Collecting Consent! You will need the formal consent of parents of youth who are interested in participating as Youth Leads. See the the YMHAC Initiative Parental Consent Form. Also, check with your participating school board for consent requirements and possible documentation materials.
Here are some useful considerations to help you plan a training session.
- Where will the event take place?
- When will the event take place? Is this a busy time for students and staff?
- Will the training include multiple schools within a school board? If so, where will the training session be held?
- How are participants going to get to the training if not hosted within their schools, and is the space accessible?
- Will you require any audio visual equipment?
- What materials do you need to prepare and/or purchase?
- Do participants need to be provided meals? If so, where will this be purchased and are there dietary restrictions?
- What are the overall costs of the training?
For help identifying an ideal venue location, see Hosting a Workshop at Your Site.
Tips for Recruiting Youth!
- Engage with a variety of school staff including principals and guidance counselors to identify Youth Leads. Remember to include not just those students with clear leadership skills, but also those who might be experiencing challenges connecting with others, or who are high risk for mental health illness and substance use issues, and could benefit from participating in the unique training of the YMHAC Initiative.
- Use opportunities such as morning announcements to draw attention to the YMHAC Initiative and request youth participation.
- School fairs or lunch periods can also be used as opportunities to draw attention and recruit youth. Use this time to set up a powerpoint, booth, or poster board and collect names of those who have expressed interest.
Implement A Psychological Safety Plan
Given that mental health and mental illness can be a sensitive topic, organizers need to consider how to support the psychological safety of student and adult participants. The YMHAC Initiative recommends developing a Psychological Safety Plan that entails appointing an Adult Safety Lead and a Student Safety Lead, along with key intervention steps to support youth who experience psychological distress during YMHAC training. Additional safety considerations include:
- Flagging sensitive topics;
- Establishing a relaxation space or “chill zone” for students who may be triggered by content;
- Enlisting the support of a school board mental health professional to participate in the Champions training/workshop as well as offer counselling support if the need arises;
- Allowing students to opt out of participating in various activities. Check out the Psychological Safety Plan;
- Be aware of locally based resources for support, including calling them to notify them of the training; and
- Be aware of provincially based resources, such as Connexx Ontario, and including resources on all documents.