School health in action:
This is the story of a French mental health app made here in Alberta. It's a tale of listening, learning, and innovating together.
Here's how the story unfolds:
- In 2018, staff with Conseil Scolaire FrancoSud's mental health capacity building initiative (Programme Project Appartenance (PPA)) began to track common questions they were getting on mental health. They found that students, parents and caregivers, and school staff often had trouble finding mental health information, resources, and services in French. PPA staff began to nurture the idea of developing a French language mental health app.
- The PPA team held focus groups with high school students, staff, and family members. Participants shared ideas for topics to address on the app and brainstormed designs for tabs, functions, and icons.
- PPA staff reached out to community partners to gather accurate information for the app. They identified French language help lines (like phone-based and texting services) and collaborated with French service providers to draft and review content. For example, Le Portail de l'Immigration Association put together content on cultural diversity.
L'application mobile PPA - Santé Mentale launched in spring, 2021. For the first time, French mental health information, resources, and services were all in one place.
Get the PPA app for free on Google Play. Scroll and tap your way through it—you'll find that it covers mental health in a positive, supportive, and straightforward way. Here are some of the topics:
- Cultural diversity
- Emotional wellbeing, including stress, relationships, and sexual diversity and inclusion
- Human relations, including bullying and conflict resolution
- Life challenges, like grieving, divorce, and separation
- Personal safety, including consent
- Substance use and addiction
The app includes a directory of emergency phone numbers and crisis support services available in French (or with the support of a French interpreter). It also has a unique journaling feature where people can store photos and videos about their daily activities and how they're feeling. Some students use it to log their homework, while others use it to track goals, reflect on emotions, or get creative.
There's more in store for PPA.
Looking to the future, PPA staff plan to explore how people are using the app. Anecdotally, they know that teens use it differently than adults do. They want to be sure that any updates or changes to the app are based on feedback from app users, and are relevant and meaningful to teens.
Learn more about this story
- Santé mentale: Programme Projet Appartenance
For more information and tips to take action, go to: