The Halton District School Board recognizes Children’s Mental Health Week from May 4-10, 2014

Schools plan events to raise awareness about youth mental health issues

Child with hands on pebbled glass looking out, burnt read background

The Halton District School is proud to recognize and support Children’s Mental Health Week from May 4-10, 2014.

Various activities are planned at schools throughout the Board to highlight the week, which is designed to decrease the stigma associated with mental health, and increase awareness of the signs of child and youth mental health problems and available treatment options.

“We recognize that positive mental health is a significant factor that contributes to overall student success and has been a focus for our work in the Halton District School Board,” said David Boag, Superintendent of Education-Student Services. “Children’s Mental Health Week provides an opportunity to highlight the great work taking place in our schools to support the mental health and well-being of our students.”

To kick-start the week, the Board held a Mental Health Symposium on April 30, where more than 350 staff attended. At this event, it was announced that RBC, as part of its Children’s Mental Health Project, will donate $120,000 to support the Symposium over the next three years. It will support initiatives like the Board’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, specifically targeting the area of building mental health literacy across the system.

Numerous strategies and resources were also made available to staff members at the symposium to share with their schools and school communities to create a greater awareness of mental health issues in youth and how to best address them. Staff members were provided a mental health promotion toolkit. Also, the Board launched its Pathway to Care document, which details services within the school board and within the Halton community, how to access these services and what to expect from them.

Georgetown District High School has daily activities planned to promote the week, highlighted by a Mental Health Fair on May 8. It showcases different youth agency booths with services and staff available for discussion. The groups taking part include Posse Project, Cornerstone Health Centre, Distress Centre, Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services of Halton (SAVIS), Halton Police, ADAPT, Community Care Access Centre, ROCK and Nelson Youth Services.

Other activities taking place at Georgetown District High School include making mental health buttons to promote self-esteem; the showing of mental health awareness videos and mental health games; and wearing green to support mental health awareness.

Emily Carr Public School in Oakville is holding events to bring awareness to emotional and social well-being. The week will begin with an opening assembly on Monday, May 5 addressing respect with guest speaker Chris Vollum of Social Media Fitness 101. He will also be leading a parent workshop that night starting at 7 p.m. In addition, the school will offer meditation, hip-hop, Yoga stretching and nutrition talk activities.

On Tuesday, May 6, a free mental health awareness event will be held at Sam Sherratt Public School in Milton from 6 – 8 p.m. Called You Are Not Alone: Family Stories on Mental Health, Halton families will share their personal stories about mental health.

On Sunday, June 1 at 9 a.m., the Halton Runs for Mental Health event, co-sponsored by the Halton District School Board, is taking place at the Waterfront Hotel in Burlington. The objective is to promote positive mental health by walking or running in the 5 km event. Schools and individuals are invited to collect sponsorships to support individual or group participants. All donations up to $5,000 will be matched by The Amarna Fund at the Oakville Community Foundation. All funds raised will be used to promote mental health in schools in the 2014-2015 school year.

The Halton District School Board supports the promotion of positive mental health and well-being to support student success for all students. The Board works to create positive, engaging, safe and inclusive learning environments for students to succeed by increasing mental health literacy across the system, making connections to the Ontario curriculum, promoting positive mental health and communicating the services available within the school board and within the Halton community.

For more Board mental health information and helpful links, click here or visit www.hdsb.ca and click on the ‘Mental Health and Well-being’ button located on the homepage.

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