Promoting youth mental health through the transition from high school - Literature review and environmental scan


Youth mental health is rapidly emerging as a public policy priority in Canada. Schools are increasingly seen as a key influence on young people’s mental health, and an important venue for delivering mental health services, both at the post-secondary level and in grades k-12. Several recent policy documents identify developmental and educational transitions – such as when youths leave high school – as times of increased vulnerability to poor mental health.

To inform the design of a possible intervention, SRDC conducted a review of the research literature on school-based mental health and an environmental scan of existing programs promoting mental health for senior students as they transition from high school. This report describes related concepts and the academic literature on student mental health promotion, identifies relevant programs, and outlines what we consider to be important components of an intervention to support students through this transition. The ultimate aim of such an initiative would be to equip senior students with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to cope with, adapt to, and thrive in their next phase as emerging adults.

Future work will focus on developing the parameters and content of an intervention, in collaboration with key partners in the mental health and educational sectors.