Recognize and Respond to Mental Health

May 4, 2019 @ 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School
278 Wellington St E
Aurora, ON L4G 1J5

Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Regional Pro Grant

Keynote Speaker, Sam Fiorella

Founder of The Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench

Sam is a highly sought after speaker and advocate among parents and students on the subject of mental health, an effort that has earned him this year’s Canadian Mental Health Association’s 150 Difference Makers Award.

Panel Discussion including Q & A with Workshop Presenters

ABC’s of recognizing and responding to mental health concerns in schools

Participants will have an opportunity to learn the range of services available to support students with mental health needs in schools, including psychological and behaviour resource services. Parents will also learn how to access online resources available on the York Catholic District School Board website.

Presenter: Dr. Soula Homatidis, Chief Psychologist, YCDSB

Dr. Homatidis joined the York Catholic District School Board in 2003 as the Psychologist on the ASD team and has been the Chief Psychologist for the past three years. She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Toronto (since 2002).

Dr. Homatidis’ range of clinical experiences includes diagnostic assessments, treatment and development of day treatment programs addressing behavioural, developmental and emotional concerns in children, adolescents and adults. She has worked extensively with individuals with anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Learning Disabilities, Intellectual Disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dual Diagnoses (i.e., the co-occurrence of mental health problems with a neurodevelopmental disorder), emotional disturbance, neglect, behavioural challenges and difficulties with emotional regulation. In addition, she has consulted for community agencies, day treatment programs and inpatient facilities.

Tackling Stress and Anxiety-Health and Wellness strategies for young people!

Help Mom, I am stressed!!  Participants will gain insight into how to recognize stress and anxiety in children. They will also understand how to develop wellness strategies to better support children.

Presenter: Lisa Wood, Choices Program Coordinator, CHMHA

Lisa Wood has been with the Canadian Mental Health Association York Region for almost 20 years. She is the Program Coordinator for the Choices program, an early intervention substance program for youth in grades 7-12. Lisa’s greatest passion is listening to kids and giving them the tools to navigate through their teen years, healthily and happily. Her educational background includes a range of professional enhancement courses and a B.A. in Psychology. For the past six years, Lisa has taken on the role of Volunteer Lead for CMHA’s annual Mental Health in Motion, a community fundraising event for local youth mental health. She is also a parent of a young adult daughter and a teenage son. Lisa places great value in self-care, both mental and physical. She says, “It’s okay to take care of yourself,” and shares this with other parents that she meets along the way.

The Teenage Brain

Participants will discuss the teenage brain in the context of understanding brain development and communication styles. There will also be a discussion on validation as a tool in communication and the importance of self-reflection and self-care.

Presenter: Rosalinda Ceci, Mental Health R.N., Humber River Hospital

Rosalinda has been a mental health nurse for 18 years. She has a Masters degree in nursing and is a certified psychiatric mental health nurse with the Canadian Mental Health Association. Most of her experience has been working in adolescent mental health at the Sick Kids Centre for Community Mental Health (formerly the Hincks Dellcrest Centre) in Toronto. She was a volunteer nurse with the Sherbourne Health bus, providing medical care and basic hygiene supplies to marginalized people in downtown Toronto. She is currently a Nurse Clinician at Humber River Hospital, providing mental health assessments, consultation and staff coaching. She is also a part-time instructor for the community mental health program with Herzing College. Rosalinda has experience running various groups, such as CBT based groups, structured relapse prevention and self-esteem groups as well as various methods of counselling including Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

Mental Health First Aid

Participants will learn to teach people how to: recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, provide initial help and guide a person towards appropriate professional help. This workshop will provide an overview of the two-day MHFA course and will offer some basic strategies for recognizing and supporting an individual dealing with a mental health crisis.

The Presenter:  Lynn McLarnon, Executive Director St. John Ambulance – YR Branch

Lynn McLarnon has spent her career in the not-for-profit sector, most of it with family and health-related charities in York Region. Her experience includes over a decade in palliative care and bereavement organizations, where she developed one of the largest children’s bereavement programs in the GTA. She also worked with a national neurological health charity, supporting and advocating on behalf of families and children living with Tourette Syndrome, mood and anxiety disorders and other neurological challenges. Lynn is not a mental health professional but works through shared experience and a peer-support model

Mental Health Matters – A York Region Perspective

Participants will have a greater understanding of prevention, resources, and programs available in York region. Mental Health Matters is a highly collaborative initiative that engages both internal stakeholders and various community organizations (i.e. CMHA, LOFT, York Support Services Network, etc.) with the aim of addressing the
complex needs of clients through better coordination of services, management of crisis through prevention and training and resiliency building for staff and clients.

Aisha Saintiche – Strategic Advisor for Mental Health Matters, Community and Health Services of YR

Aisha has been with York Region for over 10 years leading various programs related to Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion and most recently Mental Health. She has a Masters in Public Policy, Administration and Law, certified as a Change Management Practitioner through Prosci ® and completing her certification as a Health Coach.

In her capacity as a Strategic Advisor, Aisha is leading the department’s first Mental Health Initiative that looks at mental health in a holistic way by growing the department’s capacity to better serve those who are living with mental health and mental illness. Aisha is also a Board of Director for the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT).