April 28, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Tuesday April 28, 2015, King’s psychology students Adam Newton, Josh Hanna, Katie Hart, and Rylan Waring were presented with the 2015 Champion of Mental Health award at the St. Joseph’s Health Care Breakfast of Champions. The team’s project, PEARS (Psychological Education, Awareness and Reduction of Stigma), is an educational program designed to provide youth with an interactive and informative mental health education experience.  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. All the research conducted for the project was done by the fourth year students under the supervision of Dr. Marcie Penner-Wilger and Dr. Cathy Chovaz.