#HearNowON for 2021:
Student Voices on Mental Health

School Mental Health Ontario (SMH-ON) and Wisdom2Action (W2A) need your help to support mental health in Ontario schools! Your perspective, as a young person and student, is crucial to making sure we’re doing this work right.

SMH-ON is a provincial support team focused on school mental health in the province of Ontario. Since 2011, SMH-ON has worked alongside the Ministry of Education, English and French school districts and school authorities, and a number of provincial education and mental health organizations to develop an effective and thorough approach to school mental health. W2A is a national social enterprise and consulting firm working with SMH-ON to better understand and support student mental health and well-being.

Together, we have launched #HearNowON for 2021, an initiative with Ontario secondary school students to help us better understand your needs, perspectives, and priorities when it comes to school mental health and well-being. By sharing your perspective, you will help us:

  1. Gather insights and ideas from secondary school students for how to build and sustain mental health capacity with and among their peers.
  1. Explore how school communities can adopt an equity-based approach to school mental health, to better support students impacted by systemic oppression.
  1. Learn how to get secondary students involved in provincial, district, and school-level initiatives that support student mental health and wellness.

How else can I be involved in #HearNowON for 2021?

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:

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
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?

*We will give you volunteer hours for participation in these forums.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

#HearNowON began in 2019 as a joint effort between SMH-ON and W2A. We undertook this initiative because we are committed to engaging student voices and student leaders in our work on school mental health. In 2019, we ran a province-wide survey and hosted four regional forums across Ontario, which resulted our first #HearNowON report, which you can access here.

In the two years since, we’ve been working hard to put what we heard into action. Here are some examples of our work:

We launched HearNowON for 2021 to help us understand what’s changed in the past two years, and better understand the most current priorities and recommendations of Ontario secondary students on school mental health.

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.


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

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