Mental Health – KGD – Gr. 8

Mental Health Presentation for KGD, Primary, Junior & Intermediate

“I found my purpose beyond illness. That’s when transformation began and healing happened. Whether you suffer or support a loved one, I want to help you find your purpose. It all begins with hope and positive change.”

Covid-19. Trauma. Fear. Uncertainty. Unpredicatability. After two-and-a-half years, we continue to deal with a terrible virus that has taken away our normalcy. Over the years, our precious children were separated from extended family, and from their peers and teachers. We have begun to reunite, but fear still abounds. A “what if” uncertainty for safety, at present, and in the future. Now more than ever, we must focus on healing. Mental health must be a top priority. It is essential that we keep our brains healthy. It’s time to have the talk. 

This is a mental health and wellness presentation for elementary students of all grades, based on extensive mental health research, my own personal recovery from illness, as well as my recent publications on mental health and wellness. Changing our attitudes begins with empathy, acceptance, compassion, and respect for one another, despite outward differences. We are unique and special in every way but, ultimately, when it comes down to it, we are not so different after all. We all long for love, and kindness, and respect. It all begins with hope. Hope changes everything.

I am a mental illness advocate, survivor, author, motivational speaker, and teacher. Since 2013, I have had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to students throughout Ontario about my story of hope, resilience, and healing. I found purpose through writing my memoir and sharing my story. Healing DOES happen. We can speak time and time again about mental health, wellness, and stigma, but when a survivor shares their own life experiences, and their road to healing, the impact is profound. Attitudes and views change forever, and acceptance and compassion for sufferers and their loved ones increases dramatically. We all have a story to share. I now share mine.

The depth and complexity of my talk changes dramatically through each grade level from KINDERGARTEN to INTERMEDIATE. The kindergarten presentation focusses on emotions, feelings, and friendship, and is highly appropriate to their age. The other presentations focus on similar themes, however each grade level goes deeper into the mind and how our brain ticks, illnesses affecting our minds, speaking up early, respecting one another, and fighting stigma and bullying in our schools. Each presentation is accompanied by an interactive slideshow. Some of the highlights include:

  1. We are unique and special in our own ways, but not so different after all.
  2. Understanding the complexity of the brain – take care of it; you only have one.
  3. What if the brain is not working the way it should be? Understanding mental illness and its effects on the sufferer and their loved ones. Creating awareness, understanding, and perspective.
  4. My personal battle with illness – the dangers in hiding your struggles. A positive message of hope, healing, and finding purpose through the path to recovery.
  5. Having an appropriate “suicide” talk with our youth.
  6. PREVENTION and PROACTION are keys to healthy living. If one is suffering, EARLY INTERVENTION is essential. Speak up early and often. This leads to short-term recovery. The earlier the intervention, the more effective the results. An individual can return to doing what they do best in their walk of life.
  7. Stigma in our schools – bullying of any type has no place in our schools or society. Respecting one another, listening, and encouraging friends to reach for help.
  8. Compassion, acceptance, respect, and empathy for one another.
  9. Resiliency, recovering from the trauma of a prolonged pandemic, and the road to healing the mind, body and soul – building on our mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and social health. Healing DOES happen. Believe it!
  10. Making a difference in our own lives and the lives of others.

I will provide a more detailed description of my talk.

“Pain is pain, body OR brain, it’s all the same.” -Chris Nihmey

Safety Measures/Preparatory/Follow-Up



Unfortunately, we are not through this pandemic. Our hospitals are overwhelmed with many of our youth and infections are still prevalent. It is for this reason I am not visiting schools in person as I do not want to host any gatherings that will increase the risk of infection or long-term ramifications for those attending. My talks are solely VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS at this time. 

This DOCUMENT outlines activities that your school and school community can implement prior to, and following my visit, to ensure that my message is well received, understood, and reinforced. I provide staff with several documents which include mental health links, resources, effective strategies, ideas, and several ways that teachers/parents can educate their students and children at home to create awareness, understanding, and compassion for those who struggle. Included are steps teachers/parents can take to receive direction and treatment for their own ailments. Each listener, upon request, will receive a bookmark that links to my website. On there are mental health links and resources, and a contact page where I can always be reached. Help is always available, prior to, and following my talk. Never hesitate to reach out. PREVENTION IS EARLY INTERVENTION. It is most definitely the key to pro-action.

Here is a QUESTIONNAIRE that can be distributed following my visit. It is a chance for students to reflect on my messages. Questions can be used for any follow-up activities, or discussion prior to my visit. Classroom activities tied to mental health and wellness are always encouraged to continue the conversation. You can also review my “goals” on this page.

Time for Presentation: 1 hour (+/- 5 min.)

Presentation Fee: $400 for one presentation, $500 for two, $600 for three.

If you are interested in a visit, please click on the “Reserve Your Presentation Now” button. This will take you to my “Contact Chris” page. Thank you.

Creating Mental Health Awareness

Since the release of my memoir, Two Sides To The Story: Living A Lie (Chipmunka Publishing, UK), in 2013, I have hosted over 250 presentations at schools and organizations about my battle with mental illness and remarkable recovery to find hope, purpose, and resilience in my life. I would love to come out to your school to present. VIRTUAL TALKS are also available.

We are all responsible for our school and the people within it, especially those suffering from sickness, bullying, abuse or neglect, lacking the support that many of us have. This leads to suffering and, in some instances, suicide. Taking your life is NEVER a choice, but a decision impacted by circumstances within and around us. Reaching out to someone is a choice, but without eliminating the fear and shame that accompanies sickness, sufferers will remain in the dark. Until our loved ones feel they can safely step forward and share their stories without judgement and prejudice, they will choose to hide and ultimately lose hope. They must know, deep down, that they are NOT alone. Every life matters. Hope and healing is a gift we all deserve.

If you are interested in a visit, please click on the “Reserve Your Presentation Now” button. This will take you to my “Contact Chris” page. Thank you.


We are indebted to you Chris Nihmey for your ongoing contributions on our OCSB Mental Health journey. Sincere gratitude for your leadership in OCSB and beyond.

Denise Andre

OCSB Director, 2018

Chris recently came to Longue Sault PS to speak to my staff about his journey. He hit it out of the ballpark … wow! My staff were blown away by his story and message which contained useful, research based information which can be used to support all public education stakeholders. I highly recommend Chris Nihmey as a professional speaker for any organization interested in increasing their capacity to properly support mental health in their workplace.

Kieran Kennedy

Principal, Upper Canada District School Board

As part of a Parents Reaching Out Grant, I wanted to engage families in dialogue, awareness building, and learning about mental health and well-being. We were so fortunate to find Chris Nihmey! Chris presented to a group of parents, guardians and caregivers, alongside their children from Grades 4 – 6, at our Open House. His message of hope, compassion, and resilience was powerful and very well-received. Adults and students came away with a deeper understanding of stigma, how hurts don’t go away, and how to show empathy and support others in positive, encouraging ways. I highly recommend Chris to your school community!
Cynthia Seguin

Principal, UCDSB

Chris Nihmey is a gifted speaker, animated presenter, and passionate educator. Chris has a wonderful command of an audience. His message is both necessary and timely. His material is authentic; not just well researched, but also personally lived. In no way threatening, but in every way important and relevant, every school, professional business and any institutions working to improve social-emotional learning and development must hear Chris Nihmey’s presentation. Positive responses can’t help but be the result. Chris has a true calling to deliver this critical message about mental health. His connection to faith woven into his presentation is not artificial or contrived. He speaks to the heart from the heart!

Ann Louise Revells

Principal, OCSB, Ottawa

June 2016, Chris Nihmey presented to 250 grade 4-6 students and teachers. His talk dealt with mental health, fighting stigma in schools, and his battles with mental illness. He presented it in a way that was age-appropriate and understandable for all students. He was very engaging and motivating during his presentation and involved students with questions and comments. His genuine speaking ability was both comforting and informative to all.

Sean Haughian

Teacher, OCSB, Ottawa

Students and parents listened to a guest speaker on mental health and the impacts of stigma. Chris Nihmey, thank you for an excellent presentation and a very important message. Every school should have this presentation.

Lindsay Croxall

Avonmore, ON

It was such a pleasure to have you in – you have such a wonderful presence and we were fortunate enough to be graced with it last week.

Natasha Farrugia

Teacher, OCSB, Ottawa

What a fantastic presentation on Mental Illness Awareness with Chris Nihmey today at Convent Glen Catholic School. You are a fabulous speaker Chris and touched everyone of us! Thanks for making all of our hearts grow bigger today!

Kim Coulter

Isagenix, Parent, Ottawa

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the time you spent at my kids’ school today. They are students in grades 5 and 6 and each – in separate conversations – told me about your presentation and their impressions of it, and how you talked to them in a simple, normal, and relatable way. I want to thank you for sharing your story, your experience, and through it become an inspiration and a spark for conversation. I am in awe of your strength and your ability to dig into your own personal journey to share it with so many young people. I have no doubt that you are making a difference for these kids, whether by providing hope, a voice, and a kindred spirit, or by picking away at the stigma still unfortunately associated with Mental Health issues. Thank you.
Lianne Wand


I think mental health literacy should be woven into the curriculum in a very significant way, for two reasons. First, if we could start really identifying kids with issues at a young age, so much potential might be saved, and secondly, we need awareness to build a more compassionate society that will really go out and gather up these people and help them heal or at the very least, live in dignity with their illnesses.
Anne McEwen