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Mental health promotion: Guidelines

Best practice guidelines for mental health promotion programs

Children (7–12) and youth (13–19)

The updated 2014 Best Practice Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion Programs: Children and Youth provides support and best practice advice for health and social services professionals who work with at-risk youth, families and whole communities to promote mental health. The guidelines underscore the fundamental importance of positive mental health in addressing many of the challenges that face at-risk youth. Mental health promotion plays an important role in prevention, treatment and recovery.

This online resource is part of a series of guides to promoting positive mental health developed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and Toronto Public Health.

The resource includes:

  • Background: it explains how children are defined in this document, and explores the determinants of mental health, as well as behavioural and contextual factors that influence children's mental health and social well-being.
  • Theory: It provides context for mental health promotion through definitions and underlying concepts, with a focus on promoting resilience.
  • Guidelines: it identifies the 10 best practice guidelines for mental health promotion interventions with children and youth.
  • Examples: It offers an expanded roster of examples of mental health programs that incorporate good practice.
  • Resources: it provides a worksheet that service providers can use to identify which guidelines can be implemented within new or existing initiatives for children and youth. It also provides a completed sample worksheet that shows how to use the guide as a planning tool.

Older adults 55+

Best Practice Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion Programs: Older Adults 55+ is the second in a series of guides about promoting positive mental health across the lifespan. It outlines current evidence-based approaches in applying mental health promotion concepts and principles for older adults. The guide helps service providers, caregivers and others involved in developing programs to incorporate best practice approaches to mental health promotion initiatives for older adults.

The guide is also available in French (PDF only).


Best Practice Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion Programs: Refugees is the third in a series of online resources about promoting positive mental health. It describes current evidence-based approaches in applying mental health promotion concepts and principles for refugees. The guide helps health and social service providers and others involved in developing programs to incorporate best practice approaches to mental health promotion initiatives for refugees.


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