Healthy School Programs

Healthy School Programs

Healthy School Toolkit

The Healthy Schools Toolkit is designed to guide schools through the steps to creating a healthier school. School Health Committees may choose to use all or any of the resources in the Toolkit to support their Healthy Schools work. Contact your school’s public health nurse to help you get started!

GBHU Healthy School Toolkit


Becoming a Certified Healthy School

The Grey Bruce Health Unit along side with the school boards wants to create a healthy school environment for all children so they have the capacity to reach their full potential. By becoming a certified healthy school you are showing everyone your commitment to health. Contact your public health nurse for more information on certification.

OPHEA certifies schools as well. Click here for more details!

Youth Mental Health and Addiction Champion Program

School Mental Health Assist

The Youth Mental Health and Addiction Champion (YMHAC) Initiative improves the health and well-being of children and youth.


The objectives of the YMHAC initiative are to:

  • Raise awareness among children and youth about mental illness, mental health and mental health promotion.
  • Support overall well-being of children and youth.
  • Reduce stigma related to mental illness.
  • Develop the leadership and facilitation skills of children and youth.


The YMHAC Toolkit supports educators, adult allies and youth in implementing a youth-led mental health initiative in school and community settings.

  • Provides interactive and user friendly access to implementation ready tools and resources.
  • Web-based resource with option to print.
  • Available in English and French.



For more information and to learn how to bring YMHAC to your school contact your school’s Public Health Nurse.

Roots of Empathy

The focus of Roots of Empathy in the long term is to build the capacity of the next generation for responsible citizenship and responsive parenting.


In the short term, Roots of Empathy focuses on raising levels of empathy, resulting in more respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and aggression.


Roots of Empathy Information for Schools

Want to be a Roots of Empathy Family?

To learn how to bring Roots of Empathy to your classroom contact your school’s Public Health Nurse.

Catch My Breath Curriculum Pilot Project

Catch My Breath logo


Catch My Breath Curriculum Pilot Project  2019/2020

Catch My Breath is a best-practices youth E-cigarette and JUUL prevention program developed by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health.  The program provides up-to-date information to teachers, parents and health professionals to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about the use of E-cigarettes, including JUUL devices. Catch My Breath utilizes a peer lead teaching approach.  The program does not take any financial endorsements from the Tobacco or Vaping Industry.

To learn more about the program and available resources including results from pilot testing, visit

The Grey Bruce Health Unit supports the use of this program and it has been approved for use by the Bluewater District School Board and the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board. 


Note:  The program is based out of the United States and includes State of Texas laws and statistics as well as U.S based information. To adjust the program for use in Ontario, we have created supplementary materials including an Ontario Supplement overview as well as powerpoint slides you can insert into certain lessons.


About the program:

The program offers modules for grades 6 to 8 as well as a module for use at the Secondary Level.   Each module includes 4 lessons which require about 30 minutes each to teach.  CATCH recommends teaching one lesson a week over 4 weeks.  There is the opportunity to involve peer leaders elected by the fellow classmates to help lead discussions. The web portal includes student quizzes and many helpful resources for your knowledge as a teacher.


How do I access the modules?

To access the modules, teachers need an access code to sign onto the Catch Platform.  The Grey Bruce Health Unit is supporting a pilot project of this curriculum and our healthy school nurses will provide access codes, student surveys, supporting documents and ongoing support.   To register, visit

Catch My Breath Pilot Project Flyer


Teaching Supplements for Ontario:

Ontario Supplement for Catch My Breath

Catch My Breath_Ontario Supplement Powerpoint Slides: Tobacco and Vaping Laws

Catch My Breath_Supplement Powerpoint Slides: Youth Vaping Rates



School Vision Screening

Did you know: About 80 per cent of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists. However, vision problems may go undetected in early childhood because children cannot always recognize that they have vision problems.

What is School-Based Vision Screening?

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is partnering with District A-9 of Lions Club International to provide free, in-school vision screenings for senior kindergarten students at Bluewater District School Board and Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board schools during the school year.

The screenings will be conducted by trained Lions Club volunteers and overseen by Public Health. They will consist of three simple, non-invasive tests, designed to help identify the most common vision impairments in young children.

  • A test with a handheld machine called an autorefractor
  • A test for visual acuity
  • A test for depth perception

How will I get information from my school if my child is eligible to be screened?

If your child attends public school in Grey or Bruce counties, letters from Public Health will be sent home by the school for your Senior Kindergarten child. The letter will provide information about the screening program.

What happens after my child is screened?

If a child does not pass any one or more of these three screening tests, or meets one of the additional referral criteria, parents will receive a notification letter that indicates that there may be issues with the child’s vision. The letter urges parents to book an appointment for their child to see an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam. In addition, a follow-up reminder letter will be sent to the parent. If a child passes all three of the screening tests, the parent will receive a notification letter indicating this and encouraging regular comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist.

The in-school vision screenings are not meant to replace annual comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist and are not designed to detect all vision problems.

Where can I find an optometrist or other visual health supports?

To find a local optometrist, please visit or 211. If you still need support, please contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

The following programs may assist you with the cost of prescription glasses.

  • Eye See…Eye Learn® – Children in junior and senior kindergarten are eligible for a free pair of prescription glasses through this program.
  • Ontario Works – Families receiving support from Ontario Works can contact their local Ontario Works office for more information on getting support for vision care costs.
  • Ontario Disability Support Program Vision Care Benefit – Families receiving support from Ontario Disability Support Program, and don't have vision care coverage under OHIP, may be able to get help with vision care costs.
  • Non-Insured Health Benefits Program – This program provides eligible clients (First Nations and Inuit) coverage for vision care benefits not available under other federal, provincial, territorial or private health insurance.
  • Interim Federal Health Program – This program provides limited, temporary coverage of health care benefits, including vision, to resettled refugees, refugee claimants and certain other groups who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance.

How often should someone get a comprehensive eye exam?

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the following guidelines suggest the minimum frequency for an eye examination for individuals at low risk:


Frequency of Visits to an Optometrist

Birth to 24 months

An initial eye exam should be completed between the ages of 6 and 9 months

2-5 years old

At least one eye exam

6-19 years old


20-39 years old

Every 2 to 3 years

40-64 years old

Every 2 years

65+ years old



Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers the cost of a comprehensive eye examination once every 12 months for all children (0-19 years of age) who have a valid OHIP card.


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