The Toolkit

What Is the Minding Our Bodies Toolkit?

The toolkit provides a range of easy-to-use resources to help your organization create sustainable physical activity and healthy eating programs for people experiencing or recovering from serious mental illness. Developed for use by community mental health agencies, consumer/survivor initiatives and any other organization working with individuals who have a mental illness, the toolkit can be adapted to your organization’s setting and needs.

The toolkit is primarily directed to those who do not have prior experience starting a physical activity or healthy eating program in a mental health care setting. The information is best used in the pre-planning and planning stages of designing a program. However, our resource directory also includes tools that may be used beyond the planning stage.

Many of the practical examples in the toolkit are drawn from our environmental scan and from the organizations who participated in the project as pilot sites. We will continue to update the Minding Our Bodies toolkit and resource directory, and we invite you to share your own ideas and resources so that others can benefit from your experience. Contact us for details.

You are also invited to participate through our community of practice, which will allow you to connect to other program leaders and experts through an e-mail discussion list. Join the community by registering online.


Access the toolkit sections by clicking on the titles below or using the menu on the right.

Making the Case
The resources in this section make the case for integrating healthy eating and physical activity programs into mental health service settings. The PowerPoint files can be customized for your own presentations to partners and potential funders

Getting Your Program Started
Get your initiative off to a good start by taking the time up-front to plan for success! This section guides you through program planning and preparation, discusses motivation and behaviour change techniques, and offers ideas to help you engage and encourage your participants.

More Hands on Deck
Explore the benefits of community collaboration. This section helps you build and sustain effective partnerships, especially in the sports and recreation sector. It also highlights the value of using trained peer support workers as mentors for fellow consumers.

Getting the Word Out
Once you've developed or adapted a physical activity or healthy eating program, spreading the word can help your initiative gain traction. A strong communications strategy can attract new partners, new participants, and new sponsors. Send a clear message about the value of physical activity for mental health to stretch your program’s reach and reduce stigma in the community.

Measuring Your Success
Learning what worked well and what could have worked better is vital to maximizing program effectiveness and ensuring long-term sustainability. This section clarifies the value of evaluation to strengthen your program and introduces the basic concepts.

Sustaining Your Program
Sustainability includes four key components: sustaining awareness of the issue among decision-makers and key influencers; continuing the program itself; supporting individual behaviour changes; and keeping your partnerships active. Activities to keep your program goals alive may include finding new financial support and advocating for physical activity and healthy eating plans and policies in your organization, local community and beyond.

Resource Library
The Minding Our Bodies Toolkit includes a database of ready-to-use resources to help you plan, implement, evaluate and sustain your program. The directory includes links to external resources created by government and non-profit organizations, new resources developed by the Minding Our Bodies team, and resources created and shared by mental health agencies with physical activity and healthy eating programs who have joined the online community of practice.


Program Directory
Whether you’re planning a new program or looking for fresh ideas to sustain your current initiative, the Minding Our Bodies program directory is a great place to start. This database of physical activity and healthy eating programs for persons with mental illness is a great resource for sharing program information, partnership ideas and promising practices. Browse the programs or add your own.

Minding Our Bodies e-Bulletin
Stay up to date with the latest information about mental health promotion programs, emerging research, coming events, training workshops, funding opportunities, seasonal tips, and new resources available on the Minding Our Bodies website to help you plan, deliver and improve your programs. The e-bulletin is designed for program leaders, health promoters, and others with an interest in the connection between healthy living and mental health. Subscribe online.

Community of Practice
The Minding Our Bodies community of practice is a place to connect with staff and volunteers across Ontario who share a common interest in physical activity and healthy eating programs for people with mental illness. Ask a question. Share your story. Start a discussion. Learn from your peers. Join the community by signing up online.


Minding Our Bodies: Unlocking the Toolkit (revised edition)2.18 MB