Mental Health & Well-Being
You(th) Matter in AMDSB
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Bell Let's Talk Resources for Students
During the month of January, we focus on mental health and well-being. This focus surrounds and includes Bell Let's Talk day, which was January 28th this year. Below you will find the resources which were introduced to students in class on or around January 28th, organized by age group.
A sense of belonging, a positive school climate, and social emotional learning (SEL) are three areas we are focusing on from January until June 2021 as we continue to make mental health and well-being priorities in AMDSB.
Our Mental Health and Well-Being Department, along with community partners, created the videos for grades 4-12 students about stress and coping, and building resilience. We thank FauxPop productions (home of the Staysh), Huron Perth Centre for Children and Youth, Rural Response for Healthy Children, Tanner Steffler Foundation, and Dr. Michael Ungar for his research on building resilience. Thank you also to our Curriculum Department for resources, and to our Research and Communications Departments.
Kindergarten - Grade 3: Social Emotional Skills
- identify and manage emotions
- cope with stress
- stay positive and persevere when things are difficult
- build and keep healthy relationships
- understand and celebrate our identity, and
- engage in critical and creative thinking.
Grades 4-6: what is stress and how to build resiliency
Grades 7-12: stress and anxiety and healthy coping strategies
What is Mental Health?
We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health and dental health. Mental health is one component of overall health.
The World Health Organization defines Mental Health as "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and, is fruitfully able to make a contribution to his or her community."
Mental Illness is characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour associated with significant distress and impaired functioning. Examples are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, etc. (Public Health Agency of Canada).
It is helpful to think of mental health and mental illness as separate but interconnected concepts on a continuum.
See the Promoting Mental Health: Finding a Shared Language video above for further information.
At Avon Maitland District School Board we use a tiered approach to mental health and well-being.
"There is a clear relationship between student mental health difficulties and academic achievement. AMDSB plays an important role in supporting mental health and wellness for our students. At our Board we promote mental well-being through everyday mental health practices, build student socio-emotional learning skills, and have various prevention supports for students at risk. We offer mental health and addictions professional development, try and identify students struggling with mental health issues, and refer students in need to our internal support staff and/or to our community mental health service partners. A key component to student well-being, though, is the caring educators and their genuine connection to students. This is why the well-being of our staff is also very important."
-Dr. Anne Robinson, AMDSB Mental Health Lead
Let’s Talk About Gratitude
Gratitude is a practice where one actively expresses appreciation and thankfulness. It allows us to be aware of the present moment and enjoy the aspects of our lives that are going well. According to News in Health research, a practice of gratitude can improve your emotional well-being by helping you cope with stress and negative thinking.
At the YOU MATTER symposium we asked students and community partners to practice gratitude and to help us build a gratitude tree. We wanted our gratitude tree to be a visual representation of what is appreciated as a community. Some of the things that were included on the tree were: family, food, friendships, pets, healthcare, having clean water, going to school, and sports. Are these things that you are also grateful for?
At the end of last school year, we asked schools to review their OurSchool Student Survey data. What did students tell us about attending our schools? Do they feel safe? Do they feel like they belong? Do they feel valued? School staffs completed a Leading Mentally Healthy Schools Reflection Survey to self-assess the criteria for a mentally healthy school and to determine where they might focus for the 2019-20 school year.
We realized that often, we take each other for granted. We expect students and staff to know they matter. We expect students and staff to feel like they belong because we think they belong. Unfortunately, we may not take the time to tell people how much we value them and we might not take the time to find out if students feel like they belong!
In an effort to remind all of our students and staff that THEY MATTER, our school doors proudly display a decal to remind everyone when they enter our buildings that they matter. We want them to feel a sense of belonging here in AMDSB!
AMDSB Mental Health Newsletters for Families
AMDSB Community Partners in Mental Health
- Choices for Change
- Huron Hospice
- Huron Perth Centre for Children & Youth
- Huron Perth Helpline and Crisis Response Team
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Huron Safe Homes for Youth
- Huron Women’s Shelter
- Local Health Integration Network
- My Journey Program (Health System Navigation) in partnership with the Huron Community Family Health Team
- Ontario Provincial Police/Stratford Police
- Rural Response for Healthy Children
- Family Health Teams
- Stratford/Perth ShelterLink/Victim Services of Huron County
- AMDSB Staff EAP (Moreau Shapell): 1-800-387-4765
- CAMH - Growing Up Resilient
- CAMH - Raising Resilient Children
- Nine Things All Children Need to Be Resilient
- Ministry of Education - Bullying Awareness and Prevention
- Canadian Red Cross - Definitions of Bullying and Harassment
- PREVNet - What Parents Need to Know
- The Power of Positive Adult Child Relationships: Connections is Key by Dr. Jean Clinton
- Flipping Your Lid - Science of Emotional Dysregulation
- How to Spot Signs of Mental Health Concerns in Children
- Resiliency - Learning to Weather Tough Times
- Self Injury Guide for Parents & Caregivers
- Children and Youth Mental Health: Signs & Symptoms
Let's All strive for Positive Mental Health