Mental Health Presentation for Kindergarten, Primary, and Junior Students

"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." 

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. Yes, we are unique and special in every way but, ultimately, when it comes down to it, we realize that we are not so different after all. We all yearn to be loved and accepted, however, we are also created unique and special, unlike any other. If we can help our students appreciate this, to realize that they matter, we will be another step forward in providing hope for those who suffer within. 

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, as does compassion and acceptance for sufferers and their loved ones.

The depth and complexity of my talk changes dramatically from KINDERGARTEN to the PRIMARY presentation to the JUNIOR one.  The KINDERGARTEN presentation focuses on emotions, feelings, and friendship, and is highly appropriate to their age. The PRIMARY focus is on feelings, emotions, respecting one another, and reaching out when we are not feeling well. The JUNIOR talk focuses on similar themes, however it goes deeper into the mind and how our brain ticks, illnesses affecting our minds, speaking up, reaching for help, respecting one another, and fighting stigma in our schools.  I have slideshow presentations that are unique and geared to each level. All talks are age-appropriate and fully engaging. My presentation for junior students focusses on the following themes. Primary and kindergarten presentations will only focus on themes geared to their age level.

  1. We are unique and special in our own ways, but not so different after all. We all have a desire to be successful in life. 
  2. What a brain we have! Understanding the brain’s complexity – take care of it; you only have one.
  3. What if the brain is not working the way it should be? Understanding mental illness as a true sickness – the same as any physical disorder or injury. Pain is pain, from body or from brain. Gaining perspective and understanding.
  4. My own triumphant battle with illness – hiding my illnesses in fear, and having to live a lie to protect my life. Included here is a positive message of hope and healing that one can recover from mental illness.
  5. Demonstrating the proper way to talk to children about suicide
  6. The extreme importance of speaking up early to get help, and respecting one another by listening and encouraging a sufferer to reach for help
  7. Stigma in our schools – treating people who are different from us with respect. Bullying of any type has no place in our schools or society.
  8. Creating sympathy, compassion, acceptance, respect, and empathy for one another. One life will change the world. Other heroes who have made a huge difference in our world. We can too!
  9. Resiliency and the road to healing the mind, body and soul – building on our mental or psychological, spiritual, physical, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Healing DOES happen!
  10. God made each of us unique and special. In some ways, we are not so different, but all of us have the ability to “make a difference” in our own lives and the lives of others.

I will provide a more detailed description of my talk if you wish to know more. 

Pain is pain, from the body OR the brain.” -Chris Nihmey


Preparatory/Follow-Up & Presentation Tidbits

This DOCUMENT outlines activities that your school and school community can implement prior to, and following my talk, to ensure that my message is well-received, understood, and reinforced. I will provide staff with a 6-page document which includes mental health links, resources, effective tips & 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 that 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 my website are many mental health links and resources, including a contact page where I can be reached following my talk. Help is always available, prior to, and following my talk. Never hesitate to reach out. Early intervention is most definitely the key to positive action.  

Here is a QUESTIONNAIRE that can be distributed following my visit. It is a chance for students to reflect on my messages. Answers can be written by students OR discussed as a class. 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 always review my "goals" on this page.

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

Presentation Fee: $500 for one presentation, $600 for two, $700 for three.

Travelling to your city: I would love to visit. There will be reasonable travelling expenses needed for trips that require 2 or more hours of driving.

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 In Our Schools

Since the release of my memoir, Two Sides To The Story: Living A Lie (Chipmunka Publishing, UK), in 2013, I have hosted over 150 presentations at schools and organizations about my battle with mental illness and remarkable recovery to find hope, purpose, and resilience in my life. My feedback has been superlative. I will continue to speak in the 2018-2019 school year. I would love to come out to your school to present.

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 Nihmey is a gifted speaker, animated presenter, and passionate educator. His presentation on mental health, given to the grade 4, 5, and 6 students and staff at Monsignor Paul Baxter Catholic School on June 23, 2016 was delivered in a powerful, poignant and age appropriate manner. 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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

 "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, Ottawa
  "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, Ottawa