What is Every Moment Counts?
Every Moment Counts is a mental health promotion initiative developed to help all children and youth become mentally healthy in order to succeed in school, at home and in the community. This work, developed by occupational therapists, focuses on reframing mental health as a positive state of functioning – mental health is more than the absence of mental illness.1 Positive mental health is associated with feeling good emotionally and doing well functionally in everyday life.2 For children and youth, this means doing well during academic (classroom) as well as nonacademic (recess, lunch, afterschool extracurricular activities) times of the school day. A multi-tiered public health approach is used to provide a range of services and supports geared to meeting the mental health needs of children and youth with and without disabilities and/or mental health challenges.
Why should everyone care about mental health? Mental health is an integral part of overall health. Children and youth who experience positive mental health and well-being function better during academic and non-academic times of the school day and do things to take care of their health.
Model programs and toolkits have been developed emphasizing embedded strategies to help all children and youth enjoy participation throughout the day (classroom, cafeteria, recess, after-school) and cope with challenges.
¹Bazyk, S. (ed.). (2011). Mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention for children and youth: A guiding framework for occupational therapy. Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.
²Keyes, C. L. (2006). Mental health in adolescence: Is America's youth flourishing? American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76, 395-402.