Our book (Strengthening Mental Health through Effective Career Development) launched in January at the Cannexus conference (https://cannexus.ca/) in Ottawa. In all, about a thousand delegates took home copies of the book and some have already read and provided evaluations through the links we set up on our website (please go to http://www.life-role.com/cdmh.htm to complete the evaluation if you have not done so already, even if you have not read the whole book). The reviews and evaluations are positive and speak to the timeliness and relevance of the topic not only for career development practitioners, but for all career development stakeholders (organizations, schools, post-secondary institutions, clients, and parents).
If you were not at Cannexus and would like to order the book, go here — http://www.ceric.ca/cdmh — to see the options (CERIC’s promo is at the very bottom of this email).
We’re now focussing on the next phase of the project, which includes working with CERIC to produce and deliver a free webinar (see below) and possibly a webinar series; deliver workshops across Canada on the topic; and support an upcoming Australian book launch with the Career Education Association of Victoria. We will have more information about all of our post-launch activities as locations and dates are finalized.
One thing that has been scheduled is our first free CERIC webinar which is coming up on April 3. In this session, we’ll provide an overview of the general topic of career development as a support for positive mental health and a more in-depth discussion of models and mechanisms explaining career development’s role in mental health support. We’re hoping to spend some time on evaluation of mental health outcomes and ways to communicate with interested stakeholders. Registration for this free webinar is available at https://ceric.ca/events/free-webinar-your-impact-on-mental-health-april-3/. A copy of the recording will be provided to all registrants, so it’s worth signing up even if you know you cannot attend on the webinar day.
One of the most rewarding aspects of our work on the topic has been hearing from, talking to, and working with others who are keenly interested in the topic. One of the compelling challenges that comes up in this work is involving key stakeholders in the implementation of strategies and measures that explicitly link career development and mental health. Over the past few months, we were able to work with and learn from the Career and Volunteer Services team at Simon Fraser University. Penny Freno, Career Education Manager, had attended our session at Cannexus last year and cajoled the Director, Tony Botelho, into running a workshop. They then had the idea of following the workshop with a consultation session the next day in which the team could really dig into how to incorporate, measure, and communicate positive mental health outcomes into their work. This idea soon led to a consultation with not only the Career and Volunteer Services team but also the entire Student Services leadership group, representing housing, recreation, health, financial aid, and more! SFU’s Health Promotion team had already been doing great work on the health and wellness front, so the leadership group was primed and receptive. Of the many ideas packed into the session, one stand-out was how great it was for each unit to see other Student Services units’ contributions to mental health. The recreation team focuses on relationships, for example, whereas the academic advisors attend to meaning/purpose. Other teams home in on contribution, happiness/satisfaction, or coping/mastery. As a whole, the dominant components of mental health are all touched on by the entirety of Student Services. We were pleased to be included in their process and we’re excited for SFU and their leadership in considering and implementing a strategy that includes mental health among the key outcomes of their career development and other student services. We look forward to hearing them tell the story as it unfolds.
One final note for this edition. Many thanks to you for signing up and following this soon to be official “blog.” We’re currently in the process of setting our web presence and creating a permanent web repository for our work on career development and mental health. This is going to lead to a better, more systematized, and regular process for sharing information about the topic. As we mentioned earlier in the series, we’re looking forward to having guest contributions on the topic and would love to hear from you if you have some ideas about topics or are interested in contributing something yourself.