What is Positive Mental Health?
Mental Heath has become a vital concern in all our schools and communities. Research has shown that about one in five children and youth in Canada has a mental health problem and it is important that educators have an understanding of childhood mental health disorders, that they can recognize symptoms and activate the appropriate services and supports when needed.
Positive Mental Health – defined by Public Heath Agency of Canada
“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 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” (Public Health Agency of Canada PHAC, 2006, p.2)
There is also an increased understanding that developing positive mental health takes us beyond symptoms and disorders and shifts our focus to building resiliency and skills in all our students. In this definition mental well-being is attainable for all regardless of a mental illness diagnosis.
We help our students understand that positive mental health is a goal we all strive for and all of us will face challenges throughout our life time. Teaching students to cope with stress, to manage their emotions, and how to build meaningful connections are foundational skills necessary for life and academic success.
Open Minds Healthy Minds
The Open Minds Healthy Minds document (June 2011), lays out the Ontario government’s comprehensive mental health and addictions strategy and calls upon services to work together to help all our children thrive. The focus of the strategy is under three key areas: fast access to quality services, early identification and support and help for vulnerable children with unique needs. Schools and school boards play an important role in promoting awareness, prevention, early identification and intervention and connecting students to community services. In recognition of the need for school boards to build their capacity a provincial resource and support team School Mental Health Ontario is providing leadership to support student well-being. Our board is guided by our Mental Health Strategy and the collective wisdom of our Student Well-Being Steering Committee.