MONTREAL, DECEMBER 8, 2011 The English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) newly formed Mental Health Resource Centre (MHRC) hosted its first professional development seminar on anxiety disorders recently.
This seminar was a response to a recent needs assessment conducted by the MHRC with the EMSB’s Student Services Department’s psychologists, guidance counselor and behavioural specialist. These professionals identified anxiety disorders as a top concern they observe in their schools and thus the need for this seminar. The invited speaker, a specialist in anxiety disorders, was Dr. Chandra Magill, a psychiatrist from the Montreal Children’s Hospital. She provided an overview of anxiety that included the clinical presentation of anxiety symptoms and the prevalence and the different types of anxiety disorders.
Dr. Magill devoted a significant portion of the seminar to the management of anxiety disorders that included some school-based strategies and the important role of schools as partners in the treatment of such anxiety disorders as school phobia by psychologists or psychiatrists.
The MHRC is composed of a diverse group of professionals and specialists (e.g. psychologists, counsellors, consultants, behaviour specialist, etc.) whose main objective is to address, to the best of its capacity, the mental health needs of the EMSB community. The next step for the MHRC will be conducting a needs assessment with EMSB schools. A number of schools will be surveyed to determine the greatest areas of concern with respect to mental health as well as how services could be directed. The potential service options may be consultations, in-service training for staff, dissemination of information to parents and staff, a resource library, and support for those working with a child with mental health needs.