May 7th in Schools

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Each year, the Institute of Families (Doing Business as the F.O.R.C.E in BC), dedicates its efforts on May 7th, Child and Youth Mental Health day, to help foster well-being and caring, connected, relationships between young people and caring adults. This year marks the Ten Year Anniversary of that commitment!

In the largest survey of BC’s young people aged 13-17 in 2013, results showed who young people are turning to talk to about their mental health. The highest rank was 73% who turn to their friends, and the second highest was was 69% who turn to their families.

Caring, Connected Relationships are a BIG DEAL to young people AND, it impacts their mental health.

At a youth mental health event in 2016, we asked high school students “How do you want adults to talk to you about your mental health? What do you want them TO SAY and DON’T SAY?” Over 400 students from grades 8-12 wrote down how they would like to be spoken to, and not spoken to when talking about their mental health. Using their words, we have created a resource we are calling the “The Unfolding Conversation” (youth version) and with feedback from children in previous years, we create “The Unfolding Conversation” (children’s version).

Here is what they told us to 'Say' - click here

and here is what they told us 'Don't Say' - click here

Youth told us what they want adults to SAY and DON’T SAY to them.  You can start an unfolding conversation in your school too! It’s easy to do and can be done anywhere; the cafeteria, a classroom, in the gym, or halls. 

"The Unfolding Conversation" - (youth version) 

Don't say graphic

Talking to young people about their mental health matters but it can be hard for adults to know what to say. “The Unfolding Conversation” is intended to help build Caring, Connected Relationships between young people and caring adults. It is a comic graphic available online and in print.

We encourage schools and community organizations to participate in this activity by following  4 easy steps.


Say graphic

Click here to download instructions 

Click here to download 'The Unfolding Conversation' - Don't Say - youth version template

Click here to download 'The Unfolding Conversation' - Say - youth version template



This is an example of how you can start your conversation in school:

Sample for schools communities of youth conversation






 The Unfolding Conversation - Children’s Version

This classroom resource for elementary aged students comes with a lesson plan for teachers, a template for the children’s version of ‘The Unfolding Conversation’  as well as an information sheet for parents/caregivers. 

Unfolding Conversations children's version template


Click here to download "The Unfolding Conversation" (children's version) template

Click here to download “The Unfolding Conversation” (Children’s Version) Lesson Plan for Teachers

Click here to download “The Unfolding Conversation” (Children’s Version) Explanation for Parents and Caregivers





Your contribution will help ensure that the voice of families is heard.