Last month, we hosted our first Annual Symposium, bringing together team members from the funded projects, PHAC, the KDE Hub and its extended family of collaborators and consultants, and others with shared interests in child and youth mental health promotion in Canada and beyond.
Everything was a ‘first’ for the symposium. It was the Hub’s first offering of what is anticipated to be an annual event, along with ‘wrap-around’ supports throughout the year. Though originally envisioned as an in-person event, the symposium was fully virtual. This shift in format allowed us to accommodate more speakers and participants, and to experiment with ways of creating a welcoming, inclusive, engaging, and safe place for a new and evolving community.
The two-and-a-half-day event included synchronous and asynchronous sessions, three panels, 27 small group break outs, 30 contributors, and the use of a variety of interactive software. The event hosted over 120 participants from seven time zones and 11 Canadian provinces and territories.
Some of the many highlights included:
- The keynote address by Professor Margaret Barry from the National University of Ireland Galway, Head of the World Health Organization Centre for Health Promotion Research, and a leading expert in mental health promotion globally
- A panel discussion by Canadian experts in healthy public policy, health equity, and Indigenous mental health and wellness about opportunities and challenges for child and youth mental health promotion in Canada
- The release of preliminary findings from a Hub-led study on pandemic adaptations by the MHP-IF projects, which were discussed by panelists who brought data and stories from their own research and lived experiences on the impacts of the pandemic
- A suite of presentations by thought-leaders and those who have lived experience with scaling up that explored the what, why, when and how of scaling that is highly sensitive to contexts
It took a community to make an event like this happen. Many thanks, once again, to speakers, small group facilitators, resource people, and everyone who chose to participate in all or parts of the event. The Hub is pleased to be working with all of you!
For a more in depth summary of the 2021 Annual Symposium, see our special edition post-symposium Hub Update. The Hub Secretariat also invites you to explore the various session pages on our website for key messages, session recordings, related resources, and more.
Stay tuned for ways the Hub will support continuing the conversations, connections, and learning from the symposium.