health professionals for treatment. This role can only be fulfilled however if educators know how to be aware of mental health and suicide risk factors and how to identify and provide appropriate interventions for these at-risk youth. The workshop for educators is designed specifically to meet the needs of school personnel who are in direct contact with potentially atrisk youth. It begins with an overview of the concept of adolescence, presents scientific data on mental disorders and depression, and provides a background in developmental neurobiology and adolescent developments. It addresses the issue of youth suicide within an educational context and provides practical and useful approaches to this at the school level. Educators include: Educators/Teachers, school guidance counselors, youth workers, psychology professionals, administrators (education sector)

How to Receive the Training Program The training program for health professionals or educators is presented by Dr. Stan Kutcher, an internationally-renowned expert in adolescent mental health and international leader in mental health research, advocacy, training, policy, and health services innovation. For the cost of $2,500 per day (plus cost for travel, meals and accommodation), Dr. Kutcher will travel to your health or education district and offer the Understanding Adolescent Depression and Suicide Education Training Program to a maximum of 30 participants.

Where does the money go? 100% of the revenue generated from the Training Program goes directly back to the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health, helping to fund future projects to improve the mental health of youth. Check out www.teenmentalhealth.org for more information about Dr. Kutcher, the Chair, and other youth mental health initiatives. For more details on rates and booking the training program contact the office of the Chair at (902) 470-6598.

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