CAIS National Leaders Conference

Vancouver, BC | April 15, 2024

Dr. Samji’s presentation, “Spotlight on student mental health and well-being: findings from the YDI and leveraging data for action,” highlighted the critical role of adolescence as a “window of opportunity” for promoting mental health and youth well-being, emphasizing the significant social and personal transitions occurring during this period.   

The session illustrated the opportunity to integrate quantitative data with experiential, qualitative data to provide key insights into youth well-being in school communities. Drawing from recent YDI data, Dr. Samji discussed inequities in BC, where certain groups face greater mental health challenges and experience school less positively than others. 

Sharing examples of recent projects, Dr. Samji highlighted opportunities to use data for mental health promotion planning, specifically to support context-appropriate understanding and implementation. She emphasized that the active engagement of all school community members is key to addressing the province’s current challenges. 

Annual Cascadia Symposium on Environmental, Occupational, and Population Health

Blaine, Washington | January 11 - 12, 2024

Judy Wu, our doctoral student, won the ‘Best Oral Presentation’ award at the Annual Cascadia Symposium on Environmental, Occupational, and Population Health in Blaine, Washington.

Judy’s presentation, “Climate Concern and Eco-anxiety in BC Youth: Findings from the 2023 Youth Development Instrument Survey,” detailed important research findings related to her doctoral thesis, which seeks to generate new knowledge on the mental health impacts of climate change and other environmental issues on youth. Specifically, she is interested in the phenomenon of ‘eco-anxiety’ – the negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and sadness associated with climate change and environmental issues.

From the YDI data, 45.0% of respondents (n = 5089) reported ‘feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge’ regarding climate change and other environmental issues within the past two weeks. Additionally, 40.7% (n = 4530) felt anxious that their personal behaviours would do little to help fix the problems. However, a smaller proportion of students (13.5%) were identified to have a significant number of eco-anxiety experiences (i.e., different experiences of eco-anxiety at moderate to high frequency). Interestingly, several demographic factors were also found to be associated with having a significant number of eco-anxiety experiences including experiencing financial pressure and identifying as LGBTQIA2S+. These findings point to areas where greater research work is required, including collaboration with youth to further interpret and contextualize quantitative YDI results and co-development of youth-specific resources for eco-anxiety.

2023 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health

New Orleans, LA | December 5 - 7, 2023

In December, Dr. Hasina Samji and Dr. Jacquie Maloney from the CHART Lab teamed up with YDI Youth Advisory Council members, Daniel Chen and Harnoor Dhaliwal, and our colleagues Mari del Casal and Dr. Alexander Gist at BC Children’s Hospital Mental Health Promotion and Literacy Team to represent Canada at the 2023 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health in New Orleans.

The conference theme was Building Hopeful Futures for All Youth. Their joint presentation illustrated the value of cross-sectoral collaborations for supporting adolescent mental health and the importance of including youth perspectives in mental health initiatives.

Banff International Conference on Behavioural Science

Banff, Alberta | March 19 - 22, 2023

The 52nd Banff International Conference on Behavioural Science topic was School Mental Health: Utilizing Science, Culture, and Context to Inform Practice. It aimed to highlight both the challenges and opportunities in school mental health, with an emphasis on identifying practical strategies for mental health professionals, educators and administrators, and researchers.

CHART lab members Judy Wu and Julia Kaufmann attended the conference and presented five posters that covered various topics related to youth mental health and well-being, such as eco-anxiety, mental health literacy, the impacts of COVID-19, and school belonging, all using YDI data! 

The posters featured contributions from many members of the CHART lab team—Dr. Hasina Samji, Dr. Jacqueline Maloney, Dr. David Long, Dr. Jenna Whitehead, Jillian Herring, Rachel Correia, and Mari del Casal. The conference was an opportunity to learn about all the ways researchers across Canada and the US are promoting youth mental health and well-being, as well as showcase some key mental health findings from the YDI. 

Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium

Irvine, California | March 2 – 4, 2023

CHART Lab director Dr. Hasina Samji presented The “Wicked” Challenge of Worsening Youth Mental Health – Pandemic Impacts and Beyond at the 33rd Kavli Frontiers of Science U.S. Symposium in Irvine, California. Her presentation illuminated the impact of COVID-19 on youth mental health using both data from the YDI and other sources. She discussed protective and risk factors for youth mental health and highlighted the importance of taking a public mental health approach to prevent worsening mental health outcomes in adolescence.