Shifting to virtual learning as Summer Institute moves online

Center for Adolescent Nursing

November 9, 2020

Renee Sieving

Due to COVID-19, many of us are working, learning and caring for others from home. For many adolescents, these shifts have resulted in substantial mental health challenges. When the topic for the 2020 Summer Institute in Adolescent Health, Adolescent Mental Health: Identifying Influences and Promoting Well-Being, was selected in late 2019, we had no idea how timely it would be during the summer of 2020.

Like many continuing education offerings, our 2020 Summer Institute was offered via an online format, which provided both challenges and unique opportunities. Online, we were able to double our number of participants, enrolling 120 youth-serving professionals from 18 different states. Through an online meeting platform, we engaged and learned from adolescent health experts from New York, Washington, D.C., Georgia and Washington state, in addition to several local experts. Our institute’s online platform also provided opportunities for young people to present, sharing their thoughts, expertise and strategies for promoting mental wellbeing among all youth.

Our institute explored influences on adolescent mental health from developmental, social-ecological and equity perspectives. We examined ways in which families, schools, clinics and communities can promote adolescent mental health. “A rich array of evidence-based practices and creative strategies were shared to help young people sustain and reclaim their mental wellbeing,” says Renee Sieving, PhD, RN, FAAN, FSAHM, professor and director of the Center for Adolescent Nursing. “As an added benefit, participants could employ many of these strategies to positively influence their own mental wellbeing.”