The Issue

Social and emotional wellbeing in childhood and youth is proven to support positive mental health, improve academic performance and contribute to favourable life outcomes. Given the amount of time young people spend in school, this setting presents a unique opportunity to support and promote wellbeing. And yet, in Canada, our education system does not consistently recognize social and emotional wellbeing as a core part of its role.

Why focus on social and emotional wellbeing in schools?

Schools are the #1 setting to promote wellbeing among children and youth.

An emphasis on social and emotional wellbeing during school hours leads to an 11 percentage-point improvement in academic performance.

Investing in student wellbeing reduces the incidence of bullying, violence, conduct disorders, anxiety, depression and suicide.

Our Focus

WellAhead is a philanthropic initiative that aims to improve child and youth mental health by integrating social and emotional wellbeing into K-12 education. We believe that all young people deserve to be in school environments that support their wellbeing. For that to happen, we need to move beyond one-off efforts: all teachers and schools need to have the capacity and conditions to take on this role in a sustainable fashion. We also need to take a whole-school approach that promotes the wellbeing of students, teachers and staff.

WellAhead is focused on long-term change – shifting culture, structures, priorities, and practices of schools and the education system at-large to better incorporate social and emotional wellbeing as a key role. As a philanthropic initiative, we act as catalyst, enabler and supporter – working with existing organizations, stakeholders and leaders to enhance their impact.

Integration of wellbeing into K-12 education means that:

Educators have the knowledge, capacity and time to promote wellbeing in their daily practice.

The school environment and culture is supportive of student and staff wellbeing.

Wellbeing is a priority, with sufficient financial and human resources to back it up.

Wellbeing is reflected in policy, resource flows, curriculum, and measurement frameworks.

Multiple stakeholders are aligned around a shared vision for wellbeing in K-12 education.