A proactive approach to mental health can provide students and families with the skills and behaviours needed to support their mental well-being for life. Positive mental well-being builds resilience, so connecting families to mental health supports is especially important during times of challenge and isolation.
It is crucial that schools have criteria for families to access mental health support:
School counsellors should check in on student caseloads, including parents, and classroom teachers can check in with students and their families to see how everyone is doing (consider those who are not able to attend school, have difficulties in class, or other noteworthy circumstances)
The next step is considering school and community resources, which will depend on the location of the school. Provide parents with information about resources in the local school community of who and what services are accessible. Sometimes parents are able to self-refer to these outside agencies. Other times, schools may need to be an advocate and support parents by facilitating the communication between them and outside agencies.
Consider universal strategies for students and classes by asking the school counsellor for ideas, then move to targeted strategies to support small groups. Next, move to individualized supports for those needing one-on-one support. Finally, move on to outside agencies for support if they are within the community.