terms of both psychological and academic outcomes. Growing numbers of students are placed “at risk” as a result. A mental health promotion approach suggests that students can develop a number of skills and competencies, namely those related to social-emotional learning (SEL), which can reduce their chance of developing mental health difficulties. In Canada, a wide range of curricula, frameworks, initiatives, and programs have been put in place that address elements of SEL. In this paper, a sampling of these drawn from across the country is described. The emphasis on SEL apparent in many provinces and territories is evidence of the shared understanding of its importance with respect to improving student outcomes. However, a lack of evidence to support these approaches, inconsistencies in terms of terminology and practices, the lack of alignment between SEL and academics, and the piecemeal approach adopted within some provinces leave SEL and mental health promotion approaches vulnerable to being labelled “add-ons” and becoming transient initiatives.
Whitley, J., & Gooderham, S. (2015) Mental Health Promotion Efforts for Children and Youth in Canada and Beyond: Evidence in Research, Policy and Practice. Exceptionality Education International, 25, 91-111. Retrieved from http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/eei/vol25/iss1/5