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Mental Health and Well-being

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We Help logoMental health affects us all – and has real impacts on our lives. At HWDSB, we are committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of all students and staff. We embrace Public Health Canada’s definition of positive mental health as:

“the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and social well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.”

Tip sheets for supporting children and youth:

Get Help – Emergency

COAST Hamilton
Mental health crisis outreach and support for all ages.
Crisis Line (905) 972-8338; coasthamilton.ca

Kids Help Phone
24/7 counselling and information service for young people.
Crisis Line 1-800-668-6868; kidshelpphone.ca

McMaster Children’s Hospital: Child and Youth Mental Health Emergency Services (CHYMES)
McMaster Located within the emergency department for youth age 17 and younger.
1200 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L8N 3Z5

Call 911

Get Help – Non-Emergency


  • Children’s Aid Society – The CAS mandate is to protect children (age 18 and under) from physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect. (905) 522-1121 (intake)
  • Catholic Children’s Aid Society – The CCAS mandate is to protect children (age 18 and under) from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect. (905) 525-2012 (intake)
  • Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton (SACHA) – Crisis Line (905) 525-4162 sacha.ca


  • Notre Dame House – An emergency shelter for homeless or street- involved youth age 16-21. (905) 308-8090
  • Youth Reconnect – For youth age 13-19 at risk of homelessness or with a history of housing instability. 905-308-8090

Mental Health:

Sexual Health:

Drop-in Counselling:

  • Catholic Family Services – Various counselling, including walk-in and support programs available to the Hamilton community. (905) 527-3823; cfshw.com
  • Youth Wellness Centre (age 17+) – Drop in counselling Wednesdays 1-5:30 p.m. at Child and Adolescent Services, 100 Main Street East, Suite 220. Ask for Peter from the Youth Wellness Centre at Reception on Thursdays 8:30-11:30 a.m. at 38 James St. S., Hamilton.

Substance Misuse:

  • Alternatives for Youth – Free substance abuse counselling available to youth age 12-22, as well as their families. (905) 527-4469; ay.on.ca

Peer Support:

  • Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line – Free service provided for youth by youth. 1 (800) 268-9688; youthline.ca

Didn’t find what you were looking for?

You can also browse the Red Book, a directory of community services. (905) 528-8127 or 211; www.informationhamilton.ca/redbook

HWDSB Helps posterHWDSB Helps is a free and anonymous way for students to find help for themselves and one another. Tips may relate to student mental health, bullying, substance use and more. When students, staff and families help promote a positive school environment, schools are safer and more welcoming places. The service receives anonymous messages and shares the report with staff who follow existing Board and school protocols. This is not a crisis line or counselling service.

HWDSB Helps priority during COVID-19: HWDSB Helps remains an operational service. However, we are prioritizing concerns related to COVID-19’s impacts on school communities during our closure under Ministerial Order. If a concern relates to school matters generally, we will respond when school is back in session. Thank you for your understanding.

Get help or share anonymous tips using…

  • Text to 905-963-0066. Standard rates apply.

  • The HWDSB Helps app for iOS and Android.

  • Web chat
    In case of emergency, call 911.

If you have questions, please contact your school’s principal.

We Help.We want all students, staff and families to know how to find and offer help. We call this campaign to build a culture of help We Help.

Staff work hard to make schools safe, welcoming and accepting. Students may still be uncomfortable sharing concerns with adults. As part of We Help, students will learn how to recognize when someone is upset and how to find help.

Families may see We Help posters in HWDSB schools. We hope that families can help reinforce this work. If you have any questions or wish to learn more, please speak with your child’s teacher or principal.

We Help Posters

Letter to Families

We Help Parent Letter

Student Videos Tell us What Help Looks Like

Maryam’s story of everyday kindness

Fareeha’s story of having someone at your side

Media Release

Media Release_We Help 2018

What is We Help?

School Mental Health Assist – provincial implementation support team helping Ontario school boards promote student mental health and well-being.
Quick Facts for Parents about Mental Health – Ministry of Education overview for parents.
Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know
Support After Tragic Events
Advice on Online Hoaxes

This is a challenging and stressful time for students and families across our community. To help, HWDSB has developed a tip sheet for Supporting child and youth mental well-being during COVID-19. In addition, we have created a Student Mental Health Supports postcard that summarizes mental health supports in case of crisis, urgent or non-urgent incidents. Please share this information with those who can benefit from it.

The HWDSB Helps app continues to be active so that students or families can anonymously share non-urgent concerns through that service, which will share it with staff who can help. Also, School Mental Health Ontario has produced resources for How to support student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are an HWDSB staff member seeking support, please contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Lifeworks. Find more details are on the myHOME staff portal.

Events like the COVID-19 response can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Here are some tips to support our community:

  • Be patient with yourself and those close to you.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and get enough rest.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider taking a break from the news and social media.
  • Provide children with age-appropriate factual information.
  • Please reach out to the school if support is needed.


HWDSB staff can find resources to help support students by visiting the staff intranet We Help page.

Updated on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.
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