Welcome to the May Edition of the Healthy Schools


Brought to you by Regina Area Health Promotion 
Saskatchewan Health Authority 

Please share with your administration, teachers, school staff, and school community council.  There is something for everyone!   

French resources will be highlighted by 'FR.' 
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May 2020 feature topic:
Mental Health

In this issue:

  1. Mental Health:
  2. May School Nutrition Poster: Food Literacy (FR & EN)
  3. How to Connect with us

Schools and Mental Health Promotion 

Photo by NeONBRAND  on Unsplash

Why Care?

Mental health is essential to living a balanced and healthy life. It impacts how we feel, think and behave every day. Mental health plays a role in creating and maintaining fulfilling relationships, allows us to cope with adversity and adapt to changes and stressors in life, such as the COVID-19 Pandemic.

According to grades 7-12 Students and Teachers in SK...

  • Mental Health received a consensus of support from both teachers and students.
  • Specifically, 80% of teachers rated Mental Health as a Top Five topic of importance (among 15 topics to select from).
  • Among students, 91% Agree or Strongly Agree that Mental Health is important for kids their age.
Reference:  Saskatchewan Alliance for Youth and Community Wellbeing. 2019. Thriving Youth, Thriving Communities Survey Report. Retrieved from:

What Can Schools Do?

Schools are excellent places/organizations:
  • to build and promote positive mental health for all;
  • to help reduce stigma around mental illness, mental health problems and in seeking support; and
  • for early identification of mental illness and early intervention.
Mental Health Promotion can be done on school grounds and can also be supported while students are learning from home. 

Use a Comprehensive School Community Health Approach to Mental Health

A Comprehensive School Community Health approach involves four integrated components working together towards the goal of healthier and better educated students, including:

A healthy physical and social environment

(promote some of these practices at home while school is taking place remotely)
  • Include physical activity  into each school day - it is proven to improve mental health. 
  • Create greener school yards and more outdoor learning to enhance feelings of happiness and reduce stress.
  • Provide spaces for relaxation, such as a lounge, an outdoor space, and quiet corners within classrooms.
  • Provide healthy food at school, as nutrition impacts mood. 
  • Promote positive self-esteem
  • Create an open environment for talking about problems and questions
Retrieved from Children in Nature Network: 

High Quality Teaching and Learning about Mental Health

Family and Community Engagement

Effective Policy and Administrative Procedures
Use this School Mental Health Toolkit to put a comprehensive school community health approach into action. 

Curriculum Connections, Resources and Activity Ideas 
(grades k-12) (FR + EN)

Youth and Mental Illness

Did you know...
  • 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness
  • Only 1 out of 5 children that need mental health services receives them
  • 70% of mental health conditions begin during childhood and adolescence

What Happens if Mental Health Disorders are unidentified and left untreated?

Everyone has mental health, but not all people will experience a mental illness. 

Mental illness is when the brain is not working the way it is supposed to, and requires treatment from a medical professional to help individuals live happy and productive lives. 

What to look for? Signs of a mental disorders include changes in behaviour, feelings and thinking; usually intense, frequent and persistent; leading to significant and persistent problems in a person’s everyday life. This is different than mental distress (e.g. worried about upcoming finals) or a mental health problem (e.g. death of a family member). 
If adolescent mental health disorders are not addressed, this can cause problems by:
  • limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives
  • causing problems with friends, which can leave feelings of isolation, being stigmatized, and unhappy
  • hindering a student's ability to learn, which can lead to low academic performance
  • leading to risky behaviours
  • affecting both physical and mental health into adulthood
  • taking an emotional and physical toll on school staff, which can lead to burn-out and exhaustion
What to do if you suspect a mental disorder in one of your students? 
  • Get help - talk to your principal and the school or community psychologist/counselor about what you are observing. See if there is a record of mental illness with this student already. 
  • Talk to the student in a caring and non-judgmental way. Explain what you have observed and ask if there is anything going on that they would like to talk about.
  • Involve the parents - see if they share your concerns. Suggest that they contact their family doctor or pediatrician to make sure there isn’t a physical illness first. Once that is ruled out, together you can talk about whether a referral to a mental health specialist is warranted.
"When mental illness is identified and treated early, the prognosis is excellent, the vast majority of youth can overcome their struggles and resume their course of normal development, flourishing, and reaching their natural potential."
  1. Fraser Health (2018). Positive mental health for children. 
  2. Mental Health Commission of Canada (2013). Making the case for investing in mental health in Canada
  3. Public Health Agency of Canada (2016). Mental health and wellness. 
  4. Simecoe Muskoka Health (2017). Promoting positive mental in schools.
  5. Teen Mental Health (2012). Thinking critically about meeting mental health care needs of youth

School and Community Mental Health Programs, Resources and Events

If experiencing a mental health crisis, dial 9-1-1 or present to your nearest emergency department. 

Call 8-1-1 Health Line to talk to a Nurse about mental or physical health concerns. 

Saskatchewan Bullying Prevention Resources including: Bullying Canada helpline and online support 

Mental health literacy training from Teen Mental Health.
  • Provides school staff with education in early identification, support, triage and referral of students who may be exhibiting mental health problems.
  • Receive access to the teen mental health curriculum guide. 
  • Typically free of charge   
  •  Contact us if interested in these sessions in the upcoming school year.
Mental Health and Addictions Services in Saskatchewan
  • Family Service Regina - Provides services for all ages such as; counselling, workshops and group programs.
  • Child and youth services - Programs and services that address various mental health needs of youth and their families.
  • Mental Health and COVID-19 Saskatchewan – who to call, where to go for services and information.
  • Mobile Crisis - Crisis counselors provide support with any problem that someone is dealing with and connects people of all ages to community resources.
  • Bridgepoint - Provides outreach, educational resources and programming that help in making a difference in lives of people with eating disorders.
Tips on Talking to Someone in Crisis during COVID-19 (Mental Health Commission of Canada).

NEDIC helpline - Provides information, resources and referrals to people affected by eating disorders through telephone or online chat.  

Call or visit 211 - Offers up-to-date listings of social, community, health and government mental health services across Saskatchewan.

Regina Food Security and Emergency Shelter Resources

Information for Parents/Guardians 

Use the information below in newsletters, e-blasts, Facebook Pages or Twitter Posts on how to help support their children’s’ mental health during these times and year round. 


1. Set aside family time for activities, new experiences and conversation. Be sure to include time for going outdoors. For ideas see here

2. Participate in physical activity together. Click here for ideas, including dance!

3. Provide healthy meals and snacks. Click here for tips and ideas. 

4. Know how to talk about complex situations and teach children how to cope with stress:
  • Express feelings
  • Teach relaxation techniques
  • Have consistent daily routines
  • Provide proper nutrition, physical activity, and encourage rest
  • How to talk to your children about COVID-19, click here  
5. Promote a positive body image, for tips on how see here .

6. Set time aside to unplug from electronics and disconnect from social media.

7. Encourage mindfulnessbeing fully engaged in the present activity.
  • Have family meals without TV or other devices
  • Don't look at cellphones while having face-to-face conversations
  • Encourage children to pay attention to the environment using their senses and reflect on what they notice 
8. Learn about the early signs of mental health problems by looking for:
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Changes in feeling
  • Changes in thinking
  • If there are changes as mentioned above, it is important to contact a family doctor or local health line at 811. 
  • If experiencing a mental health crisis, dial 911 or present to your nearest emergency department.

May's School Nutrition Information Posters (FR + EN): 'Food Literacy' 

This Month's Nutrition Information Poster is: Food Literacy 

French Poster: Littératie alimentaire

Food literacy means having the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to choose, grow, prepare and enjoy healthy food to support one’s health, community and the environment. See poster for tips on how to teach food literacy.
The Public Health Nutritionists of Saskatchewan have developed a nutrition information poster for each month of the school year. This information can be posted in the school, used in newsletters, as a part of school announcements, posted on the school website or used for Facebook or Twitter posts. Download French and English copies HERE

Connect with us

Regina Area Health Promotion is here to support your school in health areas including: nutrition, physical activity, positive mental health, body image, and dental health. 
If you would like to share success stories or upcoming events related to health in our newsletter please let us know - Click on the 'envelope' symbol below.

CLICK HERE to view March's Edition  on 'Outside Learning '
Click here for more on how Health Promotion can support your school
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Saskatchewan Health Authority - Health Promotion - Regina Area

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