"Healthy Living…It’s in Everyone" Toolkit


Healthy Living...It's in EveryoneDeveloped by the F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids’ Mental Health in partnership with BC Mental Health & Addiction Services (BCMHAS) and BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH), the Health Living…It’s in Everyone toolkit was created for families who have a child or youth with mental health challenges. The toolkit has been created to help families live a healthy lifestyle by:

  • Looking at what you are already doing that is contributing to good health
  • Identifying your goals:  Figuring out what you would like to work on and taking small steps that will lead to the changes you want
  • Hearing from other families about strategies they have used to promote healthy living in their family

The toolkit is composed of four modules, each developed around a group of key messages:


healthy eating - cherriesModule 1: Healthy Eating

  1. Families that eat together, eat better
  2. Eat breakfast
  3. Dieting doesn’t work:  Make small, achievable changes
  4. Drink water, milk and only a small amount of 100% fruit juice and stay away from sugar sweetened beverages
  5. Roles in feeding and eating:  You shouldn’t have to eat your vegetables to get dessert (Note: this is a complex point, especially for children who are on specific medication or who have learnt to override hunger and fullness cues – detailed information and support are provided)
  6. Treat with love, not sweets

This module also includes:

  • An Easy Approach to Using Canada’s Food Guide
  • Effects of Medication on Appetite and Eating Habits
  • Tips from Families for Healthy Eating
  • Activities to Increase Healthy Eating


Physical ActivityModule 2:  Physical Activity

  1. Physical activity can have physical, social, emotional and mental health benefits
  2. Start with your child’s ideas
  3. Find the starting point and build on it
  4. Move beyond barriers to meet goals
  5. Be a role model and play

This module also includes:

  • Types of Physical Activity  (Aerobic/Endurance/Cardio/ Flexibility/ Strength)
  • Barriers to Being Physically Active
  • Tips from Families for being Physically Active
  • Physical Activity Ideas for Your Family


stress managementModule 3:  Stress Management

  1. Explore what your stressors are and how you react to stress
  2. Different stress management strategies will work for different families
  3. How you think changes the way stress affects you
  4. Stress affects the whole family

This module also includes:

  • Helping Your Child Recognize Stress
  • Tips from Families for Managing Stress
  • Tips for Parents and Caregivers
  • Activities for Managing Stress (Reframing Thoughts:  Red & Green Thoughts, Deep Breathing Relaxation Exercise, Problem Solving


Sleeping ChildModule 4:  Sleep

  1. The amount of sleep needed is different for everyone
  2. The first step to getting a good night’s sleep is having good “sleep hygiene” (sleep habits)
  3. Medications and some mental health conditions can impact sleep

This module also includes:

  • Common Sleep Challenges (Nightmares, Bedtime Struggles, Adolescents and Sleep)
  • Medications and Sleep
  • Tips from Families for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
  • Activities for Better Sleep (Relaxation, Talking Through the Worries of the Day, Create a Bedtime Routine Chart)

The toolkit provides an extensive list of links to tools, resources and books, as well as printable worksheets, including:

  • My Healthy Living Pinwheel (Goal Setting Tool) worksheet
  • Meal Planning guide with Sample Meal Plan, weekly meal planning worksheet, and grocery list template with lists of foods from each of the 4 food groups from the Canada Food Guide
  • Activities Your Family Can Try (play at the playground, set up an obstacle course, play in the house, try outdoor activities, work activity into your day, rainy day activities, other activities)
  • Stress in My Day worksheet
  • Learning to Think Green Thoughts guide
  • Changing Unhealthy Thoughts worksheet
  • Quick Ways to Relax poster
  • How to Problem Solve worksheet
  • Sleep Tips for Kids poster

The toolkit was produced through a consultative process involving an advisory committee and input from many families.  It continues to be a work in progress.  The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, invite feedback on how they can make sure the toolkit meets the needs of families. toolkits@keltymentalhealth.ca

Click here to access this great resource from the Kelty Mental Health website.