Parents & Guardians:
We need your help!

School Mental Health Ontario (SMH-ON) and Wisdom2Action (W2A) are collaborating on an initiative to engage secondary school students across Ontario about school-based mental health with the following questions:

  1. What are the insights and ideas secondary school students have for how to build and sustain mental health capacity with and among their peers?
  1. How can school communities adopt an equity-based approach to school mental health, to support students impacted by systemic oppression?
  1. What can attract secondary students to get involved in provincial, district, and school-level initiatives that support student mental health and wellness?

The information gathered will help to broaden SMH-ON’s provincial student mental health engagement and leadership strategy. In addition to informing future student mental health learning and related projects, it is hoped that this student engagement initiative will inspire Ontario students to learn more and to get involved!

Through five virtual forums and an online survey, we’re trying to hear from as many students across Ontario as possible. Please consider sharing information about this project with young people you are connected to.

The information on this webpage is intended to provide you, as a parent/guardian, with key information about this project. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Alice Gauntley (Wisdom2Action) at alice@wisdom2action.org or Elo Igor (School Mental Health Ontario) at eigor@smso-smso.ca

Both HearNowON for 2019 and HearNowON for 2021 have received ethics approval from the Dalhousie Research Ethics Board (REB). The HearNow2021 reference number is #2021-5569.

1) Virtual Forums

In the Fall of the 2021-2022 school year, SMH-ON and W2A will be hosting a series of four virtual forums in English for Ontario secondary school students, with each forum focused on a different topic, as well as a dedicated French forum for francophone students.

October 23rd, from 1PM-4PM – #HearNowON: Let’s Get #Lit(erate) on Mental Health
What do you and your friends want to learn about mental health? How would you like to learn about it? What do you think young people need to know that they aren’t learning?
October 30th, from 1PM-4PM – Equity and Identity X Mental Health at School
How do things like race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, or other parts of people’s identity impact their mental health? What can Ontario schools do to better support equity in mental health?
November 6th, from 1PM-4PM – Student Leadership Opportunities in Mental Health
Student leadership opportunities in mental health What opportunities do you have right now to get involved in promoting mental health at your school? Are there other ways you would like to get involved.
November 13th, from 1PM-4PM Helping Our Friends and Accessing Support
What do students need to know about when to reach out for mental health help and support for themselves and peers? How can we reduce barriers in accessing school mental health supports? What characteristics makes up a safe and supportive adult at school?
November 27th, from 1PM-4PM – Forum en français

À l’automne 2021, SMS-ON et Savoir pour agir animeront un forum virtuel spécialement conçu pour les élèves ontariens francophones du secondaire. Le forum portera sur les quatre thèmes ci-dessus.

What you need to know about the virtual forums:

  • The forums will take place over Zoom.
  • The forums will be discussion-based and interactive. They will be facilitated from a strength-based and inclusive approach, meaning we will focus on young people’s resilience and desire for positive change.
  • There will be mental health support staff available at each forum.
  • If a participant shares something that makes us worry about their safety or the safety of others, mental health staff on the Zoom call will follow up with the participant privately and provide support to get help and make appropriate reports to a parent/guardian, as needed.
  • In order to participate in a virtual forum, participants are required to submit a parent/guardian informed consent form, which can be accessed here.
  • Students will be offered volunteer hours for their time with us.

2) Online Survey:

We have launched an online survey for secondary school students across Ontario. The survey will include questions about mental health knowledge needs and how we can better engage students in school-based mental health. Students will not be asked for their name or other identifying information, and survey responses will be stored electronically and securely within School Mental Health Ontario’s online survey software database. Parents and guardians are welcome and encouraged to review the survey themselves, and share with young people in their network.

3) More information

Follow along on social media with the hashtag, #HearNowON

CONTACT US

For questions about HearNowON, please contact Alice Gauntley at alice@wisdom2action.org.

For general questions about School Mental Health Ontario, contact Elo Igor at eigor@smho-smso.ca

How You Can Share #HearNowON

  • Follow along on social media with the hashtag, #HearNowON
  • Check out the visuals and draft messages you can use to share on your personal or organizations social media
  • Follow Wisdom2Action Twitter / Instagram
  • Follow School Mental Health Ontario Twitter / Student led Instagram @ThriveSMH