Assess your school and create a plan
Reviewing and assessing needs, gaps, resources, initiatives, and capacity is an important part of the school planning process. This is equally true when considering how best to embed mental health and well-being into the school plan.
You likely already have data that has a logical connection to mental health and well-being (e.g., school climate surveys, administrative data, student voice inputs) and could gather more perspectives as part of the planning process. Our assessment tools are designed to help you reflect on core elements of mentally healthy schools and to support overall improvement planning.
Leadership suggestion: After completing the assessment yourself, consider having your mental health leadership team or entire staff complete the assessment. You could also run an assessment activity with your school council. Discuss the results as a group.
Mental health planning phases
Your mental health planning can be part of your school or board improvement planning. To follow familiar planning processes is a mental health leadership strategy.
- Use our reflection tools to help you assess the current state of your school or board.
- Make sure you understand the foundations for leading mentally healthy schools and assess whether they’re in place in your school.
- Review your improvement plan and identify where updates may be needed.
- Review your climate survey data and the results of your assessment from phase 1. Consider if there’s any information you’re missing.
- Consider your level of knowledge and whether you might benefit from more learning. Consider your staff’s level of mental health literacy. Visit our MH LIT online course.
During this phase, you’ll make your plan. If you don’t have a template for your plan, ask your mental health leader or superintendent to provide the board-approved template.
When setting priorities, make sure you focus first on organizational conditions, then staff capacity building. From there, your school or board will be ready for the uptake of mental health promotion and prevention programming.
Set a small number of goals and outline the steps needed to achieve the goals, as well as the indicators you will review to monitor progress. Use the data you collected during the assess and reflect phases to create a plan that
- makes use of identified strengths
- responds to identified specific school mental health issues
- has a defined focus on desired outcomes and how to achieve them
- successfully matches evidence-based practices and resources to the priority needs
- makes use of available resources within the school, across the board or in the community to support the school’s efforts
- sets out appropriate professional development and other supports needed to reach the outcomes successfully
During the Act phase, you start to implement your plan. Your initial actions from your plan may include creating structures and processes. From there, you begin involving more staff and working on capacity building.
At some point, you will start to act on the data that shows a gap area for your students. Here you might identify specific areas to focus on across the Tiers.
Evaluation is ongoing and can help you adjust your approach. Check in on your plan at various points. Review the indicators for your goals and consider if you’re making progress and if and how you may need to adjust.
As you near the end of a planning cycle, review the data again. You can use the assessment tools from phase 1. Be sure to communicate clearly and frequently with your staff, students and the school community. Open communication helps to build trust and will support your efforts to create change.
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