The past decade has witnessed a global mental health movement with primary goals related to increasing awareness, improving identification and intervention, and reducing stigma. With these ends in mind, mental health is now recognized as a health concern and as a responsibility shared by not only mental health practitioners, healthcare providers and researchers, but by governments, institutions, workplaces, schools, post-secondary institutions, families and individuals. Interventions have been targeted at all of these levels and marked changes in understanding and intervention have ensued. We have a much better understanding of the pillars supporting positive mental health. Current evidence suggests that career development is another key determinant and important pillar of positive mental health.
A core team of researchers from BC and Alberta are exploring the connections between career development and mental health for youth (CCDMHY). There is increasing evidence of the impact that effective modern career development interventions have on variables such as confidence, hope, self-efficacy, motivation, purpose and sense of connection. These outcomes and other products of career intervention are associated with positive mental health. Concomitantly, recent advances in the conceptualization of mental health have resulted in the identification of core determinants or key components of mental health. Increasingly, current research provides evidence of mental health outcomes produced through career development interventions. Moreover, there appears to be considerable overlap between the outcomes of effective career interventions and the determinants of mental health, and the focus of our research is to explore the nature of this relationship. Our broad research agenda has four primary goals:
- to better understand the relationships between common career development outcomes and the determinants of mental health;
- to demonstrate a relationship between career interventions in schools and positive student mental health;
- to provide further evidence of career development as a shared responsibility and pillar of positive mental health; and
- to develop and test career development interventions that would have the most positive influence on mental health, with an emphasis on, but not limited to, interventions for school-aged populations.
We developed strong partnerships with researchers, local school districts and relevant government ministries to form a collaborative network to co-construct the conceptualization, design and implementation of the research agenda. For detailed information about each member of the research team please visit here. For a list of our education and government partners, please click here.