The second annual Royal Mental Hygiene Challenge kicks off March 1

The Royal challenges the community to build healthy habits that can boost mental wellness – because there’s no reason to wait until we’re feeling down to do something good for our mental health.You brush your teeth and take a shower every day, but what do you do every day for your brain? This March, The Royal is inviting the community to join The Royal’s second annual Mental Hygiene Challenge, following a wildly successful campaign in 2022. It’s entirely free to participate and is fully bilingual.

The Royal Mental Hygiene Challenge encourages individuals to take ten minutes every day throughout the month of March to engage in one or more of our 16 simple, research-based, expert-approved activities to boost their mental health, also known as mental hygiene. 

Mental hygiene is a form of preventive maintenance that can be likened to other hygienic practices. Through the plasticity of the brain, mental training activities can foster healthy cognitive patterns that are conducive to well-being. 

“There’s something to be said for not just waiting around for the bad days to come,” Guillaume Tremblay, lead nurse practitioner at The Royal’s Brockville Mental Health Centre, said. “We need to shift our view on mental health in terms of how to empower ourselves. This challenge is universal and can be done by anyone regardless of location, age, race, gender, level of physical ability, and mental health status. 

“While mental hygiene doesn’t replace the need for professional mental health care, it’s an important way to maintain good mental health and build the resilience we need to face challenges in the future. Just like going to the gym is about building up our strength, mental hygiene is about building up that mental muscle.”

Tremblay, with the support of his colleagues Nicole Rodrigues and Dr. Sanjiv Gulati, made the case for a mental hygiene framework in Mental Hygiene: What It Is, Implications, and Future Directions. In this paper, the research team advocates for routine engagement in healthy mental hygiene, just like one does for their dental health.  

The Royal Mental Hygiene Challenge is designed to build habits and skills that boost mental wellness at a time when mental health resources are needed the most. 

Throughout the month of March, The Royal is sharing tips, resources, and information about mental hygiene and mental health on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Challenge participants are encouraged to engage with the campaign by incorporating mental hygiene practices into their daily routines for 31 days and share their experience on social media using the hashtag, #MentalHygieneChallenge

All registered participants are eligible to win one of our weekly prizes draws. Prizes include free registration to this year’s Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, and 'MindSet Journals' from Press Pause.

Registration is now open at There is no cost to participate. All registered participants gain access to the Mental Hygiene Challenge toolkit, which includes a list of the 16 expert-approved mental hygiene practices with how-to videos, progress-tracking calendars, worksheets, and more. 

The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental health care, teaching, and research hospitals and is home to The Royal Mental Health Centre, the Brockville Mental Health Centre, the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health, and the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. Hope, access, and new possibilities are at the centre of everything we do. Through partnerships with clients, families, colleagues and community partners, our mission is to transform the lives of people living with complex and treatment-resistant mental health and substance use needs – today, and tomorrow. Click here to learn more about The Royal, our suite of services, and our impact.