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Research. Dissemination. Advocacy. Community.

Take Up Space, You Matter!: Fostering (Re)Connection After the Pandemic through Trauma-Informed Community Arts Programming

Project Summary:

This project seeks to research the impacts of trauma-informed arts-based engagements in dance, music and skateboarding on youth’s mental health and wellbeing. This project responds directly to the impacts of isolation and anxiety youth have been experiencing during COVID-19 through trauma-sensitive engagements which will be shaped to increase self-regulation and build healthy relationships. The research team will create a series of workshops to assess the mental health benefits for participating youth and facilitators.
We will satisfy the following 5 main objectives:

  • To create a multi-disciplinary community-university collaborative team. We have a commitment from 3 community organizations, 2 university researchers, and youth with lived experience, and are seeking three additional youth.
  • To better understand existing knowledge through Integrated Knowledge Translation. Drawing from: the Sole Expressions dance program; Dr Marsh’s evidence-, arts- and body-based research in hip hop/popular music; programming/delivery experience from 3 community organizations; lived experiences; and, Dr Reid’s trauma-sensitive pedagogies research.
  • To translate our collective knowledge into a trauma-sensitive, arts-based workshop series supportive of youth mental health, to decrease isolation, increase self-regulation, and build a community for youth whose contexts have been made increasingly vulnerable throughout COVID-19.
  • To offer the workshop series. The workshop series will present three programs occurring weekly spanning 8 weeks in May and June 2022.
  • To conduct both process and product evaluations to shape knowledge dissemination initiatives. The evaluations will be conducted through pre/post surveys and focus group discussions and will lay the foundation for presentations, writing, and social media dissemination.

Project Timeline: Jan 2022-Dec 2022

Project Funded By: Mental Health Research Canada and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation

Project Partners: Community arts-based organizations: GRR!, VibesYQR, FAB

Communities Building Youth Futures (CBYF)

Project Summary:

Communities Building Youth Futures is a pan-Canadian project to develop collective impact and system-wide solutions for youth as they build and act upon plans for their future. A primary goal for engaging youth, aged 15 to 30, facing barriers to education and employment, is to
develop strategies that enable young people to be engaged in their communities and successfully navigate transitions from youth to adulthood. These transitions might include the completion of a secondary school curriculum leading to post-secondary education or apprenticeship experience or employment.

Project Timeline: Feb 2022 – March 2024
Project Funded By: The Tamarack Institute
Project Partners: Government, education, and community agencies; the Tamarack Institute, YMCA

Supporting Youth Resilience and Well-Being in Southern Saskatchewan

Project Summary: 

In 2021, the CTRC sought to expand its network and reach by building relationships with communities in Southern Saskatchewan, including, but not limited to, Cypress Hills, Maple Creek, and Swift Current. Trauma-sensitive programming and opportunities for children and youth were explored, and partnerships secured. Our CTRC team will be working with schools, community organizations, etc to develop well-being-enhancing experiences for children and youth – specifically a Drama collaboration with Swift Current Comprehensive, and an Innovation/ Youth Entrepreneurship Day in Estevan.

Project Timeline: 2021-ongoing

Partners: UR Faculty of Education, SK Science Centre, YouthBiz, EYES Camps, Friends of Cypress Hills, etc.

Public Safety Personnel Families: An Ecosystem of Prevention Resources and Supports

Project Summary:

Our goal is to develop and offer evidence-based and trauma-informed mental health primary and secondary prevention resources and adapt existing tertiary prevention supports to serve micropopulation of PSP families through PSPNET – Families. Developing the PSPNET – Families ecosystem will require an ecological approach that recognizes that PSP and their family members affect one another’s mental health and wellbeing, so support for family members can result in both support for the PSP as well as support for the family members, in their own right.

Project Timeline: Feb 2022-March 2023

Project Partners: CTRC, CIPSRT, , Queen’s University, Wounded Warriors

Mental Health Attendance Policy Initiative

Project Summary: 

This project will be primarily focused on establishing ‘mental health’ as an excusable absence and offering possible interventions for what the data shows. Mental illness is one of the most non-discriminative aspects of our existence. It connects us while tearing us away from one another due to the harsh stigma around this issue. According to a statistic from SAYCW’s research in 2019, 38.6% of youth reported symptoms of depression, and that statistic rose to 48.3% among students who were being bullied. It is also important to highlight that in 2017 the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that suicide was the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults aged 15-34. Not only as educators but as human beings, we can no longer ignore this crisis. As the pandemic has negatively impacted the economy, it is clear that it has also affected the mental well-being of youth in Saskatchewan. SAYCW highlights the implications of the pandemic. In their report entitled “COVID-19 Connections,” they note that increased stress due to the pandemic resulted in higher rates of anxiety and feelings of loneliness and depression. COVID-19 is creating more opportunities for mental health to plummet as isolation, alternative scheduling, lack of active lifestyles, reduction of extra-curricular opportunities, and in some cases, being in unsafe environments highlights the urgency as to why we need to greatly support our youth. We must take immediate and decisive action. 

Project Timeline: 2022-ongoing
Project Partners: Youth with lived experience – Kiah Holness

Canadian Consortium On Child And Youth Trauma

 

Project Summary:

We began participating in the ‘Journal Watch’ explorations looking at emergent child trauma research. We also presented at the first-ever 2021 ‘Child and Youth Trauma Symposium’ with a presentation entitled: Supporting the mental health and well-being of Canadian children, families, and service providers during COVID-19 and beyond: Mobilizing critical knowledge through the creation of our website. 1 in 3 Canadians has experienced adverse childhood experiences, including sexual and physical abuse, and/or exposure to family violence. Some children and youth also face neglect and/or adverse community experiences such as discrimination, poverty, and/or other forms of violence and oppression. Purposeful attention to the right of all children without discrimination to live lives free from all forms of violence, and consideration of issues related to systemic violence, structural inequalities, and cultural safety among Indigenous people, Black communities, and other marginalized groups is paramount to the work pursued by the Consortium.

Project Timeline: Feb 2021 – April 2027
Project Funded by: The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Project Partners: McGill University

Alliance Against Violence and Adversity (AVA): Health and Social Services Research Training Platform for System and Population Transformations in Girls and Women’s Health

Project Summary:

The AVA Health Research Training Platform is located at the University of Calgary, on the traditional territory of the Treaty 7 peoples who include the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Piikani and Kainai First Nations), Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Stoney Nakoda (Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations). The land is also the traditional home to Metis Nation Region 3. We are grateful to be able work, live and recreate in these beautiful lands. The purpose the AVA Training Platform is to create capacity to transform health and social services delivery in the community to dramatically improve the health of girls and women exposed to ACEs. To do this, highly qualified personnel (HQP) require training in community-based research in close association with women and girls (“patients” according to CIHR-SPOR definition). Educating the next generation to undertake community-based research with a focus on gender-and-sex based analysis will enable NFPs to offer programming that is evidence-based and promotes the intergenerational health of girls and women, contributing to population health—the health of all Canadians.

Project Timeline: 2022-2028

Project Funded By: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Training Grant: Health Research, Girls and Women’s Health and Wellness Pool

Project Partners: 150+ Academic and Community Partners; University of Calgary

Conducting a Pan-Canadian Knowledge Synthesis of Trauma-Informed Best Practices in Education

Project Summary:

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education has named mental health and well-being as a pillar in both their Interim and 10-year Education Plans. Recent Research highlights educators’ repeated requests for support in relation to trauma-informed/sensitive ways of being in order to support themselves and their students. Important downstream benefits exist for students when teachers are supported, trained, and feel knowledgeable. To extend these findings, the Child Trauma Research Centre has committed to undertaking a pan-Canadian knowledge synthesis and mobilization project in relation to trauma-informed best practices in education.

Project Timeline: Feb 2022 – April 2022
Project Partners: SK Ministry of Education

Celebrate Pride! With CTRC

Canada recognises Pride Month in June. As we remember the history, the hardships, and the progress made by LGBTQ2S+ communities, we also celebrate diversity. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced existing social, economic, and health inequities within LGBTQ2S+ communities. Canada has a disproportionately high rate of LGBTQ2S+ children involved in child welfare. It is essential to reflect that learning about terminology, policy, and how to support LGBTQ2S+, children and youth is an ongoing and year-round commitment.

To help you learn about, celebrate, and better support LGBTQ2S+, children and youth members of your community, we have compiled some resources. Check out our Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages for more updated content.

Online resources for parents, teachers and kids:

Six tips for talking about Pride month and LGBTQ+ rights with kids

Source:https://www.care.com/c/talking-pride-lgbtq-with-kids/

How can schools support LGBTQ2+ teachers and students?

Source: https://www.edcan.ca/articles/lgbtq2-inclusive-education/?gclid=CjwKCAjw14uVBhBEEiwAaufYx4N5bdUjHn6nbGecH25hq-tYlFU748og5TlK27x91_4FksTWzwWaDBoCtxQQAvD_BwE

How to Explain Pride Month to Your Child

Source: https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/how-to-explain-pride-month-to-a-child/

Pride Month at School: LGBTQ Educators Need Our Support Three things we can all do to make more LGBTQ-positive school spaces.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/gender-and-schooling/202206/pride-month-school-lgbtq-educators-need-our-support

Here are some examples of the many excellent books and resources available:

  • Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden
  • George by Alex Gino
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  • King and King by Linda de Haan
  • My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
  • Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
  • Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Perspectives from the Field: A Teacher’s Take on the Continuous Challenges of COVID-19

With final exams for most high school students concluding last month, members of the CTRC team sat down with a secondary school teacher from within the Regina area to discuss the difficulties students and teachers have experienced due to continuous uncertainty from COVID-19; specifically the “5th wave” caused by the Omicron variant.

Although it seems like we have figured out how to best normalize the situation the pandemic has brought us, everything is still in continuous redevelopment in regards to education. It stands to reason that those transitioning from elementary to highschool and those in grade twelve this year have been most affected by the pandemic. This is because there has been more change in structure and expectations for these two groups – students graduating from grade 12 this year have only ever experienced high school through the lens of the pandemic, and with resilience many have adapted in ways where they seem better adjusted than their peers both older and younger. This is a nice positive to have when the fear still remains for teachers that those mentioned to be strongly affected may be “up to a full grade-level behind in some areas”. With the pandemic and its effect on schools showing no signs of going away, it is continuously difficult for teachers to help those they know may be falling behind. This becomes no easier when teachers are seeing that “regular attendance has continued to drop” for a variety of reasons.

However, the increase in absences isn’t the only thing teachers are noticing. The teacher voiced that, “there has been a noticeable change in social interactions within the classrooms and the halls”. It’s not just the communication between students that has been affected, the masking mandates have also, according to this teacher, hurt the interpersonal relationships between teachers and students. This leaves teachers in a position where “[they] can spend a whole year with some youth but still won’t be able to recognize some outside of school”. It was important for this teacher to note that although most seem to suffer from these changes, “those students with more introverted tendencies seem to enjoy the veil the mask provides”, citing that some students who normally don’t speak aloud in class are now “more willing to answer questions and have their voice heard when called upon”. Despite these concerns, the issues stemming from dips in attendance and remote learning seem to be the hardest hitting.

Despite the difficulties mentioned, teachers have worked extremely diligently to address the challenges the pandemic has presented and have been able to adapt. For some that means changing back and forth from online to remote teaching on short notice, or proactively creating course plans to meet new needs that arise. The biggest takeaways from our conversation with this educator was that teachers have seen the impact COVID-19 has had on education and the changes seen as a result have strongly influenced educators’ views on in-person learning. Despite fears associated with the pandemic, this teacher has noted an overwhelming and continuous push to have education take place in a traditional classroom format.

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For information with regards to possible partnership, research collaboration, and/or sponsorship opportunities, please contact us:
Nathalie Reid, PhD
Director
Phone: 306-585-4543
CTRC, University of Regina
Phone: 306-585-4723; Email: CTRC@uregina.ca