Table of contents


Mental Health Helpline: Phone: 1-877-303-2642

This toll-free helpline provides confidential and anonymous services, crisis intervention, information about mental health services and referrals to other agencies

Just like physical health, everyone has mental health. It begins at birth and continues throughout life. Good mental health is not merely the absence of mental health problems.

Students should be healthy, so that they can fully participate in school and community activities.

The Public Health Agency of Canada describes positive mental health 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”.

People who are mentally healthy:

  • have a sense of contentment
  • can deal with stress and bounce back from adversity
  • have a sense of purpose and meaning
  • can build and maintain fulfilling relationships
  • are flexible and can adapt to change
  • balance work and play, rest and activity
  • have self-confidence and high self-esteem

We all have a key role to play

Understanding and promoting positive mental health in schools is a shared responsibility of parents, educators and community partners. Physically and emotionally healthy students are more likely to be successful in school and in life.

There is growing evidence on the long-term value of promoting the positive mental health of children and young people. This is done through shaping early childhood experiences, understanding brain development, positive parenting, early intervention and effective educational services and programs.

We can make a difference through timely action. Schools and communities are the perfect environments to promote mental health. Building protective factors, such as self-esteem, emotional resilience, positive thinking, problem-solving and social skills, stress management skills and feelings of mastery. This will help balance negative factors in the lives of children and youth.

To be most effective, promoting mental health can be part of a whole school approach, providing education to children, youth and their families, creating partnerships with community agencies, creating positive school environments and policies that support mental wellness.

Mental health approaches and practices in schools can help to:

  • Enhance academic achievement and school attendance
  • Increase academic confidence and engagement in learning and in community life
  • Reduce high risk behaviours of children and youth
  • Increase involvement in community activities and citizenship
  • Enhance respect and appreciation for diversity and individual differences
  • Create welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments

Information and resources

Understanding and promoting positive mental health in schools is a shared responsibility of parents, educators and community partners. A comprehensive and coordinated approach is the best way to promote positive mental health.

Current research clearly identifies the importance of mental health to learning, as well as to students' social and emotional development. Students who experience positive mental health are resilient and better able to learn, achieve success, and build healthy relationships.

Working Together to Support Mental Health in Alberta Schools means:

  • Developing a shared language
  • Connecting brain development and mental health
  • Moving toward a strength-based approach to
    • build resiliency
    • enhance social-emotional learning
    • support recovery
  • Implementing a whole-school approach
  • Designing a continuum of supports
  • Understanding pathways to service
  • Identifying key roles for all partners

Working Together to Support Mental Health in Alberta Schools

Travailler ensemble pour soutenir la santémentale dans les écoles de l’Alberta

Heart of Recovery

Le coeur du rétablissement

Pathways to Hope: Best Practices in Suicide Prevention

Sur les voies de l’espoir : pratiques exemplaires en matière de prévention du suicide dans les écoles de l’Alberta

Alberta Health Services - Information for Teachers

Alberta Human Services - Children's Mental Health

Alberta Health - Information and Services

Alberta Health Services - helplines and information

Education: Mental health

The role community can play to support mental health in schools.

Mental health review

The Valuing Mental Health: Report of the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee was released on February 22, 2016. The Committee’s report included 32 recommendations that were synthesized into 18 key actions reflected in Valuing Mental Health Next Steps (June 2017). Valuing Mental Health: Next Steps focuses on improving system continuity and integration, with particular consideration given to four priority populations: children, youth and families; people with multiple and complex needs; people with addictions; and Indigenous people and communities.

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