Canadian Psychological Association Letter of Support For Prepare U Mental Health Education For StudentsBy: Prepare U
Prepare U Mental Health Education
32780 Grand River Ave, Suite 202
Farmington, Michigan 48336
December 15, 2022
Dear Mr. Beale:
On behalf of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), we are pleased to provide you with this letter of support for your program, Prepare U, an experiential social emotional learning mental health education program for children aged 13-19 years in middle and high school and their families, and which has expanded to provide educational interventions and preventative digital assessments to multiple demographics.
As you know, the CPA is a national association representing over 7,000 scientist, practitioner, and educator members and affiliates of psychology. Our membership is organized into 34 sections; several of whom are comprised of active researchers and practitioners in the areas of educational and school psychology, children and youth, families, and a range of health topics and disorders. The CPA’s vision is a society where understanding of diverse human needs, behaviours, and aspirations drive legislation, policies and programs for individuals, organizations, and communities, through advancing research, knowledge, and the application of psychology in the service of society.
When it comes to preventing illness, providing effective and needed help early is critical. Research shows that the implementation of empirically supported mental health promotion and prevention programming in schools is associated with improved emotional and behaviour functioning, enhanced academic performance, and cost savings. The Prepare U curriculum’s unique 15-Class program structure includes an integrated sequence of video content, in-class experiential learning activities, and engaging homework to help foster growth and learning and address challenging topics such as suicide prevention, in a meaningful way. Researched in middle and high school students ages 13-19, the Prepare U program has been shown to significantly increase content-based learning, reduce the intensity of traumatic symptoms, reduce symptoms of anxiety, and support overall health, while increasing participant’s self-reports of meaning, purpose, and emotional support.
Co-founded by leading experts in mental healthcare, technology, research, and education, Prepare U launched in 2017 with top level recognition as an IBM Global Entrepreneur Grant recipient. The team behind Prepare U has developed and validated novel assessment tools, been awarded a comprehensive telehealth patent, and created and deployed an evidence-supported experiential mental health curriculum. The Prepare U team continues to develop alliances with international leaders in mental health care and education to create a healthier world. The CPA is pleased to be among those international leaders.
For the reasons articulated within this letter of support, Prepare U is a needed and responsive mental health resource. Working with community mental health organizations, government health officials, and school districts, Prepare U has become a way of frontloading restorative practices, decreasing mental health stigma, improving school culture and health outcomes, and reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
Studies suggest that as many as 14-25% (approximately 800,000) of Canadian children and youth experience significant mental health issues. Most mental health problems can be detected prior to the age of 24, and 50% of these difficulties surface before the age of 14. Mental health difficulties contribute to problems with academic achievement and relationships at school. Whether due to social stigma, problems with access, or unavailability of resources, most children and youth will not receive treatment for their mental health difficulties.
Despite the high prevalence of mental health problems, children and youth do not often access mental health services in communities. As the place where children/youth spend their days, schools can be effective venues for promoting positive mental health, responding to distress, as well as early response and identification. Cognitive and behavioural factors are the cornerstone to addressing the mental health problems faced by children and youth. Also key to the mental resilience of children and youth is giving them opportunity to learn by doing, teaching them coping skills, promoting positive mental health, and preventing illness.
Mental health programs such as Prepare U, that are delivered to an entire class of students, can reach those who may not otherwise be able to access mental health information or support. Programs delivered in schools can also identify when assessment or intervention may be necessary. Students who receive intervention in schools are less likely to discontinue these services than is the case for community-delivered services. Programs delivered in schools provide students with the opportunity to receive social emotional learning instruction and observe emotionally skilled peers model good coping behaviour and attitudes. These benefits of program-based models maximize positive mental health development for all children.
As a professional association, the CPA communicates with its members in many ways, including a monthly electronic newsletter, a quarterly magazine, our website, three peer‐reviewed journals, virtual webinars and workshops, and presentations at our annual convention – to name a few. We also maintain partnerships with other organized groups of researchers, health care providers and consumers of health service both within and outside of psychology. Using these contacts and ready channels of communication, we are prepared to inform our members and the many communities of interest with whom we work about Prepare U should you be interested in customizing it for the Canadian context.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information about our support.
Kerri Ritchie, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Canadian Psychological Association
Karen R. Cohen, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Psychological Association
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