As part of their participation, each pilot district identified one person to act as the Community Liaison for the WellAhead process, who in turn was encouraged to identify a local implementation team to support them. Having a team of people work together, discuss ideas and share the responsibility for this work was a key success factor in moving the wellbeing agenda forward. In particular, our experience this past year showed the most successful teams had two key members:
- One person with time specifically dedicated to this work or a role focused on promoting wellbeing in schools (e.g. a healthy schools coordinator) is key to curating the work – connecting the dots between activities, organizing meetings and events, and asking evaluative and reflective questions throughout.
- An actively engaged administrator or district senior leader was also an important part of the team. This role can help ensure that the wellbeing effort fits into district-wide plans, language, and budgets.They can also maintain the initiative as a standing agenda item in district-level meetings. Without this role, school-level efforts were not adequately connected to district-level priorities and conversations.
This finding is consistent with evidence from the field, which suggests that an implementation team is core to success of a school-based mental health initiative.1
Short, K (2016). Intentional, explicit, systematic: Implementation and scale-up of effective practices for supporting student mental well-being in Ontario schools. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 18(1). Pp-33-48