Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Education




Dr. Vicki Schwean

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Melody Vickzo

Joint Supervisor


Current statistics in Ontario show that one in five students suffer from mental health issues (Canada, 2012). Mental health disorders cause significant distress, impairing students’ functioning at school, at home, and in the community (Children’s Mental Health Ontario, 2014). Research has shown that prevention and early intervention strategies targeting students at risk for mental health challenges are beneficial, cost-effective, and reduce the need for more costly, intensive interventions. (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2013). In response to recent Ontario Ministry mental health initiatives (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2006; 2011; 2013), the Peel District School Board, in Ontario, Canada, launched an interprofessional, mental health and behaviour program called Intensive Support (IS). The primary goal of this support service is to build capacity for preventative and early intervention knowledge and programming about mental health within school staff. Since schools play an important role in the prevention and early intervention of students’ mental health needs (Durlak & Wells, 2011), this case study investigated whether the IS program contributed to building organizational capacity for mental health promotion and the prevention of mental health problems. The intent of this study was to allow school staff the opportunity to dialogue, through semi-structured interviews, about what specific strategies and collaborative learning supports school staff value most in the IS program. This study examined staffs’ perception of and experiences with engaging with the IS program. More specifically, the study explored what specific supports for learning staff identified and valued as contributing most to increasing their capacity for change and how IS program supports could be enhanced. Findings of this study reveal that specific learning conditions need to exist to build capacity in schools. In addition, specific recommendations to enhance the IS program were suggested as determined by the study’s participants.

Keywords: mental health, education, building capacity, interprofessional team, collaboration