Mental Health & Well-Being
Mental well-being or positive mental health impacts how we think, what we feel and the way we act. It also affects how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.
Mental health is deeply influenced by our relationships with friends, family, and our environment. Stresses at school, home, in our communities and beyond can make an impact on our mental health.
We need to take care of our mental health because it's an important part of our overall health.
Feeling anxious or stressed can be a normal part of life. Having these feelings doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong. However, some mental health concerns should be taken seriously, and support obtained when needed.
Schools in B.C. are helping students build skills and knowledge to contribute to their well-being. It's even a part of the curriculum.
The Mental Health in Schools (MHIS) Strategy (PDF, 13MB) provides a vision and pathway for mental health promotion in the B.C. K-12 education system.
The strategy takes a system-wide approach to mental health promotion, with a focus on three main elements:
- Compassionate Systems Leadership
- Capacity Building
- Mental Health in the Classroom
The MHiS Strategy has been developed in collaboration with education sector and community partners and will guide our actions and investments in mental health promotion over the coming years.
Mental health literacy is the knowledge and understanding of how to:
- Develop and maintain mental well-being
- Identify risk factors and signs of mental health challenges
- Access help when needed
- Reduce stigma around the topic of mental health
Social-emotional learning is a set of specific skills that help us:
- Set goals
- Manage our behaviour
- Build relationships
- Process or remember information
These skills impact a person's mental well-being and are connected to educational success and employment.
Many people experience trauma and interpret and respond to their experiences in different ways. Trauma-informed practice promotes:
- Providing inclusive and compassionate learning environments
- Understanding coping strategies
- Supporting independence
- Helping to minimize additional stress or trauma by addressing individual student needs
If someone talks about suicide or shows signs of suicidal behaviour
Take it seriously.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know is in immediate risk to hurt themselves, call 9-1-1 immediately.
If you have a non-emergency health concern
Call 811 to speak with a nurse any time of the day or night.
- Kids Help Phone
- KUU-US Crisis Line Society
- Mental Health and Substance Use Supports in B.C.
- YouthInBC (24-hour crisis line & daily online chat)
If you or a friend needs help dealing with a problem
Reach out to an adult and get help.
- Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Support Services in B.C. (interactive map)
- Foundry: Mental Health
- Jack.org: BeThere
If you're a parent, teacher or another supportive adult
Talk with young people about mental health. Help them identify their internal and external strengths. Listen and respond with empathy. Don't judge – young people need to feel respected and they need to see that you're taking their problems seriously.
Be an advocate. Support young people to do as much for themselves as possible – help them build connections, access services, and create their own network of support. When necessary, speak up on their behalf.
Ask for help. Don't try to deal with things on your own. Reach out to a crisis centre, counsellor or doctor for support. Get help or show them where they can get help for themselves.
Know the warning signs of suicide. Pay attention to your suspicions and trust your judgement. If concerned, ask the young person directly about suicide to determine the level of risk they're at – for example, you could ask: “have you ever thought about suicide?” If you are concerned that someone is at high-risk of suicide, don’t leave them alone, and safety-proof your home.
Grief & Loss:
Mental Health (general resource)
- Bounce Back (ages 15+)
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Doctors of BC: Open Mind
- Fraser Health: Child and youth mental health resources
- HealthLinkBC: Mental and Behavioural Health
- Here to Help
- Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre
- StopOverdose BC: Mental Health and Substance Use
- Anxiety Canada: Educator Resources
- BC Trauma-Sensitive Toolkit
- Collaborative Toolbox
- First Nations Youth Suicide Prevention Curriculum (grades 6-8)
- Foundry: Stop Wondering, Start Knowing
- Instructional Sample: The Ups and Downs of Stress (PDF)
- Ministry of Children and Family Development: EASE (Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators)
- Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health: Positive Mental Health Toolkit
- Psychology Foundation of Canada: Stress Lessons: Tools for Resiliency (grades 9-12)
- Reach Out Psychosis
- Skills 4 Life Summit
- Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (Note: US-based)
- UBC: Bringing Mental Health to Schools (mental health literacy course for educators, grades 7-12)
- UBC: Learning for Life (grades 4-7)
- WE Well-being Through Education (grades K-12)