Professor appointed to the World Federation for Mental Health
Tracey Bone [BSW/84, MSW/98, PhD/14], assistant professor, Faculty of Social Work, has been appointed to the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) board of directors for the 2017-2019 term as well as the Vice-President for constituency development on their executive committee.
Since 1948, the WFMH has encouraged a link between professionals and grass roots organizations and consumers of mental health services with a focus on needs for education of mental health, mental health awareness and the impact of mental health on people’s lives. Traditionally, the board of directors is comprised of medically-based professionals from around the world. Bone is the first social worker to join the board of eight members and the first member since 1981 to have a visible footprint within Canada.
“I would bring a perspective other than the medical perspective [to the board], so with a greater focus on recovery, and looking at recovery from the social components and the depth of the social components that affect people living with mental illness,” says Bone. “My intention on the board is to look at the broader perspective in relation to people living with mental health challenges”.
Currently, Bone is doing a research study where she is exploring the impact of using virtual human simulated interviews as a way to teach motivational interviewing in the area of adolescent substance abuse in the classroom. Through an interactive software program, students are able to interact with and ask questions as a social worker to virtual human clients within a simulated interview as a way to help students learn motivational interviewing skills.
Bone’s strong focus on mental health is evident in her teaching and research. “I am interested in mental health court, it’s a diversionary court specific for people who have been charged with offences and the offences are related to mental illness,” says Bone. “I also have an interest in mental health in Deaf communities”.
In 2013, Bone worked on a forensic mental health research project in Ghana. During the project, she met with psychiatric patients who were suspected of or charged with criminal offences. She plans to follow up with this project and explore mental health court in Ghana. “Some countries may not understand the impact of mental illness and how that can alter behaviour,” says Bone.
Now that Bone has been appointed to the WFMH board of directors, she is exploring collaboration with her international partners in India and Australia on research, whether it be mental health court or other factors related mental health.