Dear Schools, Community Youth Groups, and Sport Leagues,

As we all continue to support youth through the midst of COVID-19, Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region recognizes that school and community-based mental health education is more important than ever. As such, we are excited to invite your school or community group to schedule YouthSMART learning opportunities for your students and youth participants.

CMHA Calgary’s YouthSMART Initiative (Youth Supporting Mental Health and Resiliency Together) integrates mental health learning opportunities in local junior and senior high schools, as well as youth community groups. Operating for over a decade, and reaching close to 25,000 young people each year, YouthSMART provides mental health education, proven to generate an awareness of mental health topics, combat stigma, and encourage appropriate help seeking behaviours amongst Calgary and area youth.

YouthSMART is now offering our popular menu of mental health learning sessions and engagement opportunities for all Calgary and area schools, youth groups and sport leagues serving youth aged 12 – 24. All sessions are age-appropriate, interactive, and flexible between virtual delivery and in-person facilitation. *In-person speakers will maintain all current Alberta health orders and your school or organization’s prevention policies.

  • Stress Management and Healthy Coping  Understanding stress is foundational in maintaining personal health and wellness. This interactive learning session provides an overview of what the stress response is, and how it affects the body and mind. Youth will develop an awareness of their own particular stressors, and how to cope with stress in healthy ways. (45 – 90 minute workshop, offered to individual classes or groups)
  • Mental Health Awareness – This learning session breaks down common misconceptions surrounding mental health and mental illnesses and promotes a preventative approach to wellness. Youth gain a comprehensive introduction to stigma, the common warning signs for mental health concerns, and the resources available for help. (45 – 90 minute workshop, delivered to individual classes or groups)
  • Skills for Being There – There is no perfect formula for helping someone, but you can strengthen your supportive skills. This learning session outlines how youth might recognize if someone is in distress, while improving their listening, communication, and helping abilities. (45 – 90 minute workshop, delivered to individual classes or groups)
  • Suicide Prevention – This learning session provides a compassionate and informative discussion around preventing suicide, as it seeks to dispel myths, outline warning signs, and connect youth to professional resources. (45 – 90 minute workshop, delivered to individual classes or groups)
  • Community Helpers – Offered in partnership with Alberta Health Services, the Community Helpers training follows a peer support model, and understands that every community has natural helpers willing to support their peers in times of need. Through this training youth are able to build mental health equity in their community by understanding common mental health language, identifying levels of concern, connecting to resources, and utilizing appropriate self-care techniques. (Typically 8 – 10 hours of training, delivered to individual classes, groups or nominated youth)
  • Peer GatekeepersResearch shows that youth and emerging adults will most likely first discuss their personal issues with a peer. Having access to a well-trained and empathetic peer who appropriately supports their mental health may be crucial for young people, and their willingness to reach out and seek help. The Peer Gatekeepers training will offer a community-focused, peer support learning opportunity, specifically focused on individuals aged 16 and older. (Typically 18-20 hours of training, delivered to individual community groups or nominated youth)
  • SMART Leaders Challenge – A small group of identified youth mental health ambassadors or “SMART Leaders” work together, with your assistance to plan awareness activities or campaigns unique to their own school or community. SMART Leaders are provided with toolkits, as well as personalized support from qualified CMHA staff to help them create fun, engaging campaigns to bring the mental health and anti-stigma message to their peers. (Ongoing, participating groups work at their own pace)

YouthSMART learning opportunities are available, free of cost to all local schools and youth groups serving young people aged 12 – 24. Groups may book multiple sessions, however capacity is limited, and bookings are confirmed on a first come, first served basis. Please contact us by e-mail at if you have any questions, or to schedule opportunities for your classroom, youth group, or sport league. YouthSMART looks forward to working with your group in person or virtually this year!

Discovery College

Using an educational-based approach, Discovery College offers courses to help young people recognize and develop their own resourcefulness and awareness in order to support themselves in their own mental wellness. The courses and content have been built, imagined and lead by our young people!

If you are between the ages of 16 and 24 come join us to discover the meaning and purpose in your journey. It’s an opportunity to really delve into who you are, what you want out of life and the possibilities available to you because of all the hidden qualities you possess. Discovery College is about learning from each other, sharing experiences and ideas and exploring your own interests and potential outside the limits of mental health.

Join a relaxed environment where everyone is equal and there are no “rights” or “wrongs”. Participate in groups with others who will listen without judgement, offer support in who you are as a person, and learn what actually works to help you stay healthy and be the best version of who you are meant to be.

Take action and learn to become an expert in your own wellbeing today! Click here to register for a course today!

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