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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Healthy Schools - Mental Health

In Ontario up to 1 in 5 teens or kids have mental health issues.1 We know that 70% of these issues can be dealt with by finding out about them early and doing something to get well.2

Mental health is as important to a person’s well-being as their physical health, particularly during the challenging years of adolescence. A child’s state of mental well-being is influenced by the presence of positive factors within individuals and their social settings.

Mental well-being is when an individual:

  • Realizes his or her own abilities
  • Can cope with the normal stresses of life
  • Can work productively and fruitfully
  • Is able to make a contribution to his or her community
 
 

Students can:

Help other students connect with others who have had common situations and experiences. There are several ways students can support a healthy school environment. Students play an important role in their own mental health as well as that of their peers. They contribute to the environment in a school that affects the mental health of others.

  • Be respectful such as, call each other by name and recognize the positives
  • Get involved in school activities
  • Talk to school staff when you have questions, concerns and ideas
  • Take care of your own mental health. Reach out regarding emotional health (e.g. feeling angry, sad, lonely, isolated, anxious, depressed and suicidal) at Kids Help Phone - 1-800-668-6868

Teachers can:

Students come to school each day with more than their lunch and backpack. They bring a myriad of life factors that shape their learning and development. These influences include family issues, health, culture, behavior, learning style and abilities. All are related to mental health.

Historically, mental health has been viewed through the lens of mental illness (e.g. depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disease). It is now recognized that good mental health is not simply the absence of illness, but also the possession of skills necessary to cope with life’s challenges. Educators need to understand the role mental health plays in the school context because it is important to a students’ social, emotional and academic success.

  • Access mental health training in children and youth
  • Make sure all students have a sense of belonging
  • Support students involvement in decision-making
  • Give children the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment
  • Build skills in children
  • Value each child
  • Ensure each child knows they can make a difference
  • Help children build resiliency
  • For more resources: Educator - Curriclum, Teaching and Learning Resources - Middlesex-London Health Unit

Policy can:

  • Reinforce the need for school environments that are safe and caring for all students.
  • Affect leadership practices, decision-making processes, and rules and procedures for programs, services and relationships in the school with the goal of supporting positive mental health practices.

Other Helpful Resources

 
Date of creation: November 12, 2012
Last modified on: May 14, 2018

References

1Ontario Child Health Study: Six-Month Prevalence of Disorder and Rates of Service Utilization Co-authored with Boyle, M.H., Szatmari, P., Rae-Grant, N.I., Links, P.S., Cadman, D.T., Byles, J.A., Crawford, J.W., Munroe Blum, H., Byrne, C., Thomas, H. and Woodward, C.A. in Archives of General Psychiatry, 44:832-836, 1987.
2Leitch, K. Reaching for the Top: A Report by the Advisor on Healthy Children and Youth (2007). Retrieved from
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/pubs/child-enfant/advisor-conseillere/index-eng.php