SMH professionals are a critical part of Ontario’s School Mental Health Strategy
Whether you’re a mental health leader, a manager of social work or psychological services, or a front-line school mental health professional, you serve a unique and vital role in the school system. You consult, assess, prevent, intervene and support.
Often, it’s you and your colleagues who serve our students when they are at their most vulnerable. Together, you provide the “safety net” that holds students when they require extra support and care at school—an essential part of Ontario’s school mental health strategy.
Working within a multi-tiered system of support
Some school mental health professionals work at tier one. They support educator mental health literacy, guide student-led mental health awareness and stigma-reduction initiatives, and provide classroom consultation.
School mental health professionals
are particularly and uniquely qualified for work at tier two, including supporting
early identification and assessment, prevention, and providing early
As we move towards quality and
consistency through structured psychotherapy approaches (like the Brief
Intervention for School Clinicians and brief cognitive-behaviour therapy), even
more emphasis will be placed on this critical role.
There will always be students who
have more significant mental health needs. Many of these students will not
access community resources. School mental health professionals also need to
have professional competence in serving students with tier three needs, including more
in-depth therapeutic interventions and crisis response.
You have a lasting impact on the students you work with
directly, and together, through the systematic implementation of evidence-based
programming across the continuum of service, we are helping to improve student
mental health across Ontario.
You are part of a community of practice
Those of you who are part of Social Work or Psychological Services departments are part of a community of practice within your board. You learn together, share ideas, and work through issues arising as you serve students in your schools.
You are also part of our provincial community of practice,
and we’re committed to ongoing learning together.
You can participate in in-person and online training to help
you build your knowledge about specific topics related to student and school
mental health, including clinical topics and how to provide support to
educators and other staff who are working directly with students.
Explore the learning topics on our site or search the resources to find guides and other tools to support you in your role.
Use the site as a resource as you work with staff and colleagues. We also have information and resources for educators, parents, students and system and school leaders that you can access and share with others.
The role of Mental Health Leaders
Mental health leaders work with us to shape Ontario’s School Mental Health Strategy.
At the board level, they work alongside the superintendent with
responsibility for mental health, and your board mental health leadership team,
to create and implement your board mental health strategy and action plan. The
board strategy is meant to align with Ontario’s School Mental Health Strategy. It
highlights priorities within a common set of action pillars (e.g., learning and
training for educators, equity and specific populations, youth and family
More recently, managers of social work and psychological services have joined this provincial community of practice and have brought their voices to conversations related to the multi-tiered service continuum and other strategic priorities.