Minds Across Canada Mental Health Symposia


On the Canada Mental Health Symposia 2013 site there are two presentations from the Symposia accessible for viewing. [hr]

Bullying: Presented by Kathreen Riel

Kathreen works with WITS, a cross-Canada bullying prevention program that started in Victoria. Her presentation looks at bullying, conflict, and intervention & prevention, and she describes in detail the WITS program’s history, staff, program, research and new developments.

What is bullying?  It can by physical, relational or emotional.  There has been an increasing growth in cyber-bullying: bullying through an electronic medium, including computers and mobile devices.

There are three levels of involvement in bullying: perpetrators (sometimes anonymous); targets; and bystanders.

The differences between conflict and bullying are:

  • Conflict is occasional and not pre-planned
  • Bullying is deliberate and intends to harm someone
  • Conflicts include parties that both wish resolution
  • Bullying targets the same person again and again
  • Joking is reciprocal – teasing is not reciprocal

The WITS program works to create responsive safe environments for all children; to prevent victimization; and to end chronic victimization.  Kathreen quotes Constable Payette, “It can’t always be about coming in after the fact, there needs to be prevention.  We would like them to grow up with this.  We are giving them the tools to ask for help.”

The WITS program addresses what to do if someone is bothering you with 4 tools:

  1. Walk away
  2. Ignore
  3. Talk it out
  4. Seek help

WITS provides resources for everyone in the community: parents, community leaders, teachers, support staff, and children to share common strategies and a consistent message, with a Resource Guide and online training for community leaders; a parent’s toolkit of free online resources; and recommended literature list, lesson plans, and online training for teachers.  Kathreen provides an overview of the range of resources available on the WITS website at http://www.witsprogram.ca



Suicide and Self Harm: Presented by Dr Tyler Black

Dr Black talks about how we can save lives and how to approach youth suicide in the 21st century.    He looks at the terminology; the scope of youth suicide in Canada; trends in youth suicide; early detection and screening for suicide, interventions for suicide; and techniques for “suicide prevention”.

His concluding remarks on ‘suicide prevention” are that suicide prevention occurs when:

  1. We make suicide research and education an appropriate priority given the scope.
  2. We shift from a medical model for suicide to a community model for suicide.
  3. We screen youth of age for suicidal thinking.
  4. We address the societal and cultural risk factors that confer a chronic risk.
  5. We institute a network of reaching out and receiving people in need.
  6. We develop treatments that address motivations for suicide.
  7. We all take responsibility for suicide.

To access these presentations, visit Healthy Minds Canada.