Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Youth Mental Health & Addiction Champion Toolkit

Youth Mental Health & Addiction Champion Toolkit

Champion Toolkit

Ontario public health units and district school boards face challenges of developing effective, yet collaborative approaches to youth mental health promotion amongst key inter sectoral stakeholders in the health, education and youth social service sectors. To assist in meeting this challenge, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) partnered with public health units, District School Boards, SMH ASSIST and provincial youth based organizations in Ontario to develop a peer based youth mental health initiative.

The Youth Mental Health and Addiction Champion (YMHAC) Initiative aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children and youth through a focus on mental health promotion, stigma reduction, and substance misuse prevention. A Comprehensive School Health Approach and Youth Engagement principles were used to train selected youth as mental health ambassadors. These youth learned strategies to increase awareness about mental health promotion and stigma reduction to better foster supportive, resilient and inclusive school environments.

The YMHAC initiative demonstrates that inter-sectoral partnerships between public health, education and social service sectors is key for supporting youth mental health promotion outcomes and programming in schools. The YMHAC initiative also highlights the leadership role of public health nurses and school mental health leads in supporting youth mental health promotion outcomes in school communities.

Due to an overwhelming response from public health units and the education system to expand the YMHAC initiative, the RNAO in collaboration with partners, developed the YMHAC Toolkit to support the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based, youth-led mental health promotion and substance misuse prevention initiatives in school settings. Within the toolkit, users will be provided with a comprehensive step-by-step understanding of the YMHAC initiative and all of its components – everything from guiding frameworks, how to build your team, youth training content, event planning and evaluation tips.

Whether you’re an adult or a youth seeking to pave a brighter future for young Canadians, the YMHAC toolkit will help you be better informed, inspired and most important of all, involved in helping to create resilient communities.

Go to the toolkit.