Over the years, the EMSB has engaged in a broad range of partnerships with a variety of institutions and individuals for the purpose of addressing mental health concerns, as well as enhancing the skill level of its professionals, teachers, and administrative staff in this domain. You will find below a non-exhaustivelist of examples of many of these initiatives, as well as some specific in-house programs:
Jewish General Hospital (JGH)
The EMSB has had a long-standing relationship of over 40 years with the Child Psychiatry Department of the Jewish General Hospital (7 EMSB teachers currently work there), which has provided our Board, as well as other school boards, with intensive day-treatment and family therapy services for students with psychiatric problems.
Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH)
The EMSB has had a similar relationship with the Montreal Children’s Hospital (2 EMSB teachers currently work there), which has also provided day-treatment, in-patient, and short-term consultation for students of the EMSB and other school boards who have students with psychiatric problems.
AMI-Québec has provided school-based prevention programs and has organized workshops for EMSB staff. The focus has been on promoting the mental health of students via the provision of workshops for teachers, professionals, and parents, as well as class-based presentations with an emphasis on the understanding of mental illness and strengthening of resilience skills. Additional programs include ″Friends for Life″ and ″Fun Friends″ which help students cope with feelings of anxiety, worry, and depression through the application of cognitive-behavioral principles, and the building of emotional resilience. This program aims to reduce the incidence of serious psychological disorders, emotional distress, and impairment in social functioning by teaching children how to cope with and manage anxiety, both now and in later life. Teachers play an integral role in this program.
THE HERZL TEENAGE HEALTH UNIT (JEWISH GENERAL HOSPITAL)
The EMSB has had an affiliation with the Herzl Teenage Health Unit of the Jewish General Hospital for over 30 years. Services have included out-patient services via referral from our own staff, and school-based visits by resident physicians where in-classroom discussions have focused on anxiety, depression, suicide, drugs, alcohol use, reproductive health, etc.
On-going affiliation with McGill and Concordia have included research projects, internships, workshops, seminars, with a focus on mental health issues.
HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICE CENTRES
Since 2003, the EMSB has collaborated with the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Santé Publique Montreal, the Health and Social Service Centers (CIUSSS) in Montreal, as well as various local community organizations, with the goal of offering services, programs and resources to students with respect to the issue of mental health.
Each of the 5 CIUSSS centers is working in collaboration with the existing personnel, offering first line basic services in mental health to students in their respective schools.
Some examples of mental health services to students are as follows:
- Mental Health Team for Youth (medical doctor, social workers, psychologists, psychoeducator, specialized educator) which works collaboratively with school personnel, parents, and students to determine the best type of treatment or intervention. This process includes evaluation and recommended interventions, as well as monitoring of the referred dossier.
- A unique approach to basic first, second, and third line services (e.g. CSSS Ahuntsic Montreal North - Equipe Intervention Jeunesse [EIJ]; St. Laurent New Bordeaux Cartierville Cossel Pediatric Centre). The EMSB has had the experience of collaborating with a wide variety of these organizations, which is an advantage in our service to other school boards.
Local organizations provide complementary educational services for the preventionof stress, anxiety, suicide, mental illness, and the promotionof mental health. Examples of these organizations and programs include:
- Mental Illness Foundation – Partners for Life Program for high school students (prevention of teen depression and suicide);
- Agence Ometz – ″Kids Can Program″ – awareness of ″soft drugs″ and co-morbidity with stress and anxiety. Focus on the protective factors to prevent addiction and the promotion of healthy choices and stress reduction;
- Canadian Mental Health Association – prevention and promotion programs for mental health to be used in school settings;
- Friends for Mental Health Association for families and friends of people with a mental illness, along with awareness programs for schools.
BATSHAW YOUTH AND FAMILY CENTRES
A relationship of long duration has existed between Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, and the EMSB with respect to students with serious family issues and psychiatric problems, resulting in the servicing of many students from both the EMSB and other school boards in many of our schools.
Zippy’s Friends is an early intervention, evidence- based, mental health program that aims to develop children’s coping and social skills. The program is facilitated by cycle 1 teachers who have received training to deliver the program in the classroom.
CLINICAL SUPERVISION / CASE DISCUSSIONS
Clinical supervision/case discussions have been incorporated in the form of organized sessions throughout the course of a year with the following individuals:
Currently there are monthly round table case consultations with psychiatrists, a CLSC nurse, psychiatry interns, principals, and the guidance counselors from our outreach schools. The guidance counselors present students with particular mental health concerns, and the psychiatrists then offer their recommendations regarding interventions as well as increasing the knowledge base of our counselors. Following the consultation, the psychiatrist could assist in referring the students to their local CIUSSS, as well as conduct follow-up service as needed.