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Hub Update: Special Edition, 2022 Annual Symposium Highlights 
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2022 Annual Symposium Highlights

This special edition of the Hub Update is a reference for main messages and products from the Hub’s second annual symposium. It is intended to reinforce what happened at the event for those who attended and extend the learning to others. The Update includes links to session recordings, key messages, quotes from speakers and other resources, all available on the Hub website. To help orient you to the essence of the event, you may find it helpful to view a 2022 Annual Symposium highlights video (20 minutes). The video narrates a collective story of all who contributed to the event, with thanks from the KDE Hub for the many relevant, generous and authentic contributions from participants, speakers and facilitators.
2022 Annual Symposium highlights video
The KDE Hub 2nd Annual Symposium was fully virtual and fully open. With a primary focus on helping mental health promotion flourish in Canada, the event aimed to:  
  • Grow awareness of mental health promotion innovations across the country, including projects involved in the Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF) 
  • Grow connectionswith people, knowledge and other resources to support their mental health promotion efforts 
  • Grow skills for what and how to learn about and apply promising approaches for mental health promotion 
The event aims were addressed with daily themes and sessions that built on each other. This Update is organized by the daily themes. The full symposium program is available on the Hub website. 

Over 300 people registered for the event from all provinces and territories across Canada. Over 180 participated in one or more sessions. As expected, a large group was from the MHP-IF, including local projects, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) MHP-IF team, and KDE Hub collaborators. They were joined by others with diverse interests and roles in mental health promotion, including many from the federal government and multiple sectors. 
Mental Health Promotion in Action

Helping mental health promotion flourish starts with an understanding of what is mental health promotion. To help grow this awareness, the Hub produced a short video (‘What is Mental Health Promotion’) and made it available before the 2022 symposium. At the opening session, we built on this background by profiling the 20 projects participating in the first phase of the Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF). They are mental health promotion in action. The projects both showed and told what they are doing in a virtual Project Gallery and in breakout rooms at the opening session. A short montage of voices and visuals from MHP-IF projects reinforced the many compelling whys for the work we all do.

Additional inspiration and context for the MHP-IF and other programs was offered by Elder Jean Becker (University of Waterloo), Drs. Kristiina Montero and Wendy Fletcher (Renison University College), and Minister Carolyn Bennett (Government of Canada). They also reinforced the value of gathering as an emerging community, especially at this unique moment in history for growing mental health promotion in Canada.
Welcome and opening remarks:
Kristiina Montero, Jean Becker, Wendy Fletcher, Honourable Carolyn Bennett
  • Session description and list of speakers 
  • Recording of opening remarks
  • Key messages and quotes 
  • Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund Project Gallery 
Hub video: What is mental health promotion? 

Hub video: Voices and visuals from Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund projects 
Actions for Helping Mental Health Promotion Flourish

Participants brought their understanding of what mental health promotion is and what it looks like into sessions that explored actions for helping mental health promotion flourish. Actions and perspectives were explored with keynote speakers, a moderated panel discussion, an online interactive exercise, and breakout room conversations. We heard about the importance of upstream efforts to promote wellbeing, especially to address an ‘echo pandemic’ of mental health in Canada that is affecting some populations much more than others. We heard that the biggest gaps to fill are structural and systemic. To fill them requires fundamental change; shifts in paradigms and mental models for mental health and its promotion. The gaps are fillable. An equity-based approach is essential. Equity is achievable with culture as a foundation for wellness. It is achievable with inclusivity and diversity as drivers and a central focus on community-level action. Indigenous leadership must be honoured and present. Ideas and strategy are useless if not followed by implementation. Helping mental health promotion flourish takes having a larger purpose than ourselves. We can only have this larger purpose if we tend to conditions that help ourselves flourish. 

Helping mental health promotion flourish panel: 
Barb Riley, Claire Betker, Carol Hopkins, Kwame McKenzie, Pascale Mantoura, Brenda Restoule
 
  • Description of the presentations and speakers 
  • Presentation recording 
  • Key messages and quotes 
  • Session description and list of panelists 
  • Recording of the panel discussion 
  • Key messages and quotes 
  • Additional resources 
  • Session description and highlights 
  • Summary of participant thoughts on actions for helping MHP flourish 
Knowledge in Action for Mental Health Promotion 

Consistent with the Hub’s purpose, the role of knowledge in helping mental health promotion flourish was a focus on the final day of the symposium. Background for the online sessions was a written summary of new knowledge across MHP-IF projects during Phase 1, distilled from two rounds of conversations all 20 projects had with the KDE Hub. Project teams animated the findings in breakout room discussions and a panel discussed directions for knowledge mobilization more generally. Ten themes summarized main findings from Phase 1 project stories, including insights on pandemic adaptations, promoting equity and cultural safety, and systemic supports and challenges for growing mental health promotion. The value of learning across diverse projects was reinforced. Optimal value from this learning will take weaving a knowledge mobilization mindset and way of working into all aspects of research, policy and practice. The most promising mindset and approaches for knowledge mobilization are transformative. De-construct colonial knowledge systems. Embrace a broader view of ‘quality evidence’. Privilege relationships. Bring a stance of ‘not knowing’, humility, and generosity. Accept discomfort as dominant paradigms are examined and shift. 

Knowledge mobilization panel: Christine Chambers, Louis Sorin, Stephanie Priest, Valerie Salt
Emerging new knowledge from the Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund 
  • Summary of findings from two rounds of conversations with 20 MHP-IF projects 
  • Description and highlights from roundtable discussions 
Panel discussion: Emerging knowledge and shaping future knowledge development 
  • Session description and list of panelists 
  • Recording of the panel discussion 
  • Key messages and quotes 
  • Additional resources 
Closing Session and Opening to the Future

The symposium closed by reinforcing the need for many fundamental changes along with a strong sentiment of hope and optimism for making them. The “hope is real and it is big,” especially with the heightened awareness, commitment and leadership from communities, from policy influencers and makers, from all who gathered for this event, from others who are helping mental health promotion flourish. We are a growing community that will capitalize on a growth phase for mental health promotion, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are the “power of ones.” 

Closing session speakers: Shannon Bradley Dexter, Barb Riley, Karen McKinnon
Closing session: Consolidate the present, reflect on the past, anticipate the future 
  • Session description and highlights 
  • Presentation recording 
  • Key messages and quotes 
The 2022 Annual Symposium is over but hopefully any promising contributions will extend beyond the event and to a broader community. We hope the spirit, messages and products contained in this special edition support these extensions. All session recordings, key messages, quotes and other resources are available on our website

Sincere thanks, once again, to those who joined us for this year’s symposium, and to all of you who are helping mental health promotion flourish, in your own lives and others. Special thanks to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund community, and Renison University College for helping to create the conditions for our collective learning and efforts. 
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