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Schools & Child Care

Mental Health

Positive Mental Health is defined as “the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.” (Public Health Agency of Canada)

Given the link between emotional well-being and academic achievement, schools play an important role in promoting positive mental health. Schools can promote positive mental health by implementing activities and initiatives that work towards increasing resiliency, decreasing risk factors, increasing protective factors, and decreasing inequities. They can then create an action plan that addresses positive mental health. SMDHU has various sample action plans. Contact your local public health nurse to find out how to receive support for your school.

Healthy Schools public health nurses support Healthy Schools in promoting positive mental health. A few of the programs that we offer to Healthy Schools include:

  • Healthy P.A.L.S. – Playground Activity Leaders in School  
  • Roots of Empathy 
  • Triple P – Positive Parenting Program  
  • Can You Feel It? 
  • Developmental Assets  School staff play a key role in helping to build students Developmental Assets – schools are a great place to support asset building among young people. There are 40 assets, divided into 8 categories that we want all children to have to help them succeed. The more assets children have, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviour and the more likely they are to be successful. Connect with your Healthy Schools Public Health Nurse to learn more about Developmental Assets and how your school can intentionally work to build assets among all students! Want to know more about Developmental Assets? Check out Search Institute & Lion’s Quest Canada.

Reducing stigma associated with mental health is important – 1 in 5 children and youth struggle with mental health issues. Consider participating in Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week as a school-wide strategy.

Looking for more information and resources about community partners and resources that support schools, families and individuals? Check out Where to Get Help for more information for students and families that may require more support.


  • Positive Mental Health Toolkit  Designed to promote Positive Mental Health perspectives and practices within the school. The toolkit is meant to facilitate a shift in practice and to assist in engaging school and community strengths to foster the positive growth and development of children and youth.
  • YouThrive Toolkit  A free web-based resource for those who work with youth. This toolkit is designed for people who want to create communities where young people can thrive, be happy, healthy and safe.
  • CAMH Promoting Mental Health: Finding a Shared Language video  An excellent video explaining the interconnected concepts of mental health and mental illness, as well as what it means to ‘promote mental health’ in ourselves and in our communities.

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