The Core Connector Initiative is a mental health literacy program developed in partnership with the Adam’s Apples Foundation and the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education: Centre for Group Counselling and Trauma. The module-based program is facilitated by UBC Master’s level practicum students under the supervision of senior doctoral-level psychologists. The Core Connector Initiative is designed to help youth gain peer support strategies and mental health knowledge. It aims to reinforce positive help-seeking behaviours in schools by educating today’s youth on the relevant components of mental health literacy. Core Connectors are then able to provide greater advice, insight, and support to their peers, improving the environment of all participating schools and community centres.
The Core Connector Initiative is founded upon four pillars:
1. Mental health literacy
Comprised of four components: understanding how to obtain and maintain good mental health, understanding mental disorders and their treatments, decreasing stigma, and enhancing help seeking.
2. Peer support competencies
Students are trained in the fundamentals of peer-to-peer interaction such as listening skills, empathy, and peer support strategies.
3. Resource promotion and stigma reduction
Core Connectors learn about the appropriate and accessible mental health resources available to youth in their community. They are also educated on stigma, and the ways to combat negative constructs surrounding mental health.
4. Youth-led programming and leadership development
At the heart of the Core Connector Initiative is the acknowledgment that students should have the opportunity to learn mental health literacy and the tools to help one another.
Because youth’s wellbeing is greatly influenced by their daily peer-to-peer interactions, educating students on the pillars discussed above is imperative to maintaining and improving the mental wellness of today’s youth. Following completion of the two-day workshop, students develop an action plan specific to their school that focuses on some aspect of mental health knowledge/support, which is then implemented under the direction of their Principal and school facilitator.
How to apply: Students must submit the following application in advance in order to be admitted into the program. The Core Connector Initiative is open to all students 15-17 years of age. A certificate of completion from UBC and Adam’s Apples Foundation will be mailed to the student’s counsellor, which can then be used to apply for a $500 scholarship.
2019/20 CCI Dates
October 25 & 26, 2019 – University of British Columbia
November 8 & 9, 2019 – Vancouver. Location TBD
February 14 & 15, 2020 – Location TBD
May 15 & 16, 2010 – Location TBD
All students who have successfully completed the Core Connector Initiative program are eligible to apply for a $500 scholarship towards post-secondary education from Adam’s Apples Foundation. Two scholarships are awarded to the successful recipients per school year.