Saltfleet Taco Bout Mental Well-Being

Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2017

Target Age/Grades: 9-12


  1. Reframe mental health into positive mental well-being that is applicable to all.
  2. Encourage further student voice and engagement.
  3. Involve school community.
  4. Build on mental well-being initiatives already occurring at the school and plan for sustainability.
  5. Reduce stigma.
  6. Inclusivity – everyone benefits from stress management strategies, including those who may have been diagnosed with a mental illness.


Saltfleet District High School was very thankful to receive a 2016 grant from the Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton to run this initiative.  The Senior Health Action Team (HAT) leaders and an adult ally completed three separate focus groups in May 2016 – 35 students, 70 school staff and 6 parents.

Focus group Questions:

1. What do you think mental well-being is?
2. What impacts a student’s mental well-being?
3. How can we address mental well-being at our school?

Results were transcribed and collated by the Public Health Nurse.
A June meeting took place with the principal, chair of parent council, the mental health and well-being school liaison rep, and Public Health Nurse to review the results and develop next steps.

TACO BOUT Mental Well-being Follow-up 2016-2017

The themes that emerged from the focus groups were clear – opportunities to build skills in managing stress were needed.  These would include setting a positive climate as well as introducing strategies that each one of us could bring into our everyday lives.

In October, Saltfleet School Council in partnership with Saltfleet’s Health Action Team (HAT), hosted a parent evening event led by Psychology Foundation of Canada trainer Anne Murray.  The topic, “Helping Young People Thrive in a Stressed out World”, was funded through the Ministry of Education Parent Speaking Out Grant.

In researching how best to engage the student body, HAT chose to offer activities based on Public Health Services “The 5 ways to Mental Well-Being” strategy – CONNECT, LEARN, Be ACTIVE, NOTICE and GIVE BACK.  And they timed it to fit with the National Mental Health Awareness Week (May 1-5, 2017) during lunch period.  These 5 ways incorporated suggestions that came from the focus groups – spread positivity, have events that are inclusive and school wide, and that lead to the development of coping strategies.

The following events were offered:


  • Hang out with HAT, Play Giant Jenga, join others for cards or colour mindfully.


  • Take the quiz “How Stressed are You?” Join us for managing stress BINGO.
  • Participants received a student chosen cookie with an inspirational quote.
  • Time management tips were available.


  • Elephant ball in the gym (had to be cancelled last minute).


  • Join HAT for Tea and sandwiches at the HAT Café.


  • Support kindness and inclusion by signing the Saltfleet banner “WE ARE ONE”. Participants received a stress ball key chain.
  • Students who participated in any of the events were asked to complete a brief evaluation (169 evaluations were completed).  The results were overwhelmingly positive and students requested that these events be repeated.

HAT plans for 2017/2018:

  1. HAT will offer regular lunch time opportunities for students to connect with others, play cards or games, colour or hang out.
  2. HAT will explore ways to incorporate motivational quotes more often.
  3. Several students expressed interest in joining HAT.
  4. HAT will partner with student parliament in a more formal way to ensure these events are available at both lunches.
  5. HAT will explore BE ACTIVE possibilities.
  6. HAT will continue to look for funding sources to sustain mental well-being schoolwide events.

HAT is very thankful to the SPCCH for funds to support these initiatives, Mr. Paul Machado, Head of Humanities, for being a key partner in preparing foods for the events, Mrs. Deb Erikkla’s tech class who took pictures of the events and as always for the support from the school administrative team.

For more information contact:

Mariane Susi – msusi@hwdsb.on.ca

Lino Scoccia – LSCOCCHI@hwdsb.on.ca









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