Healthy Schools

Mental Health Promotion

At Hamilton Public Health Services, mental health promotion focuses on the mental well-being of our community.  Mental well-being is the capacity of people to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance their ability to enjoy life and deal with challenges. Children and youth who feel good about life enjoy happiness and satisfaction.  When they function well in life, children and youth find purpose, enjoy positive relationships, and have a sense of belonging. 

As our Indigenous partners have long affirmed, promoting a sense of hope, purpose, meaning and belonging is essential to forming one’s sense of well-being from a holistic and balanced perspective (Assembly of First Nations and Health Canada, 2015). 

When children and youth feel good about life, they experience happiness and satisfaction.  When they function well in life, children and youth find purpose, enjoy positive relationships, and have a sense of belonging. 

Resources for mental health promotion

See ideas and resources below for promoting mental well-being:

  • Use the lesson plans and resources from the Psychology Foundation of Canada to promote positive social-emotional development and effective stress management. 
    • Kids Have Stress Too! Grades 1-3
    • Stress Lessons. Grades 4-6
    • Stress Lessons: From Stressed Out to Chilled Out. Grades 7-9
    • Stress Lessons: Tools for Resilience. Grades 9-12
  • Use the Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium Positive Mental Health Toolkit to promote school health practices and perspectives within the school environment.
  • Refer to:
    • School Mental Health Ontario for steps and strategies for promoting student mental health and well-being
    • Supporting Minds to learn how to support students with mental health and addiction problems through early recognition and effective classroom strategies
    • On My Way: A guide to support middle years child development (ages 6- 12 years)
    • Stepping Stones: A guide to support youth development (ages 12 – 25 years)
  • Assess how well your school is addressing mental well-being.  Create a plan with actions and policies to improve the mental well-being of students and staff.
  • Set up formal ways for students to be heard on decision-making bodies for schools, organizations and the community.
  • Advocate for physical activity in schools and other recreational opportunities for youth.
  • Refer to the Food Access Guide for programs and services in Hamilton.
  • Connect students with culturally relevant social support networks. 
  • Promote the mental well-being for Educators.
  • Advocate for policies that positively influence the school climate.
  • Refer to Ontario’s Well-being Strategy for Education
  • Check out school-wide, classroom and student activities from Ideas for Action (Mental Health) from Ophea (French language available).
  • Provide opportunities for students to share their perspectives and solutions for community issues through media and arts projects.
  • Work with students to host events and activities for their peers.
  • Participate in Mental Health Week (May) with school announcements, student –led activities to promote positive mental health  
  • Ensure that students feel safe and comfortable in common spaces at your school. Work with students to assess and make improvements to common spaces.

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