Mental health is a state of well-being in which a person can achieve self-fulfillment. Mental health refers to the ability to think and act in such a way as to enjoy life, meet various challenges, be productive and contribute to the community. Mental health is related to the ability to manage one’s thoughts, emotions, behaviours and relationships with others.

Interventions in schools should aim to make young people feel good, safe, valued, supported and able to adapt to various situations.

It is recommended that educational interventions promote the development of protective factors throughout young people’s schooling. These factors may include:

  • expressing and managing emotions and stress
  • asking for help
  • managing conflict
  • solving problems

Interventions aimed at reducing certain risk factors such as homophobia, violence in romantic relationships or addiction to alcohol, other drugs or gambling should also be carried out to help prevent mental illnesses such as depression and substance abuse disorders.


  • adaptability
  • conflict resolution
  • mental illness
  • positive relationships
  • psychological distress
  • self-esteem
  • stress management
  • suicide
  • problem solving
  • well-being

Key moments for implementing structured educational interventions

  • Preschool
  • Elementary 1
  • Elementary 2
  • Elementary 3
  • Elementary 6
  • Secondary I
  • Secondary III
  • Secondary V

Specific recommendations

  1. Avoid interventions that focus specifically on suicide when working with groups of students. Prioritize activities that promote the development of personal and social skills, especially:
    • expressing and managing emotions and stress
    • asking for help
    • managing conflict
    • solving problems
    These interventions help prevent psychological distress, mental illness and suicide.
  2. Answer students’ questions about suicide or death by suicide, making sure to:
    • check with those who want to talk about suicide to see if this interest is in fact a request for help
    • explain that suicide is often linked to mental illness, including depression, and that mental illnesses can be treated
    • avoid expanding their knowledge of ways to commit suicide and their degrees of fatality
    • ensure that suicide is not seen as a romantic, heroic or inevitable way to end their suffering; make it clear that suicide is not an option
    • avoid sharing opinions on suicide
    • provide information on seeking help
      • promote positive problem-solving attitudes
  3. Avoid stigmatizing mental distress or illness through actions, attitude or words.
  4. Be sensitive to signs of distress and mental health issues, such as:
    • absenteeism
    • anxiety
    • attention problems
    • frequent crying
    • isolation
    • loss of interest
    • repeated academic failure
    • self-mutilation
    • suicidal ideation
    • tantrums
    • violence
  5. Refer young people in need to the appropriate services quickly and appropriately.

Last update: March 20, 2024


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