Young male teacher with student at desk

A guide to the top healthy schools resources.

Healthy schools

Ensuring schools are healthy centres of learning and child development requires focus on the whole school: students’ mental and physical health, staff wellness, healthy school environments, infection control, immunizations, student nutrition and exercise, allergies, health conditions in the classroom, and more.

  • Healthy Schools BC
    Healthy Schools BC is a partnership between the Ministries of Health and Education, the Directorate of Agencies for School Health B.C. (DASH BC), health authorities and education partners. It offers a wide variety of resources – from assessments to teaching frameworks, policies, guides, reports and grant information to help educators create healthy schools.
  • Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health
    The consortium offers educators a variety of toolkits and resources for planning healthy schools, ensuring student positive mental health, classroom substance use education, youth engagement in schools and more.
  • BC Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH)
    This non-profit society offers healthy school programs and networks, learning modules, symposiums, research and reports on healthy schools and hosts community events.
  • Safe Schools
    B.C. Ministry of Education information on fostering safe, caring and orderly schools, where students display socially responsible behaviour.
  • Healthy Fundraising for Schools
    A guide to hosting school fundraisers and organizing healthy events that don’t rely on sales of junk food or sugary beverages and incorporate healthy activity challenges.
  • Healthy Living Grants for Schools
    Details about applying for a Healthy Living Grant, a Healthy Schools Network Grant or other community grants to help make your school health project a reality.
  • Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in B.C. Schools
    Defines the nutrition standard that schools are required to apply to all food  and beverages sold to students in schools. The guidelines also apply to all school meal programs, including those offered free of charge or sold at subsidized rate.
  • British Columbia Anaphylactic and Child Safety Framework
    A guide outlining schools’ required anaphylaxis response (treatment and prevention of severe allergies) in schools.

Healthy eating

  • Health Eating at School
    This program is a partnership between the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Dairy Association which aims to encourage healthy eating at school, with a one-stop shop approach to resources.
  • BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation
    This organization works with educators to bring knowledge and experience of B.C.’s agriculture to students, and administers several hands-on programs.
  • BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program
    This program provides fresh, B.C. grown fruits and vegetables to students in over 1,400 public and First Nations schools.
  • Farm to School Program
    This school-based program connects schools and local farms, with a goal to ensure children learn about food and have access to fresh, local, and nutritious foods while at school.
  • Action Schools! BC
    A provincial physical activity and healthy eating program. It is aligned with the B.C. education curriculum to support elementary students from kindergarten to grade seven learn about and adopt healthier lifestyles.

Physical activity

Over half of Canadian children and youth are not active enough for optimal growth and development. The rapid increase in obesity among youth, combined with low levels of physical activity, threaten the health and development of children and youth. Guides to get active:

  • Health and Physical Activity Tools for Teachers
    All students from K to 12 are required to participate in regular physical activities that help develop endurance, strength and flexibility.
  • Physical Health and Education Canada
    This organization advocates for quality physical and health education programs to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills to lead physically active and healthy lives. They offer conferences, forums, curriculum resources and guidelines for establishing recreation programs.
  • Action Schools! BC
    A provincial physical activity and healthy eating program. It is aligned with the B.C. education curriculum to support elementary students from kindergarten to grade seven learn about and adopt healthier lifestyles.

Substance use

Mental health and wellness

Child and youth mental health services are offered throughout B.C. by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). This includes a wide range of community-based specialized mental health services for mentally ill children, youth, and their families. Here are some key resources:

  • Ministry of Child and Family Development Child and Teen Mental Health Resources
    Information on the FRIENDS program designed to prevent anxiety in young children, guides on dealing with teen depression, access suicide prevention advice and many other resources.
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Public Education
    The CAMH offers public education resources and online modules for the public and for teachers and schools to help raise awareness of mental health and addictions and break down stigma.
  • Foundry
    Foundry offers health and wellness resources, services and supports for young people ages 12-24 across B.C.
  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre
    This provincial resource centre offers parents, youth and educator resources on a host of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, mood disorders and substance use, plus a sister site dedicated to eating disorders and cross-cultural resources.
  • WellAhead
    WellAhead is a philanthropic initiative that aims to improve child and youth mental health by integrating social and emotional wellbeing into K-12 education.
  • Positive Mental Health Toolkit from the Joint Consortium for School Health (JCSH)
    This toolkit has been designed to promote positive mental health practices and perspectives within the school environment using a comprehensive school health approach. The Toolkit is divided into a series of online modules, presenting information and materials that are manageable and user friendly.
  • Social & Emotional Learning Resource Finder from UBC
    The Social & Emotional Learning Resource Finder provides a variety of resources to educators learn about social and emotional learning, apply teaching methods and asses efforts
  • Bringing Mental Health to Schools
    A self-guided, fully online, classroom ready, modular mental health curriculum resource. In this course, educators will learn how to apply this classroom-ready, web-based, modular mental health curriculum resource (the Guide) as well as upgrade their own mental health literacy. Educators can then use this curriculum resource in their schools to successfully address mental health related curriculum outcomes designed to be delivered by usual classroom teachers to students in grades 7 – 12.

Sexual health

Sex and sexuality can be challenging issues for teenagers and students. Guidance and accurate information from trusted adults can help ease their minds and encourage them to make good decisions about sex and their sexual health.

  • Fraser Health: Sexual health
    Our site has a wealth of information on sex education, sexuality and sexual health issues, including contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, sexual assault, and LGB2TQQ+ issues
  • Teaching Sexual Health
    A portal for teachers and parents developed by Alberta Health Services designed to ensure adults have the resources they need – including lesson plans and teaching tools – to be proactive and prepared when educating youth about sex.
  • Sex and U
    This is a youth-oriented site developed by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada designed to provide candid advice and information on topics including puberty, youth pregnancy, contraception and consent.
  • BC Children’s Hospital's sexual health toolkit
    This resource was developed for a youth audience and has easy-to-understand information on changes in puberty, sexual health services and information, fertility, contraception and more.
  • Options for Sexual Health
    Is a non-profit provider of sexual health services in B.C. with a 1-800 number, and a website with information on sexuality and sensuality, decision-making, intimacy and relationships, and information on their sexual health services.
  • Smart Sex Resource
    This B.C. Centre for Disease Control resource has detailed information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual health tests, safer sex and advice for talking about sex with partners.
  • Say Something BC
    This is a BC Government web resource with details on getting help after a sexual assault, advice on speaking out against sexual assault and resources for advocacy efforts.
  • Transgender Health Information Program
    The Provincial Health Services Authority’s web resource has information on health care services designed for transgendered people in B.C. as well as information about what it means to be transgendered and on transition processes, plus links to support groups and events.

Helpful numbers

The following crisis and information lines offer help for teachers and school administrators who need immediate advice on emergency student health issues, or need to refer a student or family in crisis.

  • Suicide crisis line: 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433
  • Fraser Health Crisis Line: 1-877-820-7444 or 604-951-8855
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • Mental Health Support Line: 604-310-6789
  • Here to Help BC Mental Health Info Line: 604-669-7600
  • Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service: 1-800-663-1441 or 604-660-9382
  • QMUNITY Queer Resource Centre: 1-800-566-1170 or 604-872-3311
  • Vancouver Rape Relief Crisis Line: 604-872-8212
  • Options for Sexual Health Sex Sense Line: 1-800-SEX-SENSE or 1-800-739-7367
  • Youth Against Violence Line: 1-800-680-4264
  • HealthLink BC: 8-1-1
  • Report child abuse or neglect: 604-310-1234