Outreach - SPRING

We believe that scholars have a duty to disseminate knowledge produced through their research beyond the academic community. This is especially the case in mental health, as academics can communicate critical knowledge to the general public, legislators, clinicians and other relevant parties. For this reason, we engage in various outreach activities.

We created and maintain the popular YouTube channel ‘recoverymentalhealth’ which contains various short videos on recovery, stigma and mental illness. This channel is regularly updated with new videos, ensuring that the general public is kept abreast of new research findings related to recovery and stigma. The channel currently hosts over 60 original videos and has over 50 000 views. We have also produced a DVD on the subject of recovery, which includes the voices of researchers, family members, and people with lived experience of mental illness. This DVD can be used for educational as well as personal reasons and is available free of charge on request. 

We also hold regular outreach events designed for the general public in order to educate people about mental illness. This includes regular free events in Montreal where Whitley and colleagues present the results of their research into stigma and recovery in an informal setting using lay language. Whitley has also presented at mental health educational events for the public coast-to-coast, including recent events in St. John’s, Halifax, Toronto, and Vancouver.

We have also participated in numerous outreach events for key stakeholders. Whitley has given seminars to journalism schools across Canada including Dalhousie, Carleton, Ryerson and UBC. These were conducted with the aim of educating a new generation of Canadian journalists about the realities of mental illness, with the hope that their future writing can diminish stigma and improve public attitudes. Whitley also collaborated with CBC and the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma in the production of ‘Mindset’. This is a user-friendly guide for journalists, containing best-practice guidelines about the sensitive and accurate reporting of mental health issues. Over 5 000 have been distributed to newsrooms across Canada.

We have also given numerous presentations to community organizations, mental health service providers, churches, cultural communities and other interested parties regarding our work. We make an active effort to positively engage with the media, and our work has been featured in the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, CTV, CBC and BBC. In short, outreach is a key component of our mission to promote recovery and reduce stigma. As such, we are always available to present our work to community groups or discuss our research with journalists.

Dr. Whitley also writes two popular monthly columns about mental health aimed at the general public, one for the Huffington Post and another for Psychology Today. He makes a special effort to write in both official languages for the Huffington Post in order to reach all Canadians. Whitley has also written op-eds for a variety of national and local newspapers including the Montreal Gazette, the National Post, the Province (B.C.) and the St. John’s Telegram.

To request a presentation, a media interview or our DVD please email: robert.whitley@mcgill.ca