In 2012, the Mental Health Commission of Canada recognized child and youth mental health as a priority for transforming the Canadian mental health system. Since then, British Columbia has taken the lead in incorporating social and emotional development skills and basic mental health literacy in the classroom.
This 2017 paper explores the extent that BC has gone to promote mental well-being and the prevention of mental illnesses in schools, emphasizing skills such as self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship management, and responsible decision-making. The researchers found that participation in school based social-emotional learning (SEL) programs resulted in increased prosocial behaviour, decreased conduct problems, and improvements in academic performance. This complements earlier research which found that the prosocial benefits of a well-designed elementary SEL program were evident 12 to 15 years later.