Halton Catholic Board Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Week 2014

Halton Catholic Board Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Week 2014

Each year, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) designates the first week in May as Mental Health Awareness Week. This year, the week runs from May 5 – 11, and the Halton Catholic District School Board joins organizations from across the country in encouraging people to learn, talk, reflect and engage on issues related to mental health.

“We know that the mental health of our students is closely related to their engagement and overall success in school,” says Patricia Webber-Callaghan, the Board’s Mental Health Leader. “We are committed to fostering a sense of belonging and well-being for all of our students, in each of our schools, and have begun to roll out our three year plan to ensure that the needs of our students are being met.”

At the Regular Board Meeting on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, the Board of Trustees was presented with the first in a series of reports on the Halton Catholic District School Board’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. The Board report provides an overview of the data recently collected through surveys of students, staff and parents, as well as a summary of the work currently being undertaken by the Board’s Mental Health Leadership Team.

“Some of the actions identified in the Board’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy include the ongoing development and implementation of evidence-based programs such as Roots of Empathy, Developmental Assets, Running Programs and Peer Mediation, to help our students achieve success in the socio-emotional areas of their lives,” further explains Patricia Webber-Callaghan. “In our schools, Child and Youth Counsellors, Social Workers and Psychology staff are available to provide support to students as needed.”

In June, 2011, with the support of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Ministry of Education, the government released Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. As part of its plan to address student mental health and addiction, and in collaboration with School Mental Health Assist, the Ministry of Education committed to providing all school boards in Ontario with funding in order to hire Mental Health Leaders. The Halton Catholic District School Board received this funding in August, 2013, and soon afterwards, hired its leader.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It is estimated that 10 – 20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder. (Source: CMHA)

Both Mental Health Awareness Week and Catholic Education Week take place during the first week in May in Ontario. Across the Halton Catholic District School Board, the Curriculum will reflect both themes, with a focus on service to one another in faithfulness, humility, compassion, justice and joy.​​

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