Episode 3 of the pihtikwê podcast: Dr. Carol Hopkins – Culturally Based Means We Start From Culture First

We're Hiring: Indigenous School Mental Health and Wellness Consultant

June 17, 2024

Contract position, with extension contingent on funding.

First Peoples Wellness Circle (FPWC) is a national not-for-profit corporation governed and managed by Indigenous leaders. FPWC receives its mandate from the First Nation Mental Wellness Continuum Framework (the Framework) and exists to improve the lives of Canada’s First Peoples by addressing healing, wellness, and other mental health challenges. FPWC’s work focuses on implementation of the Framework through leadership, research and partnerships providing a network of supports to the mental wellness workforce in First Nation communities. FPWC team works with federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous government and non-governmental partners to advance mental wellness for Indigenous people.

School Mental Health Ontario (SMH-ON) works together with Ontario school districts to support student mental health. As a provincial implementation support team, SMH-ON provides leadership, resources, implementation coaching and a community of practice in order to promote the uptake, scaling, and sustainability of evidence-based, implementation-sensitive, culturally responsive practices in school mental health. SMH-ON serves the 72 English and French school boards in Ontario, remote school authorities, and provincial demonstration schools. The team works alongside the Ministry of Education and has a role within the wider system of care, linking with partner ministries and organizations to advance child and youth mental health.  

Together, FPWC and SMH-ON are jointly hiring for a contract position (with possible extension), in the role of Indigenous School Mental Health and Wellness Consultant. This role will focus on wellness promotion and mental health literacy, in support of Indigenous students. A significant part of this role includes expanding, packaging, promoting, and implementing a suite of Indigenous student mental health literacy resources for educators, school leaders, and Indigenous parents/caregivers. The role also includes providing guidance, professional learning, and programming suggestions to school staff, in support of Indigenous student mental wellness in schools.

We recognize diversity as a source of organizational strength. We welcome applications from those who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing student mental health with a clear focus on human rights, and on reducing disproportionality and disparity in outcomes. Those with experience in serving Indigenous communities, and those with identities that have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, will bring particular assets that are highly valued within the organization.

This role includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Support the expansion of Indigenous student mental health literacy resources that have been developed by First Peoples Wellness Circle to include a variety of ways of sharing knowledge (e.g., creation of information brochures, videos, workshop slides, etc.). Prepare related written and oral materials for use in school boards and community. 
  2. Help to develop an implementation plan for this set of mental health literacy resources that is attuned to the needs of intended audiences – the wide range of Indigenous parents/caregivers, educators and school staff, principals and vice-principals – for students in provincially and federally-funded schools.  
  3. Oversee the translation of key materials for parents/caregivers into Indigenous languages, as appropriate. 
  4. Carry out the mental health literacy resource implementation plan, providing presentations, consultation, and guidance to those helping to mobilize these materials (e.g., School Mental Health Ontario Implementation Coaches, Board Mental Health Leadership Teams).  
  5. Help to build overall capacity to support Indigenous student mental health and wellness amongst school staff, through a range of offerings. Work with the SMH-ON and FPWC team to design, deliver and curate a topic-specific learning series. Support the coordination and facilitation of live presentations and workshops for Mental Health Leadership Teams and school staff. Contribute to the creation of self-directed video series to provide ongoing learning opportunities for stakeholders. 
  6. Assist in researching and gathering information on best practices, culturally relevant approaches, and Indigenous perspectives related to student mental health and wellness. Contribute to the creation of guidance documents, handbooks, and other resources that promote culturally sensitive and effective support for Indigenous students.  
  7. Review and curate existing SMH-ON resources, with a view to enhancing relevance and benefits for Indigenous students in Ontario’s provincial and federally-funded schools. Co-develop a draft process for selecting/adapting/developing school-based mental wellness programming for Indigenous students, based on existing resource mapping, research review, jurisdictional scans, student consultations, and other artifacts of the Indigenous SMH Project (2021-2023).
  8. Attend SMH-ON and FPWC meetings as requested.


  1. Completion of undergraduate degree in a field such as psychology, social work, education, human development, or public health. A graduate-level degree is preferred.
  2. Strong knowledge of Indigenous culture, protocols, processes, and organizations. Understanding of mental wellness from Indigenous perspectives (e.g., First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework, National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy) is desirable. Experience in supporting the design and delivery of Indigenous-specific training programs, workshops, or learning series, with familiarity with Indigenous mental health and wellness practices, trauma-informed care, and culturally responsive approaches, is highly valued. 
  3. Strong demonstrated interest in school mental health, and the promise of wellness promotion, prevention and early intervention with children and youth. Experience working in schools and with Indigenous education approaches is an asset.
  4. Demonstrated experience in Indigenous community engagement, mobilization and project planning. 
  5. Proven research skills with the ability to find, collate, and summarize findings to support decision-making.
  6. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills in English, with the ability to engage and collaborate with diverse stakeholders. 
  7. Strong organizational and project and time management skills, with the ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines. Proficient computer skills including Microsoft 365, and web meeting (virtual interview) methods. 
  8. Ability to work effectively in a team environment, demonstrating cultural sensitivity and humility. 
  9. Bilingualism in English and French, or other languages, is an asset.
  10. A clear, mandatory vulnerable sector check must be presented prior to hiring.

Deadline for submission (cover letter & resume) is 4:00 p.m. on June 19, 2024.

Please apply to: hr@smho-smso.ca (Include the position title you are applying for in the subject line of your email).

Applicants are thanked in advance for their interest; however, only those who have been short-listed for an interview will be contacted. Accommodation for applicants is available in the recruitment process. All interviews will be held virtually by web meeting.