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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. Visit School Mental Health Ontario for ways that educators can contribute to creating and sustaining a welcoming and inclusive school climate.

Teachers can use the Decision Support Tool for Classroom Teachers checklist for planning mental health-related activities.  

  • 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? School Health 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 School Health team (adapted from Public Health Sudbury and Districts). A short video clip can be viewed at:
  • Strong Minds Strong Kids, Psychology Canada The Kids Have Stress Too! ® program is designed to provide educators with the awareness, knowledge and skills to help children and youth become more resilient, and healthier by learning to manage stress. With classroom lessons for Kindergarten to Grade 8 and a range of parent programs available, the program compliments a comprehensive school approach.
  • iTHINK – A Critical Thinking & Media Literacy Manual – 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 lesson plans designed to meet Ontario curriculum expectations. Interactive resources, such as video clips, quizzes, case studies, are included to support classroom teaching and student learning. (Developed by Central East Tobacco Control Area Network (TCAN) and Peterborough County City Health Unit
School Health public health nurses can support the following programs, which complement the work done by educators on mental health promotion.
  • 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 guide parents to Triple P where parents will work with their children to improve relationships and behaviour over time. Triple P programs are available in Simcoe Muskoka and across Ontario.
  • 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.
  • For more information and any of these programs, contact your School Health public health nurse or contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.
  • Back-to-School Mental Health Kit – specifically for parents who are concerned about their child’s mental health relating to the pandemic and infection control measures, Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) has prepared a Back-to-School Mental Health Kit to empower families to support their child’s mental health and to help find mental health supports when needed.  
  • 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.
  • Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide – This online resource is intended for secondary audiences however the concepts and content are applicable for teachers and students to enhance mental health literacy.
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – CAMH conducts the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey every two years with Grade 7-12 students. They also provide current information and resources on drug, alcohol and mental health issues.
  • Promoting Mental Health: Finding a Shared Language video: Video by CAMH for staff 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 community.
  • Supporting Minds: An Educator’s Guide to Promoting Students’ Mental Health and Well-being is designed to provide educators with information on the early signs of mental health and addiction problems, along with strategies that can be used in the classroom to support students (Kindergarten to Grade 12)
  • Iris the Dragon Book Series and educational material designed to facilitate the conversation between parents, teachers and children about mental health and wellness. These books contain general information about children’s mental health issues but they are not intended as a substitute for the advice of a trained professional.

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