October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The goal of this globally recognized day is to raise mental health awareness. This year’s theme focuses on youth and young adults age 14 to 28 by examining “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.”
According to World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) President, Professor Alberto Trimboli,
Our young people today face constant stressors and challenges – happening in their own lives and in the world around them. Many of the issues facing our young people today, such as bullying, suicide, the onset of major mental illnesses, the effects of trauma, and gender guidelines on how we can protect and empower the next generation. The acts of prevention, early interventions, resilience and services are the key factors in creating a healthy future for our young people.
Mental health and well-being is foundational to student learning and development. Schools play an important role in advancing and supporting the development and maintenance of well-being for children and youth. As outlined in Ontario’s Well-Being Strategy for Education, the goal of promoting well-being “is based on the principle that our education system needs to help students build the knowledge and skills associated with positive well-being so they can become healthy, active, and engaged citizens.” Promoting well-being is about fostering environments that encompass physical, cognitive, social, and emotional domains.
At Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB), we use a tiered approach to mental health and wellness based on positive mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention. Building resiliency is an important component.
Well-being/positive mental health is embedded in the work we do at AMDSB. We use the School Mental Health Assist Leading Mentally Healthy Schools Resource to guide this work.
At our Board, we promote mental well-being through everyday mental health practices and building socio-emotional learning skills. We offer mental health and addictions professional development, identify students struggling with mental health issues, and have various prevention supports for students at risk. For students in need, we refer to our internal support staff and/or to our community mental health service providers.
Dr. Michael Ungar, internationally renowned clinician and researcher on the topic of resilience, recommends building resilience through a Social Ecological Approach. As a community, Huron and Perth County service providers are incorporating this perspective into working with complex needs students. By looking at the environment around our children and youth as the basis of change, trying to remove barriers to service, focusing on the child/youth’s individual needs, and finding solutions that fit the context of the child/youth’s experience; we are working on building resilience among the young people in our community.
Mental Health and Addiction Supports for Students
Mental health and well-being supports for our students are provided by various community partners including Choices for Change, Huron County District Health Unit, Huron Perth Centre for Children and Youth, Local Health Integration Network (Mental Health and Addiction Nurses), Perth District Health Unit, as well as members of our AMDSB Mental Health Team.
For Emergency Mental Health Care
Huron Perth Helpline and Crisis Response Team: 1-888-829-7484