As students settle into the new year, schools are refreshing their focus on mental wellness. A new campaign, led by the District’s Safe and Caring Schools Team, is looking at how to manage stress – especially given the impact of the pandemic on children and teens.
The year-long endeavour involves everything from enhanced training and workshops for the mental health staff leads at each school and professional development opportunities for teachers, counsellors, and learning support staff to an awareness campaign for all students.
Nick Christofides leads the District’s Safe and Caring Schools Team.
We know there are more struggles because of the pandemic. Stress is something we all experience throughout our lives and knowing how to channel and manage it can be transformative.”
Previously, the Safe and Caring Schools Team has led the focus on other aspects of mental health, such as the connection of sleep to mental wellness. The decision to look at stress this year is due to the impact of the pandemic and will help students with the tools to view stress through a different lens.
When you ask students and adults about stress, many assume that it’s a bad thing. The truth is much more nuanced. Not all stress is bad. In fact, stress can be channeled to help you succeed. And since you can’t avoid stress, you can work to make it your friend. Those are some of the things we want to explore during this campaign.”
The work is part of the District’s Mental Health Strategy and builds on earlier efforts in schools to encourage positive mental health practices, outlets, and to support students with what’s called mental health literacy – the language and awareness they need to identify what’s happening for them.
Your mindset is an outlet. Knowing where to go for help is an outlet. Some of the big outlets that children and youth need are the positive things connected to schools, such as friends, supportive adults, and extracurricular activities. Learning healthy outlets and revisiting good practices when things get difficult is critical.”
Initiatives supporting mental wellness and stress management will take place throughout the 2022-23 school year – many of which will be student-led. All secondary schools have a mental health club, and each of them is planning awareness and education for their school community. The District Student Advisory Council will also host a mental health conference in the Spring for secondary students.
Scroll down to see more of the school campaign below.
Learn More About How Burnaby Schools Are Supporting Mental Wellness
Posted October 2022