Support Children's Mental Health Week - May 7 to 11, 2012
Above: A video created by North Toronto CI students and teachers.
This year, the TDSB is celebrating Children’s Mental Health Week from May 7 to 11.
We know that one in five students is impacted by a mental health issue, and that only one in six of those students get the help that they need. The first symptoms of mental illness generally appear between the ages of 14 and 24, which is why early intervention is so critical - recovery is possible with proper consultation and treatment.
Our recent investments in mental health awareness and treatment have created the largest and most diverse group of mental health professionals of any Canadian school board. We are one of the first school boards in Ontario to hire a Coordinator of Mental Health and Wellbeing and the first to establish a Trustee-initiated Mental Health and Wellbeing Committee. The TDSB has also identified and trained mental health lead Principals and Vice-Principals in all of our Families of Schools. Just this year, in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada Opening Minds Program, we have initiated anti-stigma and mental health literacy programs in nearly 40 secondary schools including: Stop the Stigma, The Jack Project, Talk to Youth Lately, and Elevated Grounds. As well, in partnership with Ontario Shores, we have trained 10 secondary schools in implementing the Mental Health and High School Curriculum Guide.
In April, TDSB and The Hospital for Sick Children launched a groundbreaking partnership. This three-year agreement with the hospital’s TeleLink Mental Health Program will not only give students and their families access to more than 40 child psychiatrists, it will enable students and TDSB staff to take full advantage of their education program and school experience. For more on Telepsychiatry, CLICK HERE.
Suggestions to Promote Awareness of Children’s Mental Health and Wellness To help promote involvement in Children's Mental Health Week, you are encouraged to connect with your School Support Team to discuss plans for the week and talk with your colleagues about ideas they may have for your school. Some suggestions for school-based activities include:
Have the school librarian choose and display some reading material and other resources on mental health issues.
Have someone from Professional Support Services speak to staff or group of students.
Use some time during the morning announcements to highlight the issue.
Have an assembly to focus on this topic or a related aspect.
Have a Professional Support Services staff person partner with the Public Health nurse assigned to the school, and/or a Mental Health professional from a Board agency partner to present at a parents' meeting or an event at the school
Resources for teachers, parents and older students
Interested Twitter users can participate in a Twitter chat hosted by Mobilizing Minds and Mindyourmind on May 8, from 1 to 2 p.m., by following the hashtag #YAMH. More information is available at http://bit.ly/I3b2wm.
Finally, check out the Walk So Kids Can Talk event, hosted by Kids Help Phone on May 6. For more information head to www.walksokidscantalk.ca.