Partners for Life
Introduced in the late 1990s following a wave of youth suicides in Quebec, the Partners for Life program aims to prevent psychological distress in young people.
At the heart of this program are two presentations that were developed:
"Depression is reversible", the flagship animation of the program intended for secondary school students in grades 9 to 11 since 20 years now;
STILL IN THE DEVELOPMENT PHASE, our brand new pilot project which will promote good mental health among students in grades 7 and 8. Its deployment in schools will be gradual, starting in January 2019, in French only.
Developed by health experts and deployed since 1998, the Depression is reversible presentation raises awareness among teenagers aged 14 to 18, parents, teachers and professionals about adolescent depression. It aims to teach students how to identify the signs and symptoms of depression in adolescence and to refer a person in distress to the appropriate resources in the community.
Available free of charge in French and English - everywhere in Quebec and in the Ottawa region – this presentation is delivered by duos of facilitators who visit five schools a day. Each year, our team meets nearly 48,500 adults and teenagers.
The presentation’s objectives:
- Raise awareness about mental health and break taboos
- Teach how to identify the signs and symptoms of depression during adolescence
- Identify ways to have good mental health
- Raise awareness about the importance of speaking up and not being alone
- Provide tools to use when needed and inform about the available community resources
The presentation in 10 key points:
- Interactive presentations using humour and visualization
- Provincial tour of high schools (secondaries 3 to 5, adult education centres and vocational training centres)
- Free program
- French and English
- Duration of 50 to 75 minutes
- Content developed and validated by experts
- Youth-focused approach
- 10 young, dynamic and empathetic facilitators, handpicked and trained for five weeks
- Focus on community resources
- Distribution of checklists and awareness-raising materials
An approved and recognized program:
- Two studies conducted in the year 2000 by Dr. Richard Boyer of the Centre de Recherche de L’institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal demonstrated that the program helped to significantly increase knowledge about depression among youth, and change their attitude towards seeking help.
- The program meets the criteria for good prevention and promotion of health in schools, according to the standards set by the Écoles en Santé program, implemented by the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec.
- The Mental Health Commission of Canada highlighted Partners for Life as a good example of a prevention program in the mental health strategy for Canada, “Changing Directions, Changing Lives”, published in 2012.
Impact and magnitude
It contributes to the reduction of the suicide rate among young people.
The Quebec Network for Suicide Research has issued scientific findings stressing the importance of the Partners for Life program, and its contribution to reducing the rate of youth suicide in the province over the last decade.
Number of suicides among 15- to 19-year-olds
1998: Start of the Partners for Life program 74% decline in the suicide rate
It increases interventions and referrals to appropriate resources
Raising awareness is paying off: after participating in Partners for Life presentations, 19,240 youth received treatment, and 2,422 youths were hospitalized for suicidal tendencies. These young people would have otherwise suffered in silence.
Grades 7 and 8
With the great success of our "Depression is reversible" presentation (intended for students in grades 9 to 11), we wish to act proactively while also responding to the high demand from schools.
By offering a brand new presentation, this time intended for students in grades 7 and 8, we hope to promote good mental health among adolescents as they enter high school. STILL IN THE DEVELOPMENT PHASE, this initiative aims to increase young people’s knowledge and to help them acquire skills through various activities. These activities will help build and maintain a state of equilibrium in terms of mental health. The animation's deployment in schools will be gradual, starting in January 2019, in French only.
As was the case with the creation of the Partners for Life program in 1998, the Foundation continues to be at the forefront of innovation by bringing together different mental health experts in an effort to develop a groundbreaking and unique program to respond to a real demand: that of schools and of society as well.
Catherine Burrows, Assistant Executive Director
The presentation’s objectives:
Whether on a personal or interpersonal level, young people aged 11 to 13 will discover the keys to keeping a healthy state of mind. At the end of the workshop, the youth will be able to identify different actions for his/her mental health:
- Acquire knowledge on his/her mental health;
- Master a basic mindfulness technique;
- Practice mentalization;
- Know when and where to apply these techniques and understand their positive impacts.
However, this initiative is not just about sensitizing young people; it is also intended for teachers and / or accompanying persons! Following the animation, they will be able to:
- Reuse the actions for his/her mental health and serve as a model for the students;
- Apply the techniques in class management.
Invite Partners for Life to my school
Say yes to a comprehensive presentation!
Show that depression is reversible and have a concrete impact on young people.
We offer a variety of animations that you can schedule several times during the year:
- For teenagers
- For parents
- For school staff (teachers, support staff and management)
- For future youth workers, social workers and other professionals
- For peer helpers
Discover how to invite our facilitators to your school
The presentation for students in grades 7 and 8 interests you? Join the development of this ambitious and innovative project!
We are currently looking for schools to host our pilot project in the next school year in anticipation of its official launch in September 2019. Animation offered in French only.
A questionnaire will soon be available in this section for schools wishing to participate in the test period of this new project. Keep an eye open and follow us on our social media platforms so you don't miss the news!
Who are our facilitators?
The team of facilitators is made up of passionate individuals with backgrounds in different fields, from intervention and education to entertainment and theatre/improvisation. They are selected because of their communication skills, their natural empathy, and their willingness to travel across the province!
They undergo 156 hours of training with Fondation Jeunes en Tête.
Would you like to be a facilitator next year? Visit our "Getting involved" section and follow us on social media!
“Depression is a sensitive topic and there are little opportunities to discuss it in class, yet it is a major issue for the current generation. The facilitators presented the topic wonderfully by exchanging with the students. Thank you for this presentation: now many students feel understood”
Phong Tran, B. Éd. Jeanne-Mance High School, Montreal (about the "Depression is reversible" presentation)
“The presentation was dynamic and perfectly tailored to high school students. A true connection with the students was established by balancing hard-hitting facts with a touch of humor. The content was targeted, relevant, interesting and presented with clarity.”
Nathalie Groulx, psychoeducator, École de la Baie-St-François, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield (about the "Depression is reversible" presentation)
“My expectations for this presentation were surpassed by both the enthusiasm of the facilitators and the content—especially considering the facilitators used several effective strategies to engage the students who were, at the end of the day, a little sleepy.”
Psychoeducator, Jean-Baptiste-Meilleur School, Repentigny, April 2014 (about the "Depression is reversible" presentation)
Support the initiative
5 reasons to support Partners for Life
- Because entering high school represents a major milestone in an adolescent’s life and our program provides them with the tools to facilitate their journey.
- Because 50% of mental illnesses appear before the age of 14, and depression in adolescence can lead to them dropping out of school, and even suicide.
- Because Partners for Life can save lives.
- Because the medical community supports us.
- Because Partners for Life has major impacts: since 1998, more than 1 million young people have heard their message of hope
Help us facilitate the journey of thousands of adolescents! Together, we can prevent psychological distress and promote good mental health!
A donation from you is a message of hope. It is a helping hand towards a healthy lifestyle and a guarantee of better access to community resources.