Mental Health and Wellness Plan

Division Priority One: NLPS Will Improve Mental Health and Wellness in Students

Our Priority

Northern Lights Public Schools is committed to creating an environment of knowledgeable and supported staff members as they strive to improve the mental health and wellness of students. This priority was established by the board after extensive consultation with students, parents and staff.

Our Definition

Mental Health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can learn/work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their school/community. - Based on the definition from the World Health Organization

Our Evidence of Improvement

Northern Lights students will complete a yearly survey that seeks to understand the mental health and wellness of students in relation to our definition. The survey will be administered in the Spring of each year. Baseline data will be established in 2021, and results will be reviewed by schools each year. Additionally, student responses to the Accountability Pillar questions related to Sade and Caring schools measure will be used to measure growth over time.

Our Actions

For All
Universal Supports
for All Students

For Some
Targeted Supports
for Some Students

For Few
Individualized Supports
for Few Students

Welcoming Schools - create opportunities for schools to enhance their practices for all students Heads Up 101 - develop and facilitate training for staff to support student mental health and wellness Mental Health Screening, Identification and Referral - enhance processes of screening for concerns and connecting with/ referring to therapist services
Menu of Supports - develop and deliver a menu of capacity-building training sessions for staff Video Bank - create short videos depicting use of classroom strategies to support mental well-being Student Support Plans - increase capacity to develop and monitor student support and safety plans
The Wonder Project - engage staff to enhance their understanding of inclusion in the classroom and school Community Helpers Program - provide high school students with the skills and knowledge to support their peers' mental health and well-being Student Advocacy Counsellors - enhance and support counsellors as they work with indicated students
Headstrong - provide opportunities for students to learn how to reduce stigma and become mental health champions in their schools Parental Engagement - provide opportunities and training for parents to support building mental health capacity of their children Positive Behaviour Support - implement/improve school-wide student management frameworks
Go-To-Educator - support training for staff to develop mental health literacy Positive Behaviour Support - implement/improve school-wide student management frameworks Agency Collaboration - work with community agencies to support integrated mental health services for identified students
Student Advocacy Counsellors - enhance and support counsellors as they work with all students Agency Collaboration - work with community agencies to support integrated mental health services for students  
Positive Behaviour Support - implement/improve school-wide student management frameworks Student Advocacy Counsellors - enhance and support counsellors as they work with targeted students  
Agency Collaboration - work with community agencies to support integrated mental health services for students    
Mental Health and Wellness of NLPS Staff - foster and support the mental health and wellness of staff    

Our School Plans

As part of their improvement plans, each school in Northern Lights is implementing universal, targeted and individualized strategies to enhance support for students. These strategies align with division actions and are designed to meet the unique demographics and needs of each school.

Our Resources

Successful Families, Successful Kids Mental Health Capacity Building project team, Mental Health Consultant, Student Advocacy Counsellors, Director of Inclusive Education and Community Supports, Learning Consultants, School Staff, and Community Agencies

Our Results

NLPS Student Mental Health and Wellness Survey

Grade Groups 2020 May Results 2021 May Targets
Grade 2 to 6 n/a Establish Baseline Data
Grade 7 to 12 n/a Establish Baseline Data

Safe and Caring Schools Accountability Pillar - Student Responses

May 2019 Results May 2020 Results May 2021 Targets
Students Grade 4-12 - 81.4% 80.2% 81%

Examples of School-Based Actions


  • increase/enhance utilization of Student Advocacy Counsellors
  • intentionally develop opportunities for adults and students to develop positive relationships
  • ensure that all students are greeted at the door of each classroom each morning
  • hire an Elder in Residence to interact with students through intentional invitations, open invitations, cultural activities and game/event interaction
  • schedule targeted and consistent mindfulness practices
  • support school clubs and events that bring adults and students together
  • partner with seniors in the community to form a club to build positive relationships
  • reduce staff stress by focusing on activities/strategies during staff meetings and appreciating staff in public and private ways
  • develop common understanding/language related to mental health and wellness with students, staff and parents
  • train all staff in Go-To-Educator
  • develop/evaluate consistent discipline procedures and expectations - define conflict versus bullying and teach skills to deal with both - implement school-wide Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) - utilize Zones of Regulation
  • schedule summative assessments to limit the number of tests per day or week
  • continue to develop Collaborative Response Model teams to ensure all staff are responsible for all students - build capacity with students and staff
  • provide training for staff including the Brain Architecture Game, Trauma Informed Practice, and Mental Health First Aid
  • plan for health classes to be focused on mental health, coping strategies/resilience and emotional intelligence
  • ensure that daily physical activity classes are purposeful and engaging for all students - increase movement breaks
  • host a parent night with Dwayne Peace, a parent social media and wellness night, family games nights
  • continue with the APPLE Schools program focused on strategies to reduce stress, including physical activity, nutritional eating, and mental wellness (positive self-talk, coping strategies, etc.)
  • organize recess ambassadors/supervisors with specific inclusion/prosocial behaviour development goals
  • provide hot lunches for all students via the Nutrition Program
  • host moral intelligence/character education assemblies
  • schedule all students to participate in the Headstrong Summit keynote address
  • continue to use Day Zero once per semester to fully cover a mental health topic for the whole school
  • use Successful Families, Successful Kids for universal supports - schedule nine classroom visits plus one PD Tuesday
  • weave moral intelligence into the school day through daily announcements, assemblies and celebrations
  • utilize and continue to build a continuum of supports for identify Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 wellness supports for students socially and emotionally
  • focus on a series of Executive Functioning (EF) skills
  • provide teacher PD to develop knowledge and understanding of Indigenous holistic mental health
  • schedule Student Voice meetings to seek student input and feedback


  • utilize a therapy/wellness dog to interact with students
  • work with Big Brothers Big Sisters to support mentorship opportunities for students
  • connect identified students with adults in the school to build relationships
  • support groups such as Salvaging Sisterhood, Girls Talk, the Ophelia Project, Kids Are Worth It, Roots of Empathy and RAISE Boys
  • support sessions by outside agencies such as Who Do You Tell, Health Relationships and Right Choices
  • focus on a growth mindset through PD, book study, and/or online courses for staff, students and parents
  • schedule Social Literacy 25 and 35 courses for high school students
  • review and evaluate Pyramid of Interventions to ensure alignment with reality
  • continue with Community BUDDY groups
  • support a Wellness Room that provides an alternative space for all students and staff to sue for small group or whole class lessons
  • implement the Build Our Kids Success program for students who require 15-20 minutes of gym exercise in the morning
  • organize Peace Patrol in connection with Peace Officers to provide Grade 4 students the opportunity to be trained as helpers for outside recess
  • provide an open and safe environment to talk about the state of mental health, sexual identity and anxiety
  • support Military Family Resource Center (MFRC) programming that is run in conjunction with the Student Advocacy Counsellor
  • create/maintain a sensory room
  • increase teacher supervision during student and data identified hot spots
  • build sense of belonging opportunities for at-risk youth
  • schedule every new student for a Minute Meeting with the Student Advocacy Counsellor to collect data on how each student is doing


  • arrange staff training in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention
  • create visual safety plans for identified students
  • provide art therapy for students
  • schedule Student Advocacy Counsellors to support individual students
  • enhance relationships with external agencies by having staff members attend interagency meetings
  • enhance Community Helpers program
  • schedule seminars for students as well as two retreat afternoons where they will be taught emotional regulation and interpersonal skills
  • improve referral process to outside agencies