The pandemic has brought discussions of the increased mental health needs of students and educators to the forefront and highlighted the importance of upstream health promotion and prevention to promote well-being and resilience universally. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has been described as the basis for mental health, but exactly how SEL might support mental well-being and/or prevent mental health challenges are not always clear. This interactive workshop will examine the theoretical and practical links between SEL and mental well-being and mental health challenges for both students and educators. The session will also explore links between SEL and other key areas of focus for school mental health such as mental health literacy and trauma informed practice, as well as how SEL fits within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports. Finally, participants will discuss how the links between SEL and mental health can be used to better support SEL and mental health within their school, district or community.
Alex Gist has almost 20 years of experience in the educational field working in a variety of roles from teaching high school English Arts, to teaching English and skills to immigrant and refugee youth, managing SEL based out-of-school time programs, and working as the middle years knowledge-to-action lead for the UBC Human Early Learning Partnership’s. Currently, Alex is a Health Promotion Specialist with the BC CHildren’s Hospital Health Promotion and Health Literacy team. In his free time, Alex is also a PhD student in the Human Development, Learning and Culture program at the University of British Columbia. His research interests include SEL in teacher education and supporting the development of positive student-educator relationships in online and blended learning environments.