Developed by a multidisciplinary team under the supervision of Professor Brian Mishara from the Université du Québec à Montréal and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the mental health promotion program Passeport: S’équiper pour la vie (Passport: Skills for life) promotes children’s emotional well-being. More specifically, it encourages children to identify and assess coping strategies themselves in order to deal with new situations and everyday challenges. Studies show that early development of coping skills helps the child overcome challenges encountered during adolescence and adulthood
There is a significant fear of being labeled with a mental disorder, which is major reason why we are reluctant to discuss issues with friends, family and health care professionals. Although a major challenge, the stigma associated with mental disorders is often hidden. Yet, the psychosocial impacts are serious and touch many aspects of the affected person’s life. Often, people with a mental disorder even tell us that the stigma and discrimination are more troublesome than the disorder itself.
Since the 90s, school environments have undergone significant changes in view of improving the system’s efficiency (the fight against dropping out and the challenge of student’s success. Youth health has also been targeted through various initiatives such as the “Healthy Schools” approach. Colleges are now also starting to adopt such approaches because, among other reasons, studies show that youth transitioning into adulthood are at increased risk of psychological distress.
Young people making the transition to adulthood are a population at risk of developing mental health problems. The statistics are striking: those aged 15 to 24 have the highest prevalence of psychological distress, anxiety or depressive disorders, drug and alcohol related disorders and eating disorders. Suicide ranks second as a cause of death for this age group. The scope of these problems is reaching college (CEGEP) students. Initiatives launched in recent years have aimed at supporting these emergent clienteles, particularly young people with mental disorders and learning disabilities. To support the health needs and well-being of young people, the ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) and the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) published in 2010, the Cadre de référence pour soutenir la collaboration entre les centres de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS) et les collèges publics du Québec (Framework to support cooperation between CSSSs and public colleges in Quebec).
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.
Several mental health problems begin at an early age, influencing mental health throughout adulthood. Many experts working in mental health prevention and promotion maintain that school is the best place to implement programs promoting mental health. It is a place where children spend a considerable amount of time, making it easy to reach all children, including those living in vulnerable conditions.