Why Get Involved?
YouthSMART (Youth Supporting Mental Health and Resiliency Together) is a customizable year-long initiative designed to generate an awareness of mental health topics, which allows for student leaders and their designated teachers to work collaboratively to execute ongoing mental health awareness activities, unique to each school community.
The initiative kicks-off October 29, 2018 with the YouthSMART Summit. This catalyst event brings together 300+ “SMART Leader” students and their teachers to participate in a powerful day of sharing, learning, and subject matter co-development. Hosted at Calgary’s Genesis Centre (7555 Falconridge Blvd. NE
) the event combines large group presentations, local celebrities, inspirational speakers, and small group discussions.
It is designed to generate an awareness of mental health topics, while actively empowering youth to take responsibility in leading a climate of well-being and resiliency within their school communities. School teams will utilize their learnings from the day to spark meaningful mental health promotions amongst their peers, and leave the event with year-long, youth-led project action plans to address mental health topics in their school. *Although highly recommended, schools are not necessarily required to attend the summit to participate in the initiative.
Participating schools become “SMART Schools” and will commit to the development and implementation of their action plans. SMART Leader students and their designated teachers will implement ongoing, school-wide mental health awareness campaigns throughout the year. They will read occasional electronic newsletters and respond to 3 brief, seasonal (fall, winter, spring) progress report emails.
In exchange for these commitments, schools are provided with:
- The YouthSMART Toolkit – a step-by-step guide with mental health information, topic suggestions, project ideas, and templates.
- Access to YouthSMART Educators and CMHA Youth/Family Peer Supporters – experts and speakers to help guide student projects.
- A Menu of Optional Mental Health Learning Opportunities – Schools are offered a rich menu of optional learning opportunities available throughout the year, to increase student knowledge, and enhance ongoing work within the initiative.
The initiative concludes Spring 2019 with an optional celebration event. To finish the year, students reflect on the impact they have made in their schools, and new awareness concepts and avenues of learning are co-generated for future youth supports from CMHA and YouthSMART.
In the past, outcomes from the YouthSMART Initiative have demonstrated that participating schools experience a whole-school, population-wide reduction in stigma, an improved understanding of mental health and resiliency, an increase in help seeking behaviours, and a substantial shift toward a safe and supportive school culture.
We would like to invite up to six (6) of your students and two (2) of your teachers to lead this important initiative within your school-community this year.
Capacity is limited, and schools must formally enroll with YouthSMART
to participate. If your school is interested in becoming a 2018-2019 SMART School please contact [email protected]
for further details.
Registration for the summit can be made here and must be completed by October 17, 2018. The event is on a first-come, first-served basis. Once we reach capacity, registration will close. Please register early to avoid disappointment.