School Mental Health Ontario supports a mentally healthy return to school

This is a back-to-school like no other. More than ever, this fall, students need:

  • Schools and classrooms that are safe – physically and emotionally – and where they feel welcome, included, heard, comfortable, and confident
  • Skills and tools for self-care, managing stress, nurturing relationships, and enhancing their sense of strength and identity
  • Caring adults who notice when they may be struggling, and who provide knowledgeable responsive support
  • Encouragement to seek additional help when they need it, and guidance towards appropriate support
  • Quick access to the right level of service (in schools or community mental health)

In response, we produced a Mentally Healthy Return to School Framework to guide Ontario school boards. This framework includes three priority supports:

  • A comprehensive Mentally Healthy Return to School Toolkit
  • Extensive training for school mental health professionals in prevention services
  • System partnerships to streamline transitions to more intensive services

The Mentally Healthy Return to School Toolkit has practical, evidence-based resources to promote and protect mental health at school. We’ve shared some below. Visit the COVID-19 and Return to School section of our website for more information and resources.

“Experts” share tips on return to school

We sought insight and advice from some real experts on the return to school. They let us know they see you; they hear you, and you make a difference in their lives.

New resources to support a mentally healthy return to school

First 10 Days (and beyond)

It is the start of a school year like no other. Something none of us prepared for, and for which there are few roadmaps or signposts to guide us. We are welcoming students back to school during a moment in time when there are more questions than answers. So, how do we proceed?

How to Support Positive Mental Health
For All Students

School is an important place in promoting positive mental health, and helping to build student skills and resiliency. Positive day-to-day interactions at school – staff with students, staff with staff, and students with students – contribute to a sense of well-being and connectedness to school.

Noticing Mental Health Concerns
for Your Child

Individuals and families have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic in unique and varied ways. For some, significant changes to daily routines, a sense of isolation and loss, and various other factors may have led to new or increased mental health concerns. Emotional and behavioural difficulties can arise at any time, and can affect anyone.

New Student Resources for Anxiety Management and Mental Health Literacy

With the help of Ontario secondary school students, we’ve put together youth-friendly activities to help students understand more about anxiety and coping in relation to the pandemic. It’s important for students to have both the “how” and “why” to best support their use of these resources. The resources are designed to be used on Instagram or other social media platforms.