Skip to main content
Home » Insights » Youth Empowerment »’s a Safe Space for Youth to Learn Mental Health Essentials
Youth Empowerment’s a Safe Space for Youth to Learn Mental Health Essentials

Sponsored by:
Sponsored by:

Liv Miller

Chapter Program Coordinator,

For educators struggling with how to teach their students about mental health, is a valuable and empowering resource.

Adolescence is often a stressful and confusing time of life. As young people transition to adulthood, they are making critical education and career decisions, balancing their busy work, school, and social lives – sometimes putting their mental health on the backburner to do so. Today, more young people than ever before are experiencing mental health challenges, but it’s estimated that only one in five young people who need mental health support will receive it.

Young people in mental distress may not know where to turn for help—or be afraid to ask for it, fearing stigma, shame, or embarrassment. Educators can play a critical role in helping them know where to turn for support, but many don’t know how to start the conversation.

Youth voice is at the centre

A good place to start is, one of Canada’s leading charities dedicated to preventing youth mental distress. Through its 160+ chapters in schools, universities, and other community groups across Canada, delivers education and hosts activities to help create a sense of belonging, raise awareness, and break mental health stigmas.

What differentiates is its peer-to-peer approach, based on the knowledge that young people are more likely to actively listen and relate to the experiences of youth. “They are far more receptive to hearing from their peers than adults because of their lived experience,” says Susan Doerfling, a former high school teacher and Learning Resources Lead at “Many teachers didn’t grow up with the internet, let alone social media, so it is impossible for them to fully understand the youth experience, despite their best intentions and efforts,” she says. 

Liv Miller, who joined last year as Program Coordinator for the Chapters Program, first connected with the organization as a student three years ago, and later became a volunteer. “I was really passionate about learning how we can teach young adults the skills they need to take care of themselves before they are in a mental health crisis and was having those conversations,” she says. “One of the things that makes Jack’s programming so unique is that the adults on staff support youth to make the decisions and calls by giving them the resources to make changes,” says Miller.

Besides providing youth a safe space to talk about their mental health, also empowers young people to become leaders in their communities and in mental health through a range of skill-building opportunities, such as presentation and facilitation training and mentorship, skills young people can take forward into their careers, as Miller did.

Resources to support educators helps educators bring mental health promotion programming to their classrooms through its award-winning free resource library EdHub. Built on evidence-based work, and designed for easy, day-to-day use by educators, the edHub provides activities, lessons, and a unit plan that aligns with different school curriculum guidelines across Canada to help meet the mental health needs of students. Its aim is to give young people the tools they need to succeed and build mentally healthy lives. The Hub recently added new resources for teachers. which include videos, activities, assessment opportunities, and guidance on how to have safe discussions about mental health.

Interested in learning to support someone in your life? “The Be There Certificate, a free, digital, self-paced learning experience, is a really awesome place to start,” suggests Miller. Doerfling agrees, adding, “it is such a comprehensive resource that is also fun to do.”

Ready to bring mental health education to your students? Check out the edHub and to learn more.
Next article