Speaker Spotlight: Dr. Peter Silverstone

Dr. Peter Silverstone has racked up quite the resume.

In addition to being the first Scientific Director for the Strategic Clinical Network in Addiction and Mental Health at Alberta Health Services, he is currently a professor in both the Department of Business and the Department of Psychiatry and Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Alberta.

He has over 130 peer-reviewed publications and has given more than 200 presentations on mental heatlh.

Which is why we are so excited to host him as a speaker at the Mental Health Foundation Breakfast on March 14, where he will share his insights concerning youth-focused strategies in mental health.

For the past few years, Dr. Silverstone’s research has focused on early interventions with youth, which has given him a unique perspective into how we can approach mental health care with an eye to providing better care earlier.

In one project he spearheaded, the EMPATHY project, this meant actively working with a school board to make mental health an item on the curriculum.

Everyone takes a health class in junior high in Alberta; from 2013-2015 in Red Deer, Dr. Silverstone replaced some of these classes with mental health training and resiliency classes. “If you give kids tools to help deal with [psychiatric conditions], you can have a major impact on individuals and on society,” he says.

Meanwhile, for those in high school in Red Deer a pathway was developed to provide professional help for those experiencing severe depression or suicidal thoughts.

Among the 6000 youth in grades 6-12, lower rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts were seen, and the use of drugs, alcohol and incidents of bullying also decreased among youth following participation in the program (you can read the study here).

Dr. Silverstone’s latest project is conducting research on the mental health effects of the 2016 Fort McMurray fire on youth. His team has already collected information on 3200 students, which will help them reduce rates of PTSD in those who suffered trauma during the disaster.

As we fundraise to improve access to mental health interventions for youth on March 14, we are pleased to have Dr. Silverstone share his expertise and point a way forward for future care.

We hope you’ll join us.

Further Reading:

Meet Nakita Dool, who will be speaking alongside Dr. Silverstone at the breakfast.

Check out Peter Silverstone’s side project, Shrink Wrapped