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Schools & Child Care

Mental Health

Given the link between emotional well-being and academic achievement, schools play an important role in promoting positive mental health. Educators can work to promote positive mental health within the school by providing education to students that works towards increasing protective factors, decreasing risk factors, increasing resiliency and decreasing inequities. Look at the Mental Health and Wellbeing at School infosheet for the many ways that educators can contribute to creating and sustaining a welcoming and inclusive school climate.

Select programs to use in your classroom, using the School Mental Health Assist Decision Support Tool.

  • Can You Feel It? – Suggested for Grades 5 to 8. Designed by youth for youth, “Can You Feel It?” helps students build the necessary life skills to manage and cope with the stress. This resource addresses such topics as: What is stress? How do we recognize it and how do we cope with it? Healthy Schools public health nurses can work with schools to incorporate “Can You Feel It?” as part of a comprehensive approach to building resiliency and positive mental health. Program components such as a video, posters, booklets, lesson plans, and school wide activities can be accessed through the Healthy Schools team. A short clip (2min:47sec) of the video can be viewed at: (adapted from Sudbury and District Health Unit)
  • The Psychology Foundation of Canada - resources for teachers and others who work with school-aged children to promote positive social-emotional development and effective stress management in classrooms and recreational settings. Lesson plans available from Grades 1 – 8
  • iTHINK – A Critical Thinking & Media Literacy Manual (PDF) – Suggested for Grades 1 to 8. This manual contains a variety of teaching tools to engage students to think critically about the world around them in order to support healthy decision-making, and mitigate the influence of media marketing related to a number of health topics.  The manual contains grade specific lesson plans which have been designed to meet Ontario curriculum expectations (e.g. Arts, Language, and Health and Physical Education). Interactive resources, such as video clips, quizzes, case studies, are also included to support classroom teaching and student learning. (Developed by Central East Tobacco Control Area Network (TCAN) and Peterborough County City Health Unit
  • Roots of Empathy – Suggested for kindergarten to Grade 8. This evidence-based classroom program has been shown to reduce aggression among school children while raising their social/emotional competence and increasing their empathy. A trained Roots of Empathy Instructor facilitates the sessions with a volunteer neighbourhood infant and parent in the classroom over the school year. In this environment the baby is the "teacher" and the "emotional literacy" taught lays the foundation for promoting students’ understanding of feelings, both their own and others, decreasing the likelihood that they will hurt one another. In Canada, the program is delivered in English and French. For more information contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or toll-free at 1-877-721-7520, or go to the Roots of Empathy website.
  • Triple P – The Triple P Positive Parenting Program is an effective parenting program that helps parents with small changes that can make a big difference. Educators can utilize this information to guide parents to Triple P for “small changes that make a big difference” in areas such as behaviour, bedtime problems, coping with anxiety, homework and chores. Triple P can help parents work together with their children to improve behaviour over time. Triple P programs are available in Simcoe Muskoka and other communities across Ontario. For more information contact Health Connection at 705 721-7520 or toll-free at 1-877-721-7520 or go to the Triple P Website.
  • Healthy Playground Activity Leaders in School – Healthy P.A.L.S. is a playground leadership program, for elementary schools, that encourages all children to participate in activities regardless of their gender, size, or ability. Dedicated school staff are trained to supervise the program while junior and intermediate students are trained to act as playground activity Student Leaders for younger students. The Healthy P.A.L.S. leaders plan and lead fun and safe activities on the playground during nutrition breaks. The Healthy P.A.L.S. program helps to:
    • Decrease conflict and reduce the incidence of playground bullying
    • Provide a leadership opportunity for students
    • Increase physical activity among students.
  • For more information contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.
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