Mental Health

Mental Health & Well-being

At the OCDSB, we understand that mental health and well-being are important to learning and life.     This relationship is grounded in the OCDSB 2015-2019 Strategic Plan where well-being is identified as one of the key priority areas.  We strive to enhance students’ sense of belonging and sense of self, as well as to foster social skills, resilience and emotional regulation within an inclusive, safe and caring learning environment.

To guide the work in mental health & well-being, the OCDSB has developed a district-wide framework for well-being, and a mental health strategy.  Our vision recognizes that “engaging, educating and empowering our students, staff and communities provides a safe, caring and inclusive learning environment that promotes student mental health, well-being and achievement”.   The OCDSB Mental Health Strategy outlines important priorities including setting organizational conditions, promoting mental health through capacity building, implementing evidence-informed mental health and well-being initiatives and facilitating pathways to care for students who experience mental health challenges.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is often confused with mental illness or disorders, like depression, or schizophrenia, but in fact, mental health is the opposite.  To be mentally healthy means we feel happy, safe, cared for – we are resilient and flourishing.  The World Health Organization defines mental health as a “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community (World Health Organization).

What is the tiered approach to mental health?

At the OCDSB we use a tiered approach to promote mental health and well-being for ALL, to identify SOME students who need additional support and to assess and intervene with a FEW students who are experiencing mental health challenges. 

Promoting mental health & well-being begins in the classroom where all students learn and practice social emotional learning skills such as problem-solving, decision making, and coping with stress.  Some students, who might be at risk for developing mental health difficulties, need extra support.  Some of the resources available at school include: classroom teacher, educational assistant, learning support teacher/learning resource teacher, guidance counsellor, student success teacher, vice-principal and principal.  There are additional central supports including: specialized teams (e.g., Behaviour, Autism, Early Learning), instructional coaches, re-engagement coordinator, psychologists, social worker sand speech & language pathologists.  A few students will require intensive mental health or crisis intervention and supports.  In addition to school and central supports, access to community resources maybe important for these students.

­An illustration of Tiered Intervention:

An illustration of Tiered Intervention:

  • School Mental Health- ASSIST

In an immediate crisis, call 911 or go to a hospital.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, ask someone for support. The following information sheets may be useful in guiding how that support is offered:

Coping with Crisis


Resources in Ottawa/Eastern Ontario
If you or someone you know needs helps you can always call one of the following 24 hour help lines
  • Mental Health Crisis Line: 613-722-6914 (within Ottawa) or 1-866-996-0991 (outside of Ottawa)
  • Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region: 613-238-3311
  • Youth Services Bureau Crisis Line: 613-260-2360 (within Ottawa) or 1-877-377-7775 (eastern Ontario)
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868


Prevention includes creating a positive and supportive school climate; building a school environment and culture that enhances and supports resiliency for all children and youth, and where primary prevention and early identification of mental health issues takes place. To find out more about what you can do to help promote mental health check out the information below:

Fostering Mental Health


Teacher Resources



Assessment and treatment are necessary for children and youth displaying significant symptoms of mental illness or with diagnosable disorders. The need for treatment may be of short-term duration, or may involve long-term professional involvement, or may fluctuate as the child or youth experiences various developmental stages and life events. To find out more about treatment please check out the resources below. 

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