Students’ well-being and social connections

Strong, Tom, Drefs, Michelle, Wilcox, Gabrielle, Zwiers, Michael, Mu, Guanglun Michael, & Lailey, Laureen (2014) Students’ well-being and social connections. In The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) 2014 Conference, 22-24 October 2014, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Unpublished)


Description of Workshop/Poster Presentation This presentation will showcase CORE Connections – ‘Creating Opportunities for Resilience and Engagement’ – which is a whole-school approach to mental health promotion. While initially designed to prevent adolescent depression and substance abuse, current thinking suggests that competency enhancement (e.g., autonomy, competence, supportive networks) more widely improves students’ well-being, educational engagement, and learning outcomes. In the presentation, we will provide an overview of the CORE project, describe the CORE intervention, which is conceptualized as a dynamic and penetrating process of social practices, present some preliminary findings from the pilot phase of CORE, and conclude our presentation with an interactive section with the participants. This project will highlight a wellness focus that addresses social engagement within whole school cultures. Purpose of the Presentation Student mental and physical well-being has gained increasing attention. Our presentation will introduce the CORE project, which has a potential to decrease student depression, anxiety, and substance use, and to increase student self-esteem and learning outcomes. In this vein, our presentation will raise the public awareness of the salient role of social connection in student well-being. Specifically, a group of presenters will discuss the impact of social connection on students’ anxiety, mathematics achievement, and perceived racial discrimination. • We will present participants with an alternative way to conceptualize and approach mental health promotion within a school context. In contrast to prescribed programs that are commonly used in today’s schools, CORE is a whole-school approach that is flexibly integrated into all aspects of the classroom and school environment. Our aim is to illustrate the intervention principles of CORE while highlighting examples of mental health outcomes/transformation. • Underutilized in mental health promotion research, social network analysis provides critical information in understanding relationships between social cohesion (e.g., a student’s connectedness to others) and mental health outcomes. This session will showcase how focusing on and strengthening social connections in and out of school can contribute to student well-being, achievement, and mental health. Educational Objectives By the end of the presentation, participants will • obtain a general overview of the CORE program, • understand how psychological health and school performance relate to student well-being, • and understand how social connections in and out of school can contribute to student well-being. Interactive / Participatory Component We will invite audience members to discuss inhibitors and contributors to student well-being and the best ways for schools to help students feel safe, connected, and valued. Presentation Key Points • Overview of the CORE project • Theorization of social connection • Some empirical studies emerging from CORE • Presenter-audience interaction Evidence of Relevance and Utility to Participants Potential participants are adults with significant relationships with students, either as family members, community neighbors, educators, scholars, service providers, or policy makers. Our presentation will inspire these significant adults to construct a welcoming society to help improve student well-being.

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ID Code: 85108
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 02 Jul 2015 23:10
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2015 23:10

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