Session Description: Emerging adulthood represents an important developmental window where we see peak onset of a number of mental health conditions. Furthermore, mental health has been shown to have direct impacts on students’ capacity to learn and perform academically. This session will explore empirical research demonstrating that students holding marginalized sociodemographic identities experience languishing mental health at rates 1.6 – 3.4 times greater than their peers, driven by unique systemic barriers and psychosocial stressors impacting marginalized communities. Additionally, differences academic performance among students with marginalized sociodemographic identities were largely statistically explained by disparities in mental health. The session will also explore the influence of adverse childhood experiences on postsecondary student mental health and academic performance during transition to University. As we expand our focus on enhancing student mental health and seek to support rich student learning and development experiences, this session will support participants in critically examining sociocultural and developmental factors influencing disparities in mental health and learning outcomes among postsecondary students, and institutional actions which could begin to address the systemic barriers and mechanisms through which these inequities emerge.
During this session, Rick will share a range of empirical research, coupled with institutional actions to address findings. Participants are encouraged to review this Blog Post in advance, for a high-level overview of some of the research that will be shared in this session: Link to Blog: https://supportingstudentsuccess.wordpress.com/2021/02/23/mental-health-and-learning-among-students-with-marginalized-sociodemographic-identities/
Biography: Rick Ezekiel, PhD, (he/him) is the Director of Equitable Learning, Health and Wellness at Centennial College (Toronto, Canada). Rick holds a BA in Psychology and MSc in Neuroscience (Western Univeristy), and PhD in Developmental Psychology and Education (The University of Toronto). At the centre of Rick’s professional and scholarly work is a core passion to enhance the role education can play in promoting equitable lifespan development outcomes for learners within our broader communities and society. Rick’s research areas focus on mental health disparities within marginalized communities, the impact of mental health disparities on learning and academic performance, influences of early childhood adversity on emerging adult mental health, and neurobiological mechanisms subserving the development of attentional control, cognitive control, and self-regulation capacities from childhood to young adulthood. Rick has held several administrative leadership appointments at Western University and Centennial college, and has played a significant role in a number of equity focused initiatives including the development of Western's Indigenous Strategic Plan, Student Mental Health Strategic Plan, and the revitalization of mental health and accessible learning services at Centennial College. Rick is a cisgender, queer man of European (settler) ancestry, respectfully and gratefully doing research and work within the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, in the Dish with One Spoon Treaty Region.