Public Awareness and Outreach

AMI-Québec is committed to educating parents, teachers, students and the community about early detection in order to avert the devastation that long-term mental illness can cause.

Our free public awareness and outreach program offers a wide range of presentations in various settings, including schools, universities, workplaces, and community organizations. A trained presenter opens the session by explaining the different major mental health issues, including a description of mental illnesses, warning signs, and coping strategies. The presenter will then introduce a volunteer speaker to share his/her personal story on how they overcame their struggles with mental illness in themselves or in a loved one. A question and answer period follows.

Many mental health issues begin in adolescence. When students learn about mental health issues, they are more aware of warning signs in themselves or in their friends. Mental health problems can interfere with a student’s behaviour and performance. Often such problems go unrecognized, leading to a downward spiral in the student’s academic and social success. Students may become aggressive, suicidal or start using drugs or alcohol in an effort to cope. If caught early, these problems need not develop into lifelong patterns or interrupt a student’s life.

To discuss an existing request, or for other inquiries, you can email or call 514-486-1448. 

In Québec, it is estimated that 3% of 13 to 19 year olds suffer from clinical depression and that only 30% receive treatment. Those with undiagnosed and untreated mental illness often grow up to be adults with even more severe and persistent disorders. The best hope for children at risk for serious mental illness lies in early detection, and this should be possible during childhood – the most intensely watched developmental period in life.

AMI-Québec has collaborated with over 70 high schools, CEGEPS, universities, and community organizations in Montreal to demystify mental illness and sensitize students to its causes and triggers.

“I thought it was very brave of her to come to the classroom and share her story with the class…”
– Student, grade 8, Hudson High School

While our presentations take place mainly on the island of Montreal, we can also present over Skype to schools and organizations across Quebec.

If you are now productively managing your illness or that of your family member and would like to share your story of recovery as part of our presentations, please email or call 514-486-1448. An interview and training will be required.

AMI-Québec has written brochures that are geared specifically for teens and a limited supply are distributed to students during presentations. The brochures can be downloaded here:

Anxiety Disorders
Bipolar Disorder
Eating Disorders
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Below are links for those interested in introducing their own educational programs in high schools:

Teach Resiliency
Breaking the Silence – A Teaching Package for Health Educators with Cross-Curricular Activities in High Schools

Children and Youth Mental Health

There is growing awareness in our society for the need to make the mental health of children and youth a priority. In the past, teachers and schools were viewed as primarily focused on academic development. In a new paradigm shift presented here, a school-based mental health approach recognizes the need for both specialized mental health services for some students and universal services provided in a consultative, collaborative and complementary manner. The latter is especially important given students spend most of their youth in a school setting and not in treatment programs. A school-based mental health approach further maintains that by promoting positive school climate and implementing school-wide programs fostering students’ resilience, coping skills, empathy, compassion, acceptance, self-regulation, and more, mental health problems can be significantly mitigated.

With this view, the first School-Based Mental Health Conference was held in Montreal on March 31, 2017. AMI-Quebec was a partner in the articulation of the vision, objectives and delivery of the conference. Click HERE to see summaries of the proceedings.

FRIENDS for Life

FRIENDS for Life is a resilience-building program that helps to prevent anxiety and depression in children and youth. Developed in Australia and evaluated extensively for more than ten years, the program teaches cognitive, behavioural, and emotional skills and enhances self-esteem and the ability to cope with feelings of fear, worry, depression and anxiety. With a rate of 15% of preschoolers who manifest atypically high levels of depression and anxiety (Sylvana M. Coté, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, September 2009), FRIENDS for Life serves as a wake up call and a potentially important response.

AMI–Québec introduced the program in Québec through a collaboration with the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and the East-Island Network for English-Language Services (REISA). Since 2010 FRIENDS has been introduced in a number of schools in Montréal and surrounding regions and has been well received by teachers, parents, and the children themselves.

Click HERE for more information on the FRIENDS program and how to bring it to your school.