Educating Teens with
about Healthy Relationships
with Dr. Lee Murray
Dr. Lee Murray is currently an Associate Professor at the College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan. She is also a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in adolescent mental health. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Nursing and a PhD Education Administration from the University of Saskatchewan. She teaches in the area of adolescent mental health, individual and group counseling, interprofessional practice and leadership and school health in context of the role of a mental health nurse in schools.
Lee’s clinical practice and research involves working in schools with adolescents with developmental disabilities regarding sexual health education. She is a founding and continuing member of an interprofessional community team to address the needs of adolescents with developmental disabilities. Lee, in partnership with Red Cross RespectED, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) and Saskatoon Sexual Abuse and Information Center (SSAIC) developed and continues to implement a healthy relationships program for adolescents with developmental disabilities to promote sexual health and prevent abuse. COR (Creative Options Regina) has also partnered with Lee to provide a platform to promote and share the educational resources including storyboards and 3 puppet show scripts.
Lee also has a great interest and curiosity regarding “Mothering”. To satisfy this curiosity, she uses autoethnography as methodology to explore the normative discourse of mothering in the context of her own experiences as a mom and grandma.
Contact Dr. Murray: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sexual assault happens all over the world, to both men and women, adults, teens and children and to people from all walks of life. One group of individuals that is often not talked about is teens with developmental disabilities. While the stats related to the sexual abuse of people with disabilities are shocking, there are very few services and supports to promote healthy sexuality and healthy relationships for teens with disabilities.
Dr. Lee Murray from the College of Nursing and individuals from Canadian Red Cross, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre have been collaborating on the Creating Safe Environments for Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities project for nearly 20 years. The project aims to promote sexual health, with the goal of preventing sexual abuse.
Using storyboards, interactive educational resources and puppets, Dr. Murray is able to connect with teens to comfortably discuss sexual health. The storyboards and puppet shows are used to give teens information about emotional health, healthy sexuality, personal rights and the establishment of personal boundaries. “We teach the students assertive communication, expression of personal feelings, sensitivity to others feelings and attitudes and provide knowledge about inappropriate behaviour and where to get help,” said Dr. Murray.
The project extends beyond the teens and also provides education, awareness, tools and supports for parents and teachers, enabling them to further educate and support teens with developmental disabilities. Parents and teachers learn about the myths and misconceptions regarding sexuality of teens with developmental disabilities and they develop the skills to promote healthy sexuality, prevent abuse and work with the teens to develop risk-management strategies.
Dr. Murray couldn’t do this project alone. In addition to the community partners mentioned above, she also works closely with Learning Assistance Teachers in the high schools, the Meitheal mental health clinic at E D Feehan Catholic High School, and has worked with Red Cross to adapt their peer-to-peer training model to train and educate typical high school students and university students to deliver the program in the schools. She has trained a number of university students from a variety of colleges at the University of Saskatchewan, including College of Nursing students.