The Psychology Foundation of Canada

Sharing sound psychological knowledge to better people’s lives. The Psychology Foundation translates leading psychological research into state-of-the-art programs to promote mental health across the lifespan.

Our Impact Why We Exist

Our goal is to help people manage stress and build resilience in the home, school, community and workplace. Our programs are delivered through multiple channel and diverse partnerships across Canada.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

The Psychology Foundation of Canada (PFC) was founded in 1974 to promote the understanding and use of research-based psychological knowledge to help people in their daily lives – through programs for children and parents.

The Foundation is a national, registered charitable organization governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees comprised of psychologists, and business and community leaders. PFC is not funded by government and relies solely on gifts from corporations, foundations and individuals to develop and support mental health promotion programs. As well, there are a number of spin-off activities including an active Speakers’ Bureau and ongoing research by PFC members and supporters.

PFC believes that change starts with strong families so programs have focused on prevention through education at critical times in the lifespan. Mental Health Promotion Programs give parents, educators, social service and health workers the tools to help children and families. Programs have ranged from conferences for parents and professionals to initiatives such as a bus shelter campaign with parenting tips, a national parenting survey, media “on air” tips for raising children and understanding family issues, publications and award winning programs such as Parenting for Life and Kids Have Stress Too!(R). The Foundation also works with many partners in the social service, education, corporate and health sectors to affect change by advising decision and policy makers about “best practices”, community trends and issues. Diversity in Action, Scarborough - Adapting Mental Health Services for Newcomer was piloted in 2006 and has expanded to serve Afghan, Mandarin and Tamil communities.

The First Three Years organization revently joined The Psychology Foundation with their Maek the Connection program for infants to age three.

Accolades and Accomplishments

  • More than 10,000 social agencies use the Foundations programs and resources
  • There are 5000 trained Kids Have Stress Too! ® facilitators across Canada
  • At least 550,000 parents reached 
  • Online learning project- Canadian Institutes of Health Research NGO Outreach Award
  • One million Parenting pamphlets distributed and on the web site
  • Bus Shelter campaign – 10,000 posters – Parenting for Life, award- winning public education campaign
  • Development of a workplace mental health program (Staying on Top of Your Game) to raise awareness about ways to have a healthier workplace and deliver mental health messages to employees
  • Stress Lessons Kits for Gr. 4-6 teaachers, educators accross Canada

Our Programs How We Do It

Diversity in Action: Scarborough, Adapting Mental Health Services for Newcomer Families

Diversity in Action, Scarborough: Adapting Mental Health Services for Newcomer Families (DIAS) launched in 2006, is a multi-sector partnership project, developed and implemented by the four Children’s Mental Health Centres (CMHCs) in Scarborough (Aisling Discoveries, East Metro Youth Services, Rosalie Hall, YOUTHLINK), The Psychology Foundation of Canada. The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto – Scarborough Branch, and Catholic Cross Cultural Services.

In addition, the East Quadrant Children’s Services Network (EQ CSN), with 28 cross-sectoral members (including school boards, health, youth justice and government), supported the initial work.

The purpose of this initiative is to re-design services and programs in Scarborough, a magnet destination for immigrants from around the world, to address issues that affect the mental health of newcomer children, youth and their families. Our work is being accomplished in partnership with newcomer communities and with the help of ethno-specific agencies. Afghan, Mandarin speaking and Tamil Outreachworkers work with their communities to plan and implement events and activities, programs and services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.

The projected outcome is to have culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health and mental health promotion services available to newcomers in their own community.

The focus of this pilot project is to identify, implement, and evaluate services and a process that builds capacity in the service system to meet mental health needs of newcomer families, which could be replicated for other ethno-specific communities.

Funding and Program Partners

Diversity in Action, Scarborough: Adapting Mental Health Services for Newcomer Families began with seed money from TD Bank Financial Group and Children’s Mental Health Centres’ diversity funding from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. After a community consultation and once the partners and plan were in place, The Ontario Trillium Foundation provided the funds to implement the project over a three year time period. Funds from the Centre of Excellence for Children’s Mental Health helped us to develop an evaluation framework and a grant from The Toronto Community Foundation will help us with a marketing and communications strategy and to develop a model for use in other communities.

Program Impact

DIAS has changed the way our service delivery partners view their role in a multi-cultural society; completed necessary groundwork for expanding service agencies’ reach through service replication and delivery to the Afghan and Mandarin-speaking and Tamil communities; and identified programs, services and supports that are needed and wanted by those communities. Impact to date also includes strengthened linkages and understanding between Afghan community and mainstream agencies. New partnerships, networks and linkages have been formed and the DIAS outreach worker is consulting with agencies and with designated contacts within agencies to reduce or remove barriers to service for the Afghan and other newcomer communities.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“Toronto is one of the most diverse cities anywhere on earth, with the second highest percentage of foreign-born residents in the world.”

“Immigrants generally arrive in good health, but a combination of stress, changes in diet and inactivity often translates into worsening health with each decade in the country.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2009)

Participant Vignette

The terminology and acronyms used by educators and service providers can be difficult for anyone to understand. A mother recently arrived with her family was told by her son’s teacher that he had ADHD. She thought that it was a grade like “A, B,…” and never thought of it as a disorder. She had been attending educational sessions provided by the DIAS outreach worker and learned about ADHD. By receiving more information during a DIAS session, she was able to seek appropriate help for her son.

Kids Have Stress Too!®

Kids Have Stress Too!® (KHST!) is a broad-based primary prevention program to provide parents, caregivers, and communities with the knowledge, awareness, and skills to help young people become healthier and more resilient through learning how to manage their stress. We are working to bring these comprehensive training programs to every province in Canada. Pfizer Canada has helped with the development of Stress Lessons for Gr. 4-6 and has printed enough copies of the toolkit for every Gr. 4-6 teachers in Canada.

Funding and Program Partners

TD Bank Financial Group has supported the development and implementation of the Kids Have Stress Too!(R) program for the past several years and with that support, we have been able to train more than 5000 facilitators across Canada and provide thousands of parents and caregivers with information and tools to help their children deal with the stresses of daily life. They are supporting the adaptation of the program for classroom use and for special communities. The Lawson Foundation with its interest in early child development supports the preschool program so that early childhood educators, parents and other caregivers can work with the children in their care to give them strategies that will last a lifetime, to deal with stress.

Program Impact

Parents, caregivers and early childhood educators report that they see noticeable differences in their children when they use the tools to help them manage their stress. The preschool program helps daycare workers identify stress in very children and gives them tools to use to help the children in their care. The strategies the children learn stay with them as they enter school and cope with new stressors.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“Torontonians report good mental health and satisfaction with life, but a significant number experience high levels of stress: The 2008 health profile of Toronto residents (12 years old and over) reveals that:

  • 77.5% report being in very good or excellent mental health;
  • 86.4% are satisfied or very satisfied with life, but 21.2% (over the age of 15) experience “quite a lot” of life stress (for 35-44 year olds, the percentage rises to 25.2%).” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2009)

Kids Have Stress Too!® (KHST!) is a broad-based primary prevention program to provide parents, caregivers, and communities with the knowledge, awareness, and skills to help young people become healthier and more resilient through learning how to manage their stress.

Participant Vignette

A teacher called to find out more about the program because a four year old in her class told her she needed to use the stress stoplight and do some deep breathing. When the teacher asked how he had learned that, he said that “Kids Have Stress Too!” and he had learned how to calm down at daycare. The foundation has now adapted the program for classroom use and for older children as well.

Parenting for Life

Parenting for Life (PFL) is an award-winning public education program to promote positive parenting skills and the well-being of families. Based on the major themes of parenting, there are seven booklets (in English and French), posters and a PFL Facilitator’s Guide for parent educators and a webcast for parents about Parenting Resilient Children

Funding and Program Partners

Parenting is a lifelong commitment and with the support of Kodak Canada, Foresters Insurance, To-Day’s Parent magazine and the Canadian Paediatric Society in the early years of development, and now Desjardins Financial Security, the program has grown to supply parenting resources and programs to millions of parents across Canada.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“Children risk scoring poorly on the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in 43 % of city neighbourhoods with low incomes.”

“12 high–risk Northwest neighbourhoods have among the highest proportion of low scores in the City, and will be particularly vulnerable in the first critical years of schooling.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2009)

Parenting for Life (PFL) is an award-winning public education program to promote positive parenting skills and supports for children in their early development stages.

Participant Vignette

Parents report that “ the classes raise their awareness of their own parenting styles and give them strategies to help their children grow and develop in a healthy environment”.

The information helps them to learn from others’ experiences, gives them confidence and supports them in their most important job.

What You Can Do

Diversity in Action: Scarborough, Adapting Mental Health Services for Newcomer Families

Activities a donation will support

Financial support will enable DIAS to employ someone from a newcomer community to develop relationships and make linkages within that cultural group, to train existing staff in the service agencies and to act as a consultant to other organizations e.g. schools, in the community. Funds are also needed to cover the travel expenses and childcare for the families taking part in the activities.

Donation impact

Grants to this program will increase our ability to reach out and to work with newcomer communities to empower them to overcome the barriers to seeking help to adjust to life in Canada.

Kids Have Stress Too!®

Activities a donation will support

  • Adaptation of the program for special groups- e.g. Aboriginal communities, newcomer groups, teachers, physicians, social service and health professionals.
  • Online training for social service, health, education professionals who want to use the programs.

Donation impact

Children who have acquired the skills to cope with the stresses of everyday life are better able to learn, adapt to changing situations and have the resiliency to bounce back from challenging situations.

Parenting for Life

Activities a donation will support

Parents tell us they have little time to attend parenting classes, although they believe that parenting is their most important job. They would like to be able to log on to sessions where they could obtain information on parenting topics- how to help my children develop the skills to deal with stress, building resiliency skills, what are good study habits etc.

Contact

Judy Hills
Executive Director
416.644.4944
Charitable Number: 889212395RR0001

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