ASI 2021

Atlantic Policy Forum on Mental Health Promotion

August 23-25, 2021 ~ Online

The Great Reconnect: Building Personal, Community and Societal Resilience in our Post-COVID-19 World


As the world has adapted to the unprecedented challenges posed by the global pandemic, we have witnessed a heightened human need to reconnect with ourselves, our communities, and our physical and natural environments. The ripple effects of COVID-19 have amplified the social and structural inequities that pre-existed the pandemic, resulting in a dramatic impact on mental and physical health at a societal level. A sense of disconnect spans intergenerational, social, environmental, financial, and political contexts, where the resulting social and physical isolation are taking a significant toll on mental health. This disconnect also exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and ways of knowing and between relative levels of wealth and privilege across society. The importance of relationships, and community in building resilience to support positive health and wellness outcomes for society has never been clearer – community and connection matter! Personal, community, and societal resilience is essential to support the mental health of children and youth and achieve ‘the great reconnect’ in a post-COVID world. Importantly, Resilience isn’t just about “the capacity to absorb shocks and still maintain function” – it is also about “the capacity for renewal, re-organization and development” (Folke, 2006).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our collective vulnerability to the impact of isolation and our struggles to preserve our mental health. It has also highlighted the importance of considering mental health when instituting various policies that protect physical health. Society needs to have ongoing policies and programs that support positive relationships, social networks, education, adequate income, inclusion, and housing – from infancy to youth to older generations. This is why we need to continue working on upstream interventions that promote mental health and accessible services.”
– Patsy Beattie-Huggan, ASI Coordinator

Be part of a movement that brings together people who are capable of influencing and implementing changes at the policy and community levels! ASI 2021 aims to increase understanding of the importance of infant, child and youth mental health for the whole of society, and foster policy actions to influence upstream investment in support of mental health.

$325 Early Bird rate (until June 15)
After June 15:
$450 Full registration rate / $325 Student registration rat

Advance Registration Package – March Only!

Not yet certain who will attend from your organization, but want to ensure that your group can attend? Reserve seats now for groups of 3 or more at the early bird rate and get one registration free! This offer ends on March 31. 

Contact us at to request an invoice or arrange for online payment (this package cannot be purchased through EventBrite). 


Develop knowledge and skills for building resilience in ourselves, our communities, society
Share ideas and engage in dialogue, building on evidence and best practice
Collaborate and have fun with diverse participants
Learn from youth advocates passionate about mental health promotion
Expand your networks in Atlantic Canada and beyond

Who will attend?
Politicians, public servants, health practitioners, private sector, media, unions, academics, educators, social agencies, community organizations, Indigenous leaders, youth leaders and the general public… everyone interested in collaborating to improve mental health through upstream policies and programs!

“When we think of mental health we often think of emotional difficulties and mental health problems and how we can resolve a crisis once it has occurred. This thinking demands an investment after the fact or ‘downstream’. ‘Upstream’ thinking means investing wisely for future success and addressing the broader determinants of mental health at a population level. We view mental health as a resource for all that requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. Although there is evidence to support an ‘upstream’ view, our current investment in policies and practice is ‘downstream’ and we will need a change in public and political support to think and invest differently.”
– Professor Margaret Barry, ASI 2017 keynote speaker,
WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research, National University of Ireland, Galway

For the past two decades, the Atlantic Summer Institute (ASI) has been exploring issues related to the social contexts that prevent and support mental health and wellbeing for children. This work has highlighted the importance of significant structural systems to support children, adolescents, families, and communities, especially their mental health. Wellbeing is best supported by the relational and contextual resources embedded within and around communities (including nature and biodiversity). Moreover, if we are to support wellbeing in the face of increased chronic challenges stemming from issues such as climate change, communities need to be reinforced by the larger political and economic forces in which they exist. Effective upstream investments at a community level will promote positive child and adolescent mental health outcomes, while also preventing mental illness and other psychosocial challenges.

Building on the knowledge shared and developed at previous annual events, ASI’s call to action challenges us to “build back better” by supporting new and effective ways to support healthier communities as the essential foundation of mental health for children and youth. To do this, we need transformational change of the larger social, political and economic systems that underpin our communities to ensure effective upstream strategies to reduce the stresses, risks, and inequities confronting individuals, families, and communities. We also need to re-build our commitment to, and expectations of, each other – that sense of connection with and collective responsibility for others in our societies.

The ASI 2021 Forum will be held online from August 23-25 in Charlottetown, PEI, streaming from the unceded ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq people. Materials in French and simultaneous interpretation will be available for many presentations. A Youth Leadership Program will also be offered.