Nancy Lee Heath

Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology (ECP)


Photo of Nancy Lee Heath


External website 

BA McGill University
MEd University of Ottawa
PhD University of Toronto


Dr. Heath works closely with her team which consists of undergraduate and graduate (Masters and Doctoral) students currently conducting a variety of studies related to aspects of mental health in the schools. Dr. Heath's team has received over 1.5 million dollars in research from provincial and federal agencies. More than 45 graduate students and numerous undergraduates have participated in the research team in the last fifteen years. Of eligible students in our lab, a remarkable 85% have won major awards. Our team collaborates with clinicians, school boards, and other researchers across Canada and internationally.

Scholarly/supervision interests

Dr. Heath welcomes all student inquiries concerning graduate supervision in relevant areas (mental health in the schools) at When emailing her for potential supervision, you should attach the following: a current curriculum vitae, your CGPA., GRE results (if available), the program you are applying to and the reasons why you might want to work with the team. If your file is a good match for our team, Dr. Heath will arrange to speak with you further either by phone or in person. In addition all applicants are encouraged to email our graduate students with questions.*NEW* In June 2011, Dr. Heath was awarded the Canadian Committee of Graduate Students in Education (CCGSE) Mentorship Award: “A tribute in recognition of outstanding support for graduate students in education”

Supervision Style

I have supervised over 40 graduate students in the 17 years I have been at McGill. Some enter the program planning to be practitioners (school psychologists, consultants) and others plan to pursue an academic/research career. I try to keep the individual student's ultimate career goals in mind and tailor the student's experience in the lab to allow them to graduate with the best possible Curriculum Vitae to meet their goals while maximizing their chances to obtain funding. The exceptional track record of my graduate students is indicative of the success of our team model in providing support. Of eligible students in my lab 87% of my doctoral students and 73% of my masters students have held major awards. My students are consistently top ranked within the department for their research productivity and department citizenship. Our team is research intensive, so all of my students are closely involved in a variety of research projects. We work using an apprenticeship model where students collaborate on projects, with senior students supporting junior students. There are a variety of research areas within the lab and new students choose to focus primarily in one of these areas. Students work initially as a member of a team, and gradually adopt more of a leadership role. believe that the student-supervisor relationship is really about a personality and work style match. My strengths are that I enjoy my students and love to discuss all kinds of things with them. I devote energy to mentoring my students in both their research and clinical development, so that they succeed remarkably well in obtaining scholarships, internships and employment. As a researcher and professor who is also happily married and the mother of two teenagers, I have a life outside academia (!), and understand that my students do as well. I encourage students to be honest about their life demands so that we can plan a successful graduate (or undergraduate) career that allows them to balance academic and other life demands in a realistic manner. The challenges students face in working with me include my intensive work habits and tight deadlines. I have high standards and expect my students to meet them. Of all my students, those who have the most positive experience working with me, are those who have a genuine interest in our areas of research, and enjoy working independently and taking initiative. As our team takes a collaborative approach to research, anyone interested in working with us should be willing to actively engage in discussions and activities that may address any one of the projects underway in the lab (not solely in their focus area) and have good interpersonal skills.

Current Research Interests

Our research team is committed to conducting both applied and basic research addressing issues of resilience in children and adolescents. Current areas of iinterest include mental health in the schools, youth stress and coping, non-suicidal self-injury, problematic online gaming, depression, self-perceptions, and working alliance. We are very committed to outreach and support of youth who are struggling. To this end our team provides workshops and online outreach and training around issues related to students’ mental health.

Recent Research Grants

Heath, N. L. (PI), Finn, C., Bloom, E., Pereira, L., & Roberts, E. Mental Health in the Classroom: Professional Development for School Personnel on the Management and Understanding of Anxiety and Depression in Our Schools. Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport du Québec (MELS) Program to Support the Professional Development of School Staff 2012-2014

Bloom, E. L. (PI), Toste, J. R., & Heath, N. L. Enhancing teacher-student relationships for students with learning difficulties and/or behavioural disorders. Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport du Québec (MELS) Program to Support Research and Development in Special Education, 2009-2011

Heath, N. L. (PI). Predicting the initiation, escalation, and termination of non-suicidal self-injury during adjustment to secondary school. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant, 2009-2012

Heath, N. L. (PI). Self-injury in youth: Consolidating definitional, methodological, and ethical perspectives for research Research Development Initiative, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2007-2009.

2007-2009 Research Development Initiative, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, “Self-injury in youth: Consolidating definitional, methodological, and ethical perspectives for research” (PI with E. D. Klonsky, M. K. Nixon, J. Whitlock, W. Lader, K. Rodham, and K. Gratz)

2006-2008 Operating Grant, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, “Examining the co-occurrence of psychological problems in a population-based sample of children with developmental coordination disorder” (Co-Investigator with Cheryl Missiuna [PI], J. Cairney, S. Hanna, D. Russell, K. MacDonald, N. Pollock, M. Law, T. Petrenchik, and L. Schmidt)

2009-2016 James McGill Research Award, McGill University