Taking action and succeeding together: Effective promotion and prevention practices in Quebec schools
Quebec is committed to disseminating effective promotion and prevention practices in the school context. For over five years, through an intersectoral approach, Healthy Schools, partners in education and health have been asked to work together interdependently and collaboratively to reinforce actions that will support youth throughout their development. The objective is to take effective action on individual and environmental factors favouring youths’ development of personal and social skills conducive to learning and maintaining health and well-being.
Aside from specific measures established in schools, the effectiveness required is based on a sound combination of various strategies. Due to the way schools are organized, teach, create their environment, work with youth, their families and community partners, they can become a place that “creates” success, health and well-being. Promoting youth mental health is a key issue since recommendations on effective mental health promotion practices can also apply to related issues (e.g.: violence prevention, responsible attitudes towards alcohol, healthy and responsible sexual behaviours).
To that effect, schools are offered tools and support, allowing them to reflect on their own promotion and prevention practices and put them in perspective with the practices recognized as effective. Professionals from health and social services centres and school boards work with partners in schools to document school environments, achievements and measures already in place. Thus, partners are better equipped to make informed decisions regarding which measures to continue, discontinue, improve or add to ensure youths benefit significantly in terms of success, health and well-being. This approach enables partners to learn together and adapt their practices rather than working in a logic where experts, the only ones with the knowledge, disseminate it. This reflective practice permits flexible responses to contextual changes (political, social, economic, cultural).
The objective is creating a school environment where health and prevention promotion measures support educational goals and priorities.