Alternative Programs for School Suspensions to Improve Mental Health and Success

Children’s Psychology

Children devote more time to schools than to any other official institution. As a result, school systems play a critical role in child behavior, including adolescent connections and social engagements, educational success, cognitive advancement, stress management, behavioral standards, and moral progression (O’Reilly, Svirydzenka, Adams, & Dogra, 2018). O’Reilly et al. (2018) further insinuated that psychological state significantly affects each of the abovementioned domains. The suspension of kids with emotional and behavioral problems (EBD) has proven contentious and difficult. Consequently, many schools are examining their disciplinary policies to make them more productive and less dependent on conventional restrictive penalties. Therefore, this paper assesses methods that learning institutions could opt for rather than help improve children’s cognitive state. The whole-school approach and strength-based technique are some of the methodologies that schools in Canada can utilize instead of suspensions to enhance the psychological well-being of children. Moreover, as children transition from childhood to early adulthood, they undergo profound physical, psychological, and lifestyle modifications. Alcohol consumption has been linked to growth processes such as adolescence and growing assertiveness. Thus, the essay addresses alcohol consumption and its effects on Canadian teens.

Approaches to Improve Mental Health and Success in Canadian Schools

Schools are ubiquitous in the development of teens and may have a good effect on their psychological wellness, offsetting the negative effects of other social influences. For individuals, schools may be significant causes of stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, which can impair academic achievement. In concentrating on advancement, it is crucial to see the academic environment as a natural setting in which teenagers may develop principles of autonomy, protection, and individual freedom while acknowledging potential constraints.

Schools are at the vanguard of healthy mental health promotion. Consequently, this is an essential strategy for combating the increasing frequency of mental diseases globally. Therefore, this has resulted in the release of several rules and recommendations for achieving this goal in the United Kingdom and globally. The Canadian government has committed that all middle schools offer mental health instruction by 2020, and each institution will have a mental well-being advocate (McIsaac, Read, Veugelers, & Kirk, 2017). Similarly, the authorities of Wales and Scotland have issued procedures and pronouncements advocating the development of healthy emotional stability among school-aged children (McIsaac et al., 2017). In addition, this perspective is shared worldwide, as several nations investigate strategies to integrate health and education.

The Whole-School Approach

A whole-school perspective to fostering healthy mental health acknowledges the need to join forces with all instructional society members, including learners, caregivers, and personnel, and the influence of local and national regulations. Implementing this strategy encourages schools to address mental well-being via disciplinary rules, instructional strategies, support and care for teenagers, and staff and parental involvement. Globally, schools have adopted interpersonal programs, such as the Consortium for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning in Canada, KidsMatter in Australia, and Psychological Components of Training in the United Kingdom.

Various authors have established that, if adopted, it promotes good mental health and increases academic achievement. Dassanayake, Springett, and Shewring (2017) described how schools might approach emotional well-being within the curriculum to reduce discrimination and increase students’ understanding of anxiety, melancholy, self-harm, and perseverance. In addition to expanding knowledge, one of the goals of the whole school model is to assist students in developing ways to limit the influence of causes or emotions that may harm their mental wellness.

Children are urged to be conscious of and compassionate toward others who may be suffering similar challenges. An institution that takes a whole school methodology to foster excellent cognitive health incorporates play, physical activity, dance, and theater possibilities in its curriculum (Dassanayake et al., 2017). To educate children about diversity, it is essential to provide opportunities for conversations on sexualities, ethnic background, religion and beliefs, impairments, and their effects. Kids who feel “different,” possibly due to EBD, may have a stronger feeling of connectedness if this is done.

Moreover, other researchers assessed the efficacy of programs that used a school-wide paradigm. In their research, Sharma, Sharma, and Sharma (2017) created the Child Development Project, a primary school initiative in Canada meant to enhance intellectual, emotional, and behavioral elements of a child’s development and to encourage empathy and support for others. The formation of a caring school climate via collaborative and aiding practices was crucial. In addition, instructors deployed positive disciplinary strategies other than suspension to promote altruistic principles and rules, as well as significant role modeling and the utilization of role-playing, sports, and tales to improve learners’ comprehension of others. The concept encompassed the whole school and incorporated outreach programs. Children who participated in the program showed considerable improvement in managing conflicts and modifying their behavior in challenging and demanding settings.

However, despite the advantages indicated, this technique is not without obstacles. The whole-school strategy proposed by several writers is hindered by several obstacles. Hudson, Lawton, and Hugh-Jones (2020) questioned senior management, school employees, and awareness instructors at seven Canadian secondary institutions utilizing the whole-school paradigm to analyze their implementation experiences. This study identified four primary factors that influenced the execution of the whole-school methodology: the presence of leaders in the schools pushing integration forward, the availability of effort and resources to incorporate the strategy and a mutual understanding of the school-wide framework. In addition, staff members struggled to comprehend why it was being presented by school personnel and that deployment occurred in phases and took a lot of time.

In their research, Short, Case, and McKenzie (2018) identified the following disadvantages of using the whole-school strategy in educational institutions to improve mental health and achievement. The methodology lacks enough assistance regarding employee commitment and finance, conceptualization transparency, and vocabulary uniformity; this would also have to consider how psychological well-being and disorders are conceived. In addition, getting suitably educated employees to assist and monitor and involve youth in creating good cognitive health awareness proved difficult. In addition, acknowledging the necessity for durable multi-sector cooperation in mental health advancement provides little direction as to who should be included in the collaborations or their precise tasks.

Strength-Based Technique

The rise of strengths-based techniques has increased the emphasis on identifying, exploring, and using children’s and adolescents’ capabilities to promote improved mental health experiences in educational, family, and societal settings. Resilience or asset methods consider children and adolescents as having the ability for self-correction and natural abilities to achieve sustainable achievements (Galassi, 2017). This viewpoint reframes challenges as educational opportunities. Overcoming such obstacles contributes to the emergence of good qualities and perseverance. A frequent terminology of resilience is the capacity of a person’s strengths to allow them to overcome adversity. Therefore, practical intelligence is characterized by the capability to achieve positive behavioral objectives by cultivating talents and conquering weaknesses.

Various studies have enumerated the importance of the strength-based approach in improving the mental well-being and success of children who may have issues controlling their emotions and behaviors instead of suspending them. According to Njeze, Bird-Naytowhow, Pearl, and Hatala (2020), using a strength-based viewpoint demand a willingness to establish procedures for identifying assets and creating individualized, strength-based methods for functioning with children and teenagers. Such approaches should include assessing, acknowledging, and creatively using abilities to pursue personal development possibilities.

They recognized the significance of including learners and parents in identifying and using their capabilities in creating special education or individualized learning programs. In this sense, they emphasize the importance of leveraging student strengths to recast issues and challenging areas as possibilities for developing and manifesting children’s talents. In addition, they contend that cognitive demands connected with connectedness, competence, and independence may be fulfilled or frustrated via social interconnections. Ideally, mental competency techniques may promote the emotional well-being of all kids and teens in their educational and social contexts. In this sense, schools, households, and societies are crucial contexts for resolving purposefully intellectual fitness or psychological requirements.

On the other hand, other authors evaluated the efficacy of the strength-based paradigm in promoting psychological health and efficiency. Fenwick-Smith, Dahlberg, and Thompson (2018) enumerated that the effectiveness of a strength-based methodology is due to the fact that the kid is the protagonist or inspirational figure since the experience is positive to change management. This method is extremely reliant on the student’s cognitive, psychological, and informational understanding. Therefore, the strategy provides for open discussion and cognitive processes between the instructor and the student to recognize the significance and integrate their skills and resources in the face of transition.

Furthermore, the strength-based method generates the settings for adolescents to see themselves at their optimum so that they may recognize the value they contribute by being themselves. Then use this worth to maximize their capabilities rather than concentrating on their weaknesses. A strength-based strategy evaluates the child’s and the child’s educational context. For instance, the strength-based technique examines how school institutions are organized, particularly when power imbalances exist between a structure and the kids it is designed to help (Fenwick-Smith et al., 2018). In addition, a strength-based paradigm detects any obstacles that may be impeding a child’s development. There may be limits when a youngster is confronted with inequitable social, interpersonal, and cultural challenges at school.

However, some studies have contradicted the effectiveness of the technique as a method aimed at improving the mental well-being of school children. Soni and Hameed (2018) insinuated that it was sometimes difficult for educational institutions to transition from a school-wide paradigm to a customized, strengths-based strategy. Executives have been educated to analyze an issue through their learning and skills. The prevalent belief is that a precise problem diagnosis aids teachers in using the proper behavioral strategies with pupils. Frequently, instructors are comfortable and certain in their position as an authority. The strengths-based methodology necessitates that instructors recognize that not all of their students’ capabilities are important. Teachers may employ their expertise to assist students in using their talents and incorporating them into rehabilitation. In contrast, many youngsters may not seek services independently and are often perceived as resistive or non-compliant (Soni & Hameed, 2018). These factors impede the development of a method for instructors and students to discover and develop learners’ abilities (Soni & Hameed, 2018). Finally, a shortage of psychosocial support and high caseloads provide a formidable obstacle to the development of tailored strengths-based therapy programs.

The major emphasis of the strength-based strategy presents a potential drawback. Toros and Falch-Eriksen (2021) illustrate this point quite well by stating that, although it is beneficial to concentrate on one’s strengths, one should not completely disregard a child’s limitations. Suppose vulnerabilities are poorly handled or not regulated at all. In that case, they may go unsupervised and ultimately cause the person to be less successful in whatever area of expertise they are responsible for (Toros & Falch-Eriksen, 2021). In addition to meticulously and productively noting the technique’s faults, the authors note that the strength-based concept neither offers anything innovative nor is backed by evidence of its effectiveness.

Alcohol Consumption and Its Effects on Canadian Teens

Alcohol intake is the act of consuming alcoholic drinks which are used primarily for their psychophysiological benefits. Still, they are also often ingested in certain social circumstances and may even be a component of religion. Due to the physiological and behavioral consequences of alcohol, most countries control its use. Alcohol use among Canadian minors has stayed stable over the previous several years, while high-risk or excessive consumption has decreased, following global trends. According to the most recent Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS), the median age at initiation of drunkenness among children in grades 7–12 has risen from 13.1 years in 2013 to 13.4 years (Mehra, Keethakumar, Bohr, Abdullah, & Tamim, 2019). In 2017, the aggregate age at initiation of binge drinking had grown from 14.4 to 14.5 years (Mehra et al., 2019). Therefore, the effects of alcohol consumption among teens in Canada are explained herein in the paper.

Alcohol is a depressant that inhibits the central nervous system’s (CNS) performance. Due to alcohol’s implications on the adolescent brain, this may be especially risky for Canadian teens. Some of the most severe brain damage caused by drinking may impair cognitive effectiveness. Steinberg (2020) demonstrated that persons who begin consuming alcohol as adolescents struggle with basic activities such as interpreting a chart and building projects as grownups. In addition to physical modifications, the impact of alcohol on adolescents might affect their mental health. Adolescents who dabble in alcohol may consume to mask their worry over a challenging situation. However, excessive drinking may be a dangerous precedent. Although alcohol might momentarily alleviate tension, it can raise anxiety within a few hours after ingestion (Steinberg, 2020). Consequently, this encompasses even modest doses of alcohol, and the impacts on stress might last into the next day.

Importance of the Area of Research in Child and Youth Care

Children’s psychological health is their way of thinking and feeling about themselves and the world. It influences how youngsters deal with the hardships and strains of life. As part of the maturation process, children experience a wide range of emotions, including fear, disappointment, sorrow, anxiety, rage, happiness, and excitement. Children are likely to have a positive self-image if they can manage extreme feelings and remain composed in challenging or stressful circumstances. Therefore, when instructors and educators understand children’s cognitive health and its critical importance in healthy child growth, they are better equipped to address incidents of insubordination in schools. Good cognitive health facilitates children’s development of good social, emotional, behavioral, thinking, and communication abilities. Additionally, it builds the groundwork for improved mental health and wellness later in life. In addition, understanding the number of adolescents who use alcohol gives a framework for responsible departments to limit the negative effects of binge drinking.


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