Closing Celebration

Many good journeys are circular. The closing session returned to where we started, with the people and places of the Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF), and with our intentions to explore these and other contexts that influence and are influenced by our work in child and youth mental health promotion. What did we accomplish? What did we experience? What relationships did we foster? How might we consolidate and apply insights and experiences from the symposium? We completed our symposium journey with a celebration of who we are, where we’ve come, and where we may go, with reflections from the Public Health Agency, the MHP-IF projects, and the KDE Hub.

Key messages

    • The MHP-IF provides a unique and timely opportunity for advancing population mental health promotion and health equity
    • The pandemic amplifies both challenges and opportunities for mental health promotion
    • We will optimize our efforts and impacts if we draw and build on existing models, such as social determinants of heath and Indigenous health and wellness
    • The essence of the symposium includes what we did together, how we did it, who participated, and why we gathered
    • The closing of the symposium is an opening to continuing our work together, informed by a better understanding of contexts for the MHP-IF, and infused with a sense of hope


    • Barb Riley, Hub Scientific Director, Renison University College, University of Waterloo
    • Shannon Bradley Dexter, Senior Policy Analyst, Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund, Mental Health and Wellbeing Division, Centre for Health Promotion, Public Health Agency of Canada
    • Vicky Laramee, Acting Manager, Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund, Mental Health and Wellbeing Division, Centre for Health Promotion, Public Health Agency of Canada

In the words of the speakers

This is what makes this funding program quite unique – to have the emphasis and work across multiple dimensions to promote mental health. And we have models, the social determinants of health, to draw upon. Shannon Bradley Dexter

There’s leadership from the nature of how Indigenous health and wellness models have been articulated in particular that relationship between humans and between us and our natural world…I think that it moves our discussion into really that upstream work and enhancing the broader conditions for mental health. Shannon Bradley Dexter

We are really in a time of opportunity and challenge…of course the pandemic has provided many obstacles but also opportunities on how we adapt, improve, and promote mental health, and how we aim to rebuild and reconnect. Shannon Bradley Dexter

It’s not until some experiences happen before you realize the essence of that experience. I believe the essence of this first symposium, our main reason for gathering this year, was to nourish everyone who chose to participate; to nourish our heads and nourish our hearts. Barb Riley

Throughout the event, there has been a pervasive sentiment of hope…. to be fueled through a shared commitment to: LOOK for the good, SEE the good, SHARE the good, and AMPLIFY the good. Barb Riley


January 27, 2021