Shelly Ben-David

(She, Her, Hers)

Associate Professor

Social Work
Other Titles: PhD, RSW
Phone: 250-807-9434

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Research interests include: youth mental health (e.g. clinical high-risk to psychosis, first-episode psychosis, anxiety, depression); early intervention in mental health; identity development and mental illness; cultural, relational, and community-based approach to early psychosis; digital divide among youth; mental health service use decision-making equity; and youth engagement in research.


Google scholar:



PhD in Social Work, New York University; MSc in Social Work, Columbia University; BSc in Psychology and Religion, University of Toronto.

Research Interests & Projects

Shelly is a 2019 MSFHR scholar awardee. The CREATE (Community-based research for equitable access to engaged) Youth Mental Health Research lab focuses on the prevention and early intervention of mental illness for youth and young adults, through the development of: 1) psychosocial interventions, and 2) decision-making tools designed to increase equitable access to mental health services for youth. She works closely with youth, young adults, families, clinicians, and peer researchers with lived experience of mental illness in the co-development of research questions, and involvement as partners at every stage of the research process. Shelly is part of the Foundry research and innovation team in BC. She is currently leading: 1) a SSHRC IDG funded research project looking at mental heath service use decision-making and engagement with services among youth and young adults attending a Foundry centre in BC, 2) a funded BC SUPPORT Unit Patient Engagement Methods Cluster project looking at the digital divide among youth accessing digital mental health technology in BC, and a 3) community-engaged research project addressing an identified gap in early psychosis intervention research regarding engagement with young people’s cultural beliefs and communities in Canada.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Selected Journal Articles 

  • Higgs, R., Liao, A., Windsor, T., & Ben-David, S. (2023). Meeting in the middle: experiences of citizenship in community-engaged psychosis research. Journal of Public Mental Health22(1), 12-24.
  • Ben-David, S., Vien C., Ortiz R, Biddell, M, Gawliuk, M, Turner, S., Mathias, S., Barbic, S. (2022). Understanding mental health service use among a sample accessing integrated youth services: Applying the Unified Theory of Behavior. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
  • Ben-David, S., Amaro, A., & Munson, M. R. (2021). Experiences of Psychosis Among Transition-Age Youth Attending an Outpatient Clinic in a Low-Resourced Community. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research12(2), 409-419.
  • Ben‐David, S., Kealy, D., Hanson, J., & Ortiz, R. (2021). Perspectives on personal identity in the early stages of psychosis: A survey of Canadian clinicians. Early Intervention in Psychiatry15(4), 1038-1043. DOI: 10.1111/eip.13026
  • Shahram, S., Smith, M., Ben-David, S., Feddersen, M., Kemp, T., Plamondon, K. (2021). Promoting Zest for Life: A systematic literature review of resilience against youth suicidality. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 31(1), 4-24.
  • Thomas, E. C., Ben-David, S., Treichler, E., Roth, S., Dixon, L. B., Salzer, M., & Zisman-Ilani, Y. (2021). A Systematic Review of Shared Decision–Making Interventions for Service Users With Serious Mental Illnesses: State of the Science and Future Directions. Psychiatric Services, appi-ps.
  • Ben-David, S., Kealy, D. (2019). Identity in the context of early psychosis: A review of recent research. Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches. target=10.1080/17522439.2019.1656283
  • Ben-David, S., Cole, A. R., Brucato, G., Girgis, R., & Munson, M. R. (2019). A conceptual model of mental health service utilization among young adults at clinical high-risk for developing psychosis. Psychiatric rehabilitation journal, 42(1), 17. DOI: 10.1037/prj0000336
  • Ben‐David, S., Cole, A., Brucato, G., Girgis, R. R., & Munson, M. R. (2018). Mental health service use decision‐making among young adults at clinical high risk for developing psychosis. Early intervention in psychiatry. DOI: 10.1111/eip.12725
  • Narendorf, S. C., Munson, M. R., Ben-David, S., Cole, A. R., & Scott Jr, L. D. (2018). Race and gender differences in attitudes toward help seeking among marginalized young adults with mood disorders: A mixed-methods investigation. Psychiatric rehabilitation journal, 41(4), 277. DOI: 10.1037/prj0000312
  • Munson, M. R., Narendorf, S. C., Ben-David, S., & Cole, A. (2018). A mixed-methods investigation into the perspectives on mental health and professional treatment among former system youth with mood disorders. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
  • Munson, M. R., Narendorf, S. C., Ben-David, S., Cole, A., & Floersch, J. (2018). Integrated, Overwhelmed, and Distanced: Narratives of Mental Health Among Young Adults With Prior Public System Involvement. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 9(3), 413-430. DOI: 10.1086/699223
  • Ben-David, S., Cole, A., Spencer, R., Jaccard, J., & Munson, M. R. (2017). Social context in mental health service use among young adults. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(1), 85-99. DOI: 10.1080/01488376.2016.1239595
  • Ben-David, S., Birnbaum, M. L., Eilenberg, M. E., DeVylder, J. E., Gill, K. E., Schienle, J., … & Corcoran, C. M. (2014). The subjective experience of youths at clinically high risk of psychosis: a qualitative study. Psychiatric Services, 65(12), 1499-1501. Doi: 10.1176/

Selected Grants & Awards


Meet Your Professor video:

Animated video series:

Strong People Seek Support – Foundry (

Digital divide study blogs:

Bridging the Digital Divide Among Youth in BC – Blog | CREST.BD (

Bridging the Digital Divide of Scoping Reviews in Health – Blog | CREST.BD (

Behind the Scenes of a Youth Research Assistant – Blog | CREST.BD (


My First Experience Working on Qualitative Research – Blog | CREST.BD (

Understanding the Digital Divide among Diverse Youth Accessing Digital Mental Health Services in BC – Blog | CREST.BD (

Media articles:

UBC research identifies gaps when it comes to helping youth diagnosed with early stages of psychosis – UBC Okanagan News

From New York to Kelowna: Top 40 profile of Shelly Ben-David | Business News |



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