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This August, over 200 people gathered in Charlottetown, PEI, to collaborate on the third in a series of events on child and youth mental health, hosted by the Atlantic Summer Institute on Healthy and Safe Communities (ASI), and coordinated by The Quaich Inc. The theme of the Symposium on Promoting Child and Youth Mental Health was collaboration to move from evidence to action. The Symposium attracted community leaders, government representatives, educators, and health practitioners from Atlantic Canada and beyond. It engaged young people through a Youth Leadership Program, in which participants were selected from applicants from the four Atlantic provinces, and a Children's Program was provided for children of registered participants.

Drawing on the Circle of Health – a collaborative teaching tool that includes the Ottawa Charter on Health Promotion, the social determinants of health and the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel – each year ASI brings practitioners, innovators, public servants, academics and community leaders together to learn and support each other to create a more sustainable and inclusive Atlantic Canada.  

Annually, ASI hosts events which bring together innovators and those organizations which strive for social change through public policy and community action. These events include full-scale learning institutes, symposiums, and regional workshops. The Circle of Health has been used since 2004 as the planning framework of the ASI. It is used to create inclusive, multi-sectoral programs, develop curriculum, and engage participants during and after events.

During this summer's Symposium, a Call to Action was created using feedback from Symposium participants and public comments submitted online. ASI and regional partners will use the Call to Action to mobilize stakeholders, influence leaders at the policy level, and encourage working ‘upstream’ to improve youth mental health in Atlantic Canada and across the country.

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