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HEADSTRONG

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What is HEADSTRONG?

HEADSTRONG is a youth leadership initiative to champion mental wellness. Focusing on resilience, recovery, and positive social action, its summits and youth-led school clubs are designed to encourage continual change. HEADSTRONG’s mission is to equip and inspire young people to Be Brave, Reach Out, and Speak Up about mental health.

HEADSTRONG is evidence-based, easy to implement, and well-supported by the MHCC team. It’s a perfect choice for schools and communities seeking an effective way to support mental wellness for students without creating additional workload for school staff.

Why HEADSTRONG?

Young people listen to each other and frequently turn to their friends before approaching an adult for help. Students are inspired when they feel they can have a positive impact on other people’s lives, whether that’s through social action or helping a friend find appropriate help. HEADSTRONG gives youth the tools, skills, and confidence to

  • recognize when and who to ask for help
  • understand what stigma is and how to challenge it
  • teach others about mental wellness
  • know that recovery from mental health problems is expected
  • appreciate that mental health is health.

HEADSTRONG summits

Each HEADSTRONG summit is an experiential learning opportunity involving groups of students from various schools. Summits are designed to challenge stereotypical thinking and inspire youth leadership through activities, real-life recovery stories, discussions, and action planning.

Following a summit, students are encouraged to implement their action plans in their own schools and communities by starting their own HEADSTRONG clubs.

Virtual HEADSTRONG summits

In light of COVID-19 health concerns, we have developed a new virtual format for students, which is accessible both in the classroom and at home. As far as possible, virtual HEADSTRONG summits bring the same level of energy and interaction as the traditional, in-person experience.

Watch our overview of virtual HEADSTRONG summits!

Led by Emcees with specific training in virtual communication, the one-week summits are split into three 75-minute modules that align with the HEADSTRONG motto and include a follow-up session two to six weeks after completion:

  • Module 1 (Be Brave) — Introduces HEADSTRONG, the mental health continuum, and supporting mental health in your school and community
  • Module 2 (Reach out) — Looks at the effects of stigma and how to make positive changes
  • Module 3 (Speak Up) — Fosters planning mental health activities and the importance of youth leadership
  • Follow-up session — A check-in that lets students share the results of their activities and plans for upcoming events

To host a Virtual HEADSTRONG Summit in your community …

For more information, contact us at headstrong@mentalhealthcommission.ca.

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