An Overview of Strengths-Based Resilience (SBR)
Stressors and setbacks are inevitable in our contemporary world where we face global pandemics, climate crises, racial injustice, and social inequities. In the 21st century, despite many in the world having more material goods, living longer, and enjoying unprecedented freedom, mental health has deteriorated steadily. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has exacerbated stress. This contemporary paradox presents both challenges as well as opportunities to intervene through training programs in the educational system, health care, and other organizations and systems that serve communities.
The Strengths-Based Resilience (SBR) program was originally created to address the mental health needs of adolescents and young adults, but it is suitable for all people of all ages wanting to flourish in life. Our goal in creating SBR was very focused. Rather than primarily targeting symptoms and stressors, we want to tap into strengths to build resilience. We want to equip participants with self-efficacy skills which apply strengths to adapt to and recover from challenges, setbacks, and adversities.
The SBR program was created before the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic altered life around the world, taking already increasing rates of reported poor mental health to even higher levels. The pandemic caused disruptions in your learning, work, leisure activities, friendships, and household dynamics. These challenges may have been tougher for some, especially if you were struggling with mental health issues pre-pandemic. As we emerge from the virtual home school and home office environment and move back into face-to-face institutional classroom settings or workplaces, we will need resilience more than ever to navigate uncertainty and new ways of learning, working, and socializing.
A summary of initial validation studies have been published (Rashid et al., 2015; Gillham et al., 2018; Rashid & Anjum, 2008). Recently SBR program has been applied to enhance resilience and wellbeing among caregivers of stroke survivors in a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). We have trained educators and mental health professionals in a number of countries over the years, including:
WELLBEING & RESILIENCE TRAINING
• Learn for Life Lanka, NGO, Columbo, Sri Lanka, 4-day, March 2022
• School Mental Health Ontario, Ministry of Education, Toronto, ON, 3-day, January 2020
• School Mental Health Ontario, Ministry of Education, Thunderbay, ON, 3-day, April 2019
• McGill University, Student Services Professionals, 1-day, August 2019
• Algonquin College, Student Services Professionals, 1-day, August 2019
• Humanship, an NGO, 4-day SBR, in-depth training with Lebanese journalists and Mental Health Professionals working with Syrian refugees and survivors of various traumas
• Naseeha, a Mental Health Hotline, Caring for Who Cares: A SBR Approach to Combat Compassion Fatigue, a 3-day training for staff of helpline, February-April 2019
• Centennial College, Toronto, Student Affairs Professionals, 2-day, February-March 2018
• Lead trainer for two cycles of 3-day positive-psychology training for 130+ educators, mental health professionals and student services professionals, Toronto, Fall 2016-Winter 2017
• Citizens Archives of Pakistan, with teachers working in slums of Karachi, Pakistan, 1-day, October 2014
• Institute for Children, Adolescents & Families, Graz, Austria, 1-day, July 2014 • Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH), with professionals, 1-day, August 2014
• Geelong Grammar School, Australia, 6-day training, with educators and Student Services Professionals August 2013
• Hua Chong Institute, Singapore, 3-day training on Resilience for Bright Students, with educators and Student Services Professionals, April 2013
• Princeton University, 1-day SBR training for Student Services Staff, October 2012
• Strengths-Based Career Counselling & Mentorship, Avanade, June 2020
• Challenge is not Teaching Wellbeing and Resilience; it is Practicing, While Teaching it, Dubai 2021 Virtual Wellbeing Workshops, April 28th, 2021
• Resilience Programming in Times of COVID-19, Academic Resilience Consortium, Webinar, April 30, 2021
• Strengths-Based Resilience, Skills and Strategies for Families, presentation for Erinmill Connects, a Community Organization, May 2021
• Building Resilience in the New Normal, Keynote, Employment Readiness Scale, February 10, 2021
• Building Resilience in the New Normal, Presentation, International Development Relief Fund, January 10, 2021
• Strengths-Based Resilience in the Context of Islamic Thought & Practice, 1st Canadian Muslim Mental Health Conference (CMMHC), Toronto, November 2017
• Wellbeing and Resilience, Professional Development Session, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, July 2013
• University of Manitoba, 2-part SBR training, with Student Services Staff, April & October 2013
• Pakistan Medical Association, 1-day SBR for Health Care Workers, January 2011
• Reading College, London, UK, Penn Resilience Program, 6-day training, July 2010
• Geelong Grammar School, Australia, Penn Resilience Program, 21-day training, January 2010
• Geelong Grammar School, Australia, Penn Resilience Program, 7-day training, January 2008
GRAND ROUND & INVITED TALKS AT HOSPITALS & HEALTH CARE FACILITIES
• Royal Ottawa Hospital, May 2016
• University of Connecticut Medical Centre, Connecticut, USA, October 2014
• Sick Kids Hospital, April 2014
• University of Alabama at Birmingham, April 2014
• Centenary Hospital, Rouge Valley Health System, January 2014
• Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Alexander Health, Singapore, March 2013
• Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, July 2013
• Long Island Jewish Medical Centre, November 2011
• Positive Interventions, William Osler Health Centre, Brampton, October 2010
• Rashid, T., Anjum, A., Chu, R., Stevanovski, S., Zanjani, A. & Lennex, C. (2014). Strength-based resilience: Integrating risk and resources towards holistic wellbeing in G. A. Fava & C. Ruini (eds)'s Increasing Psychological Well-being Across Cultures (pp. 153-176). The Netherlands: Springer.
• Gillham, J., Leventhal, K.S., Rashid, T., Anjum, A., & Leventhal, S. (2019). Positive psychology programs for youth in diverse communities. In L. van Zyl & S.I. Rothman (Eds.) Positive Psychological Interventions (pp. 197-226) Switzerland: Springer.
• Rashid, T., & Anjum, A. (2008). Positive psychotherapy for young adults and children. In J. R. Z. Abela & B. L. Hankin (Eds.), Depression in Children and Adolescents: Causes, Treatment and Prevention (pp. 250–287). New York: Guilford Press.
• Rashid, T. & Louden, R. (2018). Flourish: A Strengths-Based Resilience (SBR) Approach to Support Students’ Transition from Secondary to Post-Secondary Education. Ministry of Training of College and Universities (formally the Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Development).
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We are grateful to :
International Development Relief Fund (IDRF) for their funding support to implement program in Guayna (2022-27).
The Ministry of Colleges and Universities, Ontario, Canada for their generous award through the Mental Health Innovation Funds (MHIF; 2015-18) to the First author (Principal Investigator) and the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), Canada.
Toronto District School Board, where the second author works, supported initial validation studies at its schools. Executive and administrative support from TDSB has been instrumental in advancing this project.
The Strengths-Based Resilience program is designed to help you develop resilience, defined as the ability to cope with adversity.