“Participation in school activities, engagement in the school process, and a sense of belonging are crucial elements in keeping young people on a positive life path.” (Bower, Carroll and Ashman, 2012, pg.10)
This quote is included in Schools as a Setting for Promoting Positive Mental Health: Best Practices and Perspectives, 2nd edition, by William Morrison, PhD and Patricia Peterson, EdD.
The document was developed for the Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health. The purpose of the project was to develop guidelines for better practices related to the promotion of positive mental health perspectives within the comprehensive school health framework.
Some research highlights from the document:
- Benefits have been noted when approaches engage school, family and community stakeholders in communicating common behavioral expectations.
- Schools that embrace comprehensive health approaches are ideally suited for the promotion of mental health awareness.
Topic samples to whet your appetite:
- Strength-based perspectives
- Mental fitness
- Self-efficacy – student self-efficacy plays a significant role in retention, relatedness to the school context and overall academic success (see Teacher and Parent Guides)
- Positive mental health correlates with healthy development – according to Deci and Ryan (2007), positive mental health approaches and perspectives contribute to psychological wellness and increased readiness to pursue goals related to healthy lifestyle changes and personal growth (see Wellness: A Question of Balance). From their perspective, individuals with positive mental health are more likely to be self-determined; that is, “to think about and act on personal decisions to contribute to emotional and physical growth.”
(Morrison & Peterson, 2007, pg 4)
And there are more areas in the document to support comprehensive school health. See the Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health website.
Schools must be partners in the mental health care of our children. Integrating new initiatives into the ongoing life of the school is considered crucial to sustainability in the longer term. Some schools found it more difficult than others to identify links with existing practices and priorities. Where links were perceived, the project was more likely to become a core element of the ongoing work of the school. (From a multiple case-study carried out by Inchley, Muldoon and Currie, 2007)
Help provide the link for a school community by using:
- Wellness: A Question of Balance
- Teens and Transition: A Teacher Guide
- Teens and Transition: A Parent Guide