Throughout the 2017/2018 school year AMDSB has focused on providing mental health, addictions and well-being education and support to students and staff.
In December 2016, a board-wide professional development day with a focus on ‘Supporting Well-being in AMDSB’ was held with Dr. Jean Clinton child psychiatrist / professor as the keynote speaker. The work in 2017-18 continued to be built around Dr. Clinton’s key messages that “relationships are at the heart of education”. A student needs a healthy relationship or connection to a Caring Adult to feel a sense of belonging and engagement in the school system.
In 2017-18, AMDSB implemented Mental Health and Wellness Champions within each of our schools.The Mental Health and Wellness Champion is a voluntary position in each elementary and secondary school who helps support the AMDSB Mental Health, Addictions and Well-Being Strategy. They help to promote mental health awareness and prevention activities, and assist in overseeing local Mental Health Week activities within their schools.
Supports were also provided for our staffs throughout the year, including professional development on topics such as: mental health support strategies, student engagement, self-care, and panel discussions with our schools and mental health and addiction services. These workshops also included a presentation from Dr.Robert Shepherd on Mental Health at the elementary level, and a focus on Teenage Brain and Emotional Regulation for our secondary staff.
Newsletters were distributed to Mental Health and Wellness Champions and school administrators with live links for additional access to resources and supports.
Throughout the year, AMDSB led various workshops and presentations such as:
- “Healthy Kids” on November 15, 2017 – featuring various speakers to over 150 attendees throughout the community with a focus on supporting healthy behaviours in students.
- ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) for 30 grade 7-12 school staff in April, 2018.
- Mental Health First Aid Training – Offered three times a year for any staff to complete.
- Substance Misuse by Choices for Change, Health Units and the local police.
In addition, AMDSB hosted mental-health provider meetings held for secondary school staff, mental health fairs at various elementary and secondary schools, and five mental health events throughout our communities.
The board continues to focus on refining and strengthening pathways to care, coordinating and providing mental health and addiction services to our students and partnering with many local resources. Such as;
- Huron Perth Centre for Children and Youth
- Perth District Health Unit
- Huron County Health Unit
- Choices for Change
- Southwest LHIN – Mental Health Addiction Nurses
- Rural Response for Healthy Children
- Family Health Teams
- Huron Hospice
- Huron Perth Helpline and Crisis Response Team
Spotlight: Bedford Elementary
Bedford Elementary, inspired by a school in Quebec has designed a sensory path which allows students to release energy and tension by travelling through a series of physical movements like hopping, skipping, balancing, jumping and stretching while improving their ability to learn. Students and staff took part in the creation of the sensory path – with kindergarten students designing the hopscotch path, and the words of affirmation to include on the squares.