Andrew Baxter, MSW RSW, has worked in school-based and community mental health for over 18 years. During his time with Alberta Health Services, he has provided direct treatment for students from K-12, as well as consultation for their families and teachers. Andrew currently serves as the Team Lead for mentalhealthliteracy.org and the Alberta Mental Health Literacy Project. In these roles, he has worked to promote school mental health literacy among students, educators, parents, and mental health professionals at provincial, national and international levels. Andrew has delivered mental health literacy training to over 10,000 educators and supported school leaders from across Alberta and beyond in implementing the mental health literacy approach in their school districts to better address youth mental health needs. Responding to the many requests from educators, Andrew is currently coordinating the development of resources for mental health literacy suitable for students in elementary grades to complement the suite of resources developed for junior high and high school students. He is honored to be a member of the Indigenous Mental Health Literacy committee, supported through the Canadian Institute of Health Research. Andrew provides professional learning for educators through the University of British Columbia Faculty of Education Mental Health Institute and is an Adjunct Lecturer with the University of Calgary Department of Psychiatry. Andrew is actively making parenting mistakes with his two elementary-aged children.
Dr. Yifeng Wei
Dr. Yifeng Wei, MA, PhD, has worked as a researcher and school mental health lead with mentalhealthliteracy.org since 2008. She is currently assistant professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. Her research interests focus on promoting mental health literacy in schools (both secondary and post-secondary settings) to help students gain better understanding about mental health and mental disorders, reduce stigma against mental illness, obtain and maintain good mental health, and enhance help-seeking behaviors. She has made a significant contribution to school mental health research, program development, and education across Canada and around the world. Dr. Wei continues to work with school districts and education institutions to improve health outcomes for students and educators.
Dr. Wei has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and one book on school mental health. She has led/co-led more than 30 school mental health projects, locally, nationally and internationally. She has also presented at regional, national and international scientific meetings and conferences. Dr. Wei was awarded the Canadian Institute of Health Research Doctoral Research Award in 2011 and the Dalhousie University President’s Award in 2011 and 2012.
Katherine Jarrell MSW, RSW, joined the Alberta School Mental Health Literacy Project in 2019. She has been with Alberta Health Services in a mental health capacity building role since 2013, serving as an Education Consultant and Clinical Consultant to support rural educators, physicians, clinicians and other direct service providers in their work with children and youth. In her work at Mount Royal University, Kathy served as a subject matter expert for the Children’s Mental Health Certificate program, and has taught clinical courses primarily in the Social Work program. In 2011, Kathy was recognized with a Distinguished Teaching Award. Within AHS, Kathy has partnered with the Provincial Mental Health Promotion and Injury Prevention team to deliver training in Disaster Preparedness, including facilitating School-based Psychological First Aid. In addition, Kathy continues to provide counselling in private practice, primarily using a CBT approach.
Rob McWeeny is a Ph.D student in the department of Psychiatry working under Dr. Yifeng Wei at the University of Alberta. His interests include bridging gaps between biological psychiatry, translational medicine, and public health. Rob believes in cultivating cross-ministry collaboration among public sectors to leverage resources toward shared mental health goals. Rob’s first career in secondary education and subsequent academic-psychiatry training provide the team with added insight from both sides of the mental health – education fence.
Rob is a research assistant and content contributor for the Mental Health Literacy project. He enjoys collaborating to support school-based projects and the team’s ambitious research initiatives. He has interest in expanding the MHL mandate toward familial education and school-based Trauma-Literacy for teachers.
Academics aside, Rob enjoys music, running, and coffee. He is training his dog to execute advanced commands with some success, but mostly cherishes the opportunity to consult old behaviour modification texts. His dog has appealed to the union for a crippling strike.
Like most of our team members, Kyla Vieweger, MSW RSW CPT, wears many hats for mental health literacy. She is a writer, resource developer, research assistant and health promotion facilitator! Within these roles, Kyla is most passionate about the knowledge translation process and working to make quality, evidence-based mental health literacy information accessible to a variety of audiences. She enjoys collaborating with key partners in resource writing, design and dissemination.
Kyla brings a clinical mental health background in which she has worked therapeutically with children since 2007. During her time with Alberta Health Services, she has worked in both school-based and community mental health settings. Kyla has provided direct treatment across the spectrum of child development: from early childhood through to adolescence, including intervention and consultation with caregivers and educators alike. Kyla continues to work therapeutically with children, teens and families through her private practice. When she’s not working, she puts on her gardening hat and enjoys spending time outside with her family.
Katarina is the head of the Youth Advisory Committee for mentalhealthliteracy.org. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a Bachelor of Secondary Education with a minor in Psychology. A member of the Scholars Academy Program for outstanding undergraduates, Katarina is a self-described reader, academic and “nerd” with a vested interest in bettering her community. Her lived experience with school-based mental health initiatives inspired her to pursue academia and advocacy in practices and approaches to adolescent care, with a particular emphasis on mental health literacy and educator-student support systems.
Having grown up in Montreal, Quebec, Divinea’s early education was in the French Immersion school system. Along with enjoying the arts, entertainment and food scene that Montreal offered, she also continued her post secondary education, attending Concordia University and graduating with distinction with a B.A. in Psychology. Divinea has worked within executive support roles for many years in Montreal, Vancouver and finally settling in Calgary within Alberta Health Services where she has worked for the past nine years. Divinea has been the Project Coordinator for the Mental Health Literacy Project since 2016 supporting our ever growing team and projects. She is the voice you hear on the phone as your first point of contact and the one responding to your email requests 🙂 Having raised four children and experiencing all that the adolescent years entail, Divinea recognizes the importance of providing mental health education to increase mental health awareness, mental health knowledge, and reduce stigma within schools and beyond. After all, knowledge is power!
John Fletcher, MEd, CCC, LCT, is a Key Mental Health Literacy Trainer located in Miramichi, New Brunswick. Since 2018, he has been delivering MHL trainings in schools and communities, supporting implementation of MHL curriculum resources and engaging in research. John has a keen interest and passion for increasing mental health literacy at the community level.
John has worked in the area of school-based mental health since 2012. He also works therapeutically with teens and adults through his private practice and is currently pursuing federal certification in Animal-Assisted Therapy/Equine Facilitated Wellness. And, if that isn’t enough, John also hosts the podcast, Fishing for Mental Health.
Outside of the regular 9-5, you will find John working on his farm with his wife, 4 children, 5 goats, 2 miniature donkeys and 1 dog. Or, you may spot him paddling a canoe down one of the tributaries of the mighty Miramichi river, fly fishing for Atlantic salmon, trout or striped bass.
Lori Bain, B.A. in Psychology, B.Ed. is the Parent Advisory Lead for mentalhealthliteracy.org. Her eighteen year career in Human Resources was focused on workplace learning and performance, employee relations and leadership development. For the past decade, while raising her two elementary-aged sons, Lori has been an active volunteer within their schools and has served as Key Communicator on a CBE School Council since 2018. Lori has a keen interest in promoting mental health literacy within schools, families and the broader community. She is a passionate advocate for helping people learn about mental health, the importance of support, access to resources and stigma reduction. She is certified as a Core Trainer and has completed the Facilitator Training with the Mental Health Literacy Project. Lori enjoys hiking, biking, skiing and adventuring in the mountains with her family.