Supporting Student Mental Health 

The Catholic Principals' Leadership Development | Ontario, Leadership en action and Principal Association Projects,  the service partners for Catholic Principals' Council | Ontario (CPCO), L'Association des directions et directions adjointes des écoles franco-ontariennes (ADFO) and Ontario Principals' Council and School Mental Health Ontario (SMH-ON) are offering webinars, podcasts and a whiteboard animation as a complement to the MH LIT - Mental Health in Action courses. These resources, along with the course modules support principals and vice-principals in supporting student mental health.  

These resources will support principals and vice-principals as they 

  • deepen their understanding of student mental health
  • provide practical strategies
  • support the enhancement of classroom culture
  • align their work with the OCT advisory related to student mental health
  • understand links between mental health and updated curriculum documents including Health and Physical Education and Mathematics and
  • build positive habits that create the foundation for long-lasting mental health and well-being.

Podcast 1: Creating Conditions for Leading Mentally Healthy Catholic Schools

Through conversations with practising Catholic school leaders, our podcasts will provide listeners practical strategies, examples and information on:

  • Creating a Mentally Healthy Catholic School and Classroom Environment
  • Understanding the AIM model, especially Tier 1 Elements (welcome, include, understand, promote, partner)
  • Creating Positive Spaces by Enhancing Student Voice 
  • Organizational Conditions at School Community Level
  • School Improvement Planning with Social Emotional Learning (SEL and Mental Health in mind) 

For easy access by topic and by leadership resources mentioned, please refer to the index below:

0:00 – Welcome, Land Acknowledgement, Prayer and Panelists Introductions
4:25 – Howdo Catholic school leaders begin to support the work and create the conditions for a mentally healthy school, including tiered support?
9:08 – Understanding the Aligned Integrated Model (AIM) as a school-wide approach.  

10:29 – What have been some of the key professional learning opportunities your schools have engaged in to better equip staff and parents to support student well-being?  

20:17 – As Catholic leaders of equity, what are some key processes and strategies you use to increase student engagement, voice and leadership in your school? 

  • How do you attend to whose voice is present and whose voice is missing?  
  • What types of data or indicators are you using to ensure that all students are working within an accepting and safe school environment that promotes positive mental health for all? 
  • What might your response to the call to action look like in light of student voice and anti-black racism?
  • What does a sense of belonging look like, sound like and feel like in your school? 

35:34 – What are some accessible and inclusive organizational conditions or leadership structures that school leaders can put in place to ensure there is a focus on positive mental health?

Podcast 2: Catholic Leaders Building Confidence and Skill in How to Notice and Listen: Supporting Student Mental Health in Catholic Schools

Through conversations between practising Catholic school leaders, our podcasts will provide listeners practical strategies, examples and information on: 

  • What to Look For regarding Common Mental Health Issues 
  • Preparing Staff to Notice Mental Health Concerns in Students
  • Effective Supports and Processes for Supporting Students with Mental Health Concerns

Links to resources and tutorials for more information will be shared in addition to Student profiles, voice, choice, engagement and grade specific SEL links to curriculum and HPE Curriculum

For quicker access by topic as well as for the leadership resources mentioned, please refer to the index below:

0:00 – Welcome, Land Acknowledgement, Prayer and Panelists Introductions
4:12 – Creating a culture of noticing: As a Catholic school leader, what are some indicators or strategies you have observed staff using in schools to notice students’ strengths as well as when students are struggling with their mental health? 

10:19 – Consider the importance of Catholic leadership, modeling and building relationships – strategies and stances for a culture of noticing focussed on mental health and wellbeing.
14:39 – How do you lead in ways to build the capacity of all staff to support student mental health and contribute to the culture of noticing?

27:40 – How do you emphasize and support the importance of noticing/listening in your school?  What are some leadership strategies that work towards consistency in communication?
36:33 – Student success stories – Caring, Catholic leadership and humility as catalysts 
43:18 – What are some effective supports and processes that you have implemented that support students who might be at greater risk for mental health challenges?  What role do mental health support services play in this work?

Supporting Student Mental Health: A Decision Support Tool for School Leaders

Webinar 1 - completed

Mental Health and the Tiered Approach to Support All Students

This webinar introduces Mental Health Literacy through the lens of a school leader. Participants will learn about the school leaders' role in supporting mental health and will develop an understanding of the importance of creating the conditions that enable mental health and well-being to thrive. Together, we will explore the AIM model of support and intervention and learn how to think in tiers to effectively design and monitor mental health services for your school. Participants will become familiar with resources designed by SMH-ON to support continuous learning and improvement in mental health and well-being in your school. The webinar will be interactive, engaging participants in activities that focus on “where to start” with the implementation of social emotional learning. 


  • Supporting Student Mental Health Slides - Webinar 1 English | PDF
  • Supporting Student Mental Health Slides - Webinar 1 English | PPTX

Webinar 2 - completed

Understanding a Whole School Approach to Culturally Responsive Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

This webinar engages participants to  explore the benefits of developing conditions for culturally responsive SEL in daily practice. Participants will learn about 6 categories of SEL, and explore strategies to build staff capacity and ownership for a whole school approach to culturally responsive SEL practices. The webinar will be interactive, engaging participants in activities that focus on curriculum connections to SEL, how to teach SEL, and deepening our understanding of school wide commitment to SEL. School leaders will be led through the new Social Emotional Learning in Action tool which is a reflection guide that helps you take the pulse of what’s going on in your school. 


  • Supporting Student Mental Health Slides - Webinar 2 English | PDF

Webinar 3 - completed

Supporting Students Experiencing Mental Health Concerns: Noticing and Responding

This webinar explores resources for principals to support students struggling with a mental health concern. Together, we will learn about the circle of support and will examine how the principal, as a member of the circle, supports the student. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how to access additional support for a student struggling with a mental health problem. Strategies to talk with parents, as well as a multitude of SMH-ON resources that are available to assist school leaders will be shared. The webinar will be interactive, engaging participants in activities that focus on equity considerations, inviting reflection on your school and your leadership moves, zeroing in on ways to build partnerships with parents and deciding on actionable next steps for your school community.


  • Supporting Student Mental Health Slides - Webinar 3 English | PDF