Mental Health and Well-Being

Be Kind to Your Mind - with Mindful Mike

Photo of Mike Masse. Text: You Matter in AMDSB. Be Kind to Your Mind with Mindful Mike. For students and parents/caregivers. AMDSB #iAMwell logo
Feeling anxious about school starting? Train your mind to handle stress and emotions with this video program for all AMDSB students and parents/caregivers from local mindfulness coach Mike Masse: 

You(th) Matter in AMDSB

A recent report from our research partners at Queen's and Western Universities can Image of You Matter Decal - "You Matter To US!" #iAMwell. AMDSB be found by clicking the link below. The report outlines the findings from the January 2021 You Matter 2 virtual event for students and highlights some of the key work in the area of Mental Health and Well-being happening in our schools. 

Resources for Students

Our Mental Health and Well-Being Department, along with community partners, created videos for grades 4-12 students about stress and coping, and building resilience. We thank FauxPop productions (home of the Staysh), Huron Perth Centre for Children and Youth, Rural Response for Healthy Children, Tanner Steffler Foundation, and Dr. Michael Ungar for his research on building resilience. Thank you also to our Curriculum Department for resources, and to our Research and Communications Departments.

Kindergarten - Grade 3: Social Emotional Skills

Social emotional learning skills (SEL), which are covered in the curriculum, help students to be successful at school, home and work. They are the kind of skills that are needed to start and keep friendships, complete tasks, and stay positive in the face of stress or adversity. There are many social skills that students learn, but most fall into these main categories, skills that help students:
  1. identify and manage emotions
  2. cope with stress
  3. stay positive and persevere when things are difficult
  4. build and keep healthy relationships
  5. understand and celebrate our identity, and 
  6. engage in critical and creative thinking.

Grades 4-6: what is stress and how to build resiliency

This video addresses good stress and too much stress, as well as what to pay attention to and what to do when feeling too much stress.
Resiliency helps protect us when feeling stress. This video is based on 8 things that Dr. Michael Ungar has found make us resilient – structure, consequences, close relationships with caring adults, strong identity, sense of control, rights and responsibilities, and safety and support.

Grades 7-12: stress and anxiety and healthy coping strategies

This video focuses on what stress is, how it can affect people in a positive or negative way, and how to recognize stressors.
This video examines the difference between stress and anxiety, as well as: what is the fight, flight or freeze response; why we feel anxiety, when stress and anxiety become too much, and the symptoms of anxiety.
This video looks at coping with stress; how to determine coping strategies that work, including physical, behavioural, cognitive or mental strategies; and unhealthy strategies.
This video is about getting help - when to ask for help, where to turn for help, and apps for self-help for stress and anxiety.
Stop Bullying text on chalkboard background. Navy sidebar with "You matter to us!" and #iAMwell AMDSB logo
Visit our Safe Schools page to see anti-bullying resources

What is Mental Health? 

Promoting Mental Health: Finding a Shared Language from CAMH HPRC

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health and dental health. Mental health is one component of overall health.

The World Health Organization defines Mental Health as "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and, is fruitfully able to make a contribution to his or her community."

Mental Illness is characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour associated with significant distress and impaired functioning. Examples are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, etc. (Public Health Agency of Canada).

It is helpful to think of mental health and mental illness as separate but interconnected concepts on a continuum. 

See the Promoting Mental Health: Finding a Shared Language video above for further information.


Diagram - Dual Continuum Model of Mental Health and Mental Illness - Source Corey Keys on CMHA Website


At Avon Maitland District School Board we use a tiered approach to mental health and well-being.

Pyramid illustration divided into 3 sections. Bottom is green and labelled "ALL", "Tier 1: Mental health promotion for all students". Middle is blue and labelled "SOME", "Tier 2: Preventative interventions for students at risk. Top is red and labelled "FEW", "Tier 3: Pathways & Circle of Support for students and families with complex needs."


"There is a clear relationship between student mental health difficulties and academic achievement. AMDSB plays an important role in supporting mental health and wellness for our students. At our Board we promote mental well-being through everyday mental health practices, build student socio-emotional learning skills, and have various prevention supports for students at risk. We offer mental health and addictions professional development, try and identify students struggling with mental health issues, and refer students in need to our internal support staff and/or to our community mental health service partners. A key component to student well-being, though, is the caring educators and their genuine connection to students. This is why the well-being of our staff is also very important."

-Heather Hirdes, AMDSB Mental Health Lead

Let’s Talk About Gratitude

Gratitude is a practice where one actively expresses appreciation and thankfulness. It allows us to be aware of the present moment and enjoy the aspects of our lives that are going well. According to News in Health research, a practice of gratitude can improve your emotional well-being by helping you cope with stress and negative thinking.

At the YOU MATTER symposium we asked students and community partners to practice gratitude and to help us build a gratitude tree. We wanted our gratitude tree to be a visual representation of what is appreciated as a community. Some of the things that were included on the tree were: family, food, friendships, pets, healthcare, having clean water, going to school, and sports. Are these things that you are also grateful for?

AMDSB Community Partners in Mental Health

For emergency mental health services contact:
Huron Perth Helpline and Crisis Response Team: 1-888-829-7484

Online Resources: