April 29, 2014 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

A team of King’s psychology students were recognized by The CMHA Champion of Mental Health Awards at the Breakfast of Champions in London on April 29th. Four King's students, Adam Newton, Katie Hart, Josh Hanna & Rylan Waring, were nominated in the organization category for their project, PEARS (Psychological Education, Awareness, and Reduction of Stigma). All four are fourth year honours students in psychology.  Their project was part of Dr. Marcie Penner-Wilger’s class PSYCH 4694.

PEARS developed a research-based mental health education program for youth.  The goals of the PEARS program are to create awareness about mental health and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. The program can be implemented in a variety of settings including schools, community groups or even adapted for sensitivity training in corporate settings.  The program is comprised of seven modules that cover a range of mental health topics including: defining mental health and mental illness, stigma and positive mental health, stress and effective coping, common mental health concerns in youth, eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Each module contains a lesson plan with both content and experiential learning activities. The lesson content and method of delivery are based on a thorough, interdisciplinary review of peer-reviewed research. PEARS used current research on mental health and effective strategies to bring about attitudinal change to maximize the effectiveness of the program. Local mental health resources for the London-Middlesex region are included in the guide. All materials needed to implement the program are provided for free on the PEARS website (http://pearsmentalhealth.webs.com), including the facilitator’s guide, activities, student handouts, fact sheets and multimedia.