Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 23, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Certificate in Mental Health Issues in the Classroom

Perspectives: Hear from course instructor, Dr. Carolyn FitzGerald and certificate participant, Alysa Vanka!

About the Certificate 

This certificate has been designed for elementary and high school teachers and other professionals in the education system or social agencies who wish to:

  • improve their understanding of and ability to recognize mental health issues in the classroom
  • improve their ability to support students experiencing mental health issues
  • improve their ability to liaise, connect and communicate with community resources
  • must have classroom or administrative responsibilities within the education system.

Participants must have or be working towards a Bachelor of Education and must have classroom or administrative responsibilities within the education system. Para-professionals and others may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.

Certificate Format 

Online Course Work:
7 modules, 9 hours per module
In-class Workshops: Level 1 and Level 2, 6 hours each, Laurier's Waterloo campus

This certificate is a blend of online course work and in-class workshops. There are 7 modules in total, each requiring approximately 9 hours of online study. In addition to the online modules, 2 full-day, in-class workshops are required. These workshops provide an forum for discussion, exchange of experiences and ideas, as well as the opportunity to practice key skills.

Module 1 is mandatory and must be completed before participating in additional modules. Modules 2 - 7 can be taken in any order. 

To enroll in the Level 1 in-class workshop, you must have completed Module 1 and 2 additional online modules (e.g., Modules 1, 2 and 4).

To enroll in the Level 2 in-class workshop, you must have completed Module 1 and at least 3 of the additional online modules (e.g., Modules 1, 2, 4, and 6).

The online modules in the certificate are:

MODULE 1 - Introduction to Mental Health Issues in the Classroom

•  In this introductory module, we cover various topics related to mental health issues in children and teenagers, and the potential impact these issues have on learning.

MODULE 2 - Depression and Other Mood Disorders: When Sadness Takes Over 

•  As you will learn in this module, mood disorders present a complicated picture; depression is much more than simple unhappiness, and mood disorders are much more than depression!  Our goal in this module is to help you become familiar with the many facets of depression and other mood disorders, explore practical and specific strategies to support children and adolescents suffering from depression and other mood disorders, and learn about meaningful ways in which you can promote good mental health, care and compassion in other students. 

MODULE 3 - Anxiety Disorders: Moving Beyond Helping Students Copes with Everyday Stress 

•  The feeling of anxiety is a common and expected part of life for any child or adolescent.  Anxiety is a natural and predictable response to stressful life events, and can even provide us with important information about danger. However, not all feelings of anxiety are common, beneficial or normative.   This module is designed to help you develop a thorough understanding of the difference between reasonable and expected levels of anxiety, and anxiety that interferes with and disrupts normal development and mental well-being.  We will also offer lots of information about the kinds of things you can do in your day-to-day practice to help students with their everyday anxiety, and anxiety that interferes with learning. 

MODULE 4 - Self-Harm and Suicidality: Key Issues in Reducing Risk and Preventing Harm*

•  Suicidality and self-harm scares most people.  It can be hard to understand why young people might harm themselves, and even when we want to help, we may be afraid of saying the wrong thing, of not knowing what to say or do, or not knowing what to do.  Our goal here is to give you the information and tools that will help you recognize signs of distress so that you can have difficult conversations and take appropriate action, and to reduce your natural sense of fear and discomfort with this topic so you feel confident and able to take action. 

*Please note* that safeTALK training will be integrated into this module. The small $20 fee associated with this additional professional development opportunity has been added to our standard course registration fee. Participants who already attended safeTALK training will need to provide evidence that they have already participated in this workshop upon registration. For more information about safeTALK, please click here

MODULE 5 - Body Image and Eating Disorders: When the Mirror Talks Back 

•  Eating disorders are complicated, so equipping yourself with accurate information about eating disorders is incredibly important.  There can be life-threatening physical health consequences to an eating disorder, so interventions can save lives.  If we all become more knowledgeable about the potential warning signs of an eating disorder, together we are in a much stronger position to change the course of a young person’s life, and help them find long-term health and happiness.   Take note that this module is relevant and important for all educators, including those who work at the primary grade level.  When educators know what to look for, educators can facilitate intervention in order to reduce risk for later problems.  The primary and junior school years are an excellent window of opportunity to help build resiliency in young children, so they can better resist negative media messaging and social pressure to engage in unhealthy eating and weight-related behaviour.  We hope you join us on this very important learning journey! 

MODULE 6 - The Impact of Addictions on Learning: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Alcohol and Drug Use and Dependence in Children and Youth

• Substance use is pervasive in our social world, but a subject that rarely gets directly addressed.  We hope this module will serve as an antidote to silence on this subject, and that it will encourage everyone to have open and honest conversations about substance use and abuse, especially within the school setting.  Like Module Five, this module is relevant and important for all educators, especially those who work at the primary grade level.  The early years are an important time in which to begin these discussions, and an especially important time in which to begin to teach critical life skills to reduce the likelihood of problematic substance abuse and dependence.  You will also learn very important information about supporting the learning needs of students with FASD – a topic that is relevant to educators of any age group!

MODULE 7 -  Disruptive Behaviour Disorders and Psychotic Disorders: When Challenged Students Challenge You

• The media is full of frightening images and ideas about what it means to have a serious mental illness.  As a society, we have all paid the price for these distorted and inaccurate descriptions, but those who have experienced psychosis, and those who suffer from disruptive behaviour disorders have been hurt the most.  We hope this module will serve as an antidote to inaccurate information and misperceptions and that it will encourage everyone to have open and factually based conversations about these topics, especially within the school setting.  We also intend for participants to develop strong and relevant skills for working well with students struggling with these issues. 

Certificate Cost

Module 1: $50
Modules 2 - 7: $150 each (includes in-class workshops)
Total Certificate: $950

Withdrawal and Refund Policy

  • notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to Continuing Studies in-person, by mail, or by email
  • a full tuition refund, less 20 per cent, will be issued when notice of withdrawal is received up to two weeks prior to the start of the first session
  • after this point, no refunds will be issued

Please note that no refund of any sort will be given if the university is closed for any reason during your course.

Course Cancellation

Wilfrid Laurier University reserves the right to cancel a course in which there is insufficient enrollment. In the event of a cancellation, students will be informed and all fees will be refunded.