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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Director’s Innovation Speaker Series: Diagnosing Resilience: A Multisystemic Model for Positive Development in Stressed Environments

Date

January 14, 2021

Overview

Using examples from his research and clinical practice, Dr. Michael Ungar, Ph.D., explored the nature of young people’s patterns of resilience in contexts where children and adolescents are affected by social marginalization, migration, violence, and mental disorder. His work is demonstrating that resilience can be assessed with sensitivity to culture and context, identifying factors that are most likely to have the greatest impact on behavioral outcomes at different levels of risk exposure. Dr. Ungar’s program of research provides support for an ecological, culturally sensitive interpretation of what resilience means to young people who experience extreme forms of adversity.

In this lecture, Dr. Ungar showed that resilience results from both individual abilities to overcome adversity and the capacity of social and physical ecologies, including mental health care providers, to help young people navigate and negotiate their way to the resources they need to build and sustain well-being. Finally, aspects of hidden resilience (maladaptive coping) will be discussed as reasonable ways young people protect themselves from risk when growing up in challenging contexts.

Recording

Read transcript.

About Dr. Michael Ungar

Dr. Michael Ungar is the founder and director of the Resilience Research Centre and Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He is the former chair of the Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, executive board member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and a family therapist who continues to work with mental health services for individuals and families at risk. His international series of studies spans six continents and has changed the way resilience is understood, shifting the focus from individual traits to the interactions between individuals and their social, institutional, built, and natural environments, including health and social services.

About the Director’s Innovation Speaker Series

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) established the Director’s Innovation Speaker Series to encourage broad, interdisciplinary thinking in the development of scientific initiatives and programs, and to press for theoretical leaps in science over the continuation of incremental thought. Innovation speakers are encouraged to describe their work from the perspective of breaking through existing boundaries and developing successful new ideas, as well as working outside their primary area of expertise in ways that have pushed their fields forward. We encourage discussions of the meaning of innovation, creativity, breakthroughs, and paradigm-shifting.

Sponsored by

Division of Extramural Affairs

More Information

Submit general questions to the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series mailbox.