Before introducing any discussion, activities, or programming about mental health in the classroom, read the WCDSB "Guide for Programs and Presentations Related to Mental Health". Talk about mental health safely and effectively!
Fostering Strength & Resilience:
Well Aware: Here is a fabulous series of books about building mental health and well-being, written by popular children's authors. Based upon, "Well Aware: Developing resilient, active, and flourishing students" by Dr. Pat Carney, A book about building positive student mental health, for teachers. Suitable for grades 4-8:
Creating calm and readiness to learn: Yoga in Your Chair! Fun, creative, for elementary students.
Video: Ready to Learn. Approaches to self-regulation and calming, in the classroom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O8t__3Vu9I
Home-grown in Wellington Catholic, "Strengths in Motion" is an approach to fostering strength, resilience, and well-being in students. See it at work in WCDSB schools at: www.strengthsineducation.ca
Morning Class Meetings: How to set the tone for learning. Great video! https://www.edutopia.org/practice/morning-meetings-creating-safe-space-learning
Video: Creating safe spaces in the classroom using 'morning meetings'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMctALPpLF4
Mental Health Awareness & Anti-Stigma for Classrooms:
"Elephant In The Room": Anti-stigma campaign for schools: www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/page/elephant-in-the-room-campaign
The "Elephant In The Room" classrom poster: www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/documents/Advocacy/1_EN_CLASSROOM_Letter_noLogo_O.pdf
Video: Living with mental illness: Suitable for intermediate and secondary students: www.camimh.ca/mental-illness-awareness-week/faces-of-mental-illness
Understanding Mental Illness: www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness
Kids Have Stress, too! An excellent resource for teachers to help build resilience and help kids cope with anxiety. Can order free Stress Kit: www.psychologyfoundation.org
Our Students Engaged in Mental Health Awareness
Mr. LeBlanc's grade 7/8 class explored through discussion and extensive research how "to deal with stress in a healthy way. The following is the result of a culminating health assignment from 2 students.
Talking about Opioids, Fentanyl? Get the Facts: https://smh-assist.ca/blog/new-info-sheet-on-opioid-misuse/
Teach Mental Health: For early career or experienced educators. Lessons plans, powerpoint presentation, and self-assessment quizzes.
From the University of British Columbia https://www.teachmentalhealth.org/
Supporting Students with Mental Health Challenges:
Supporting Minds: An Educator's Guide to Promoting Student's Mental Health & Well-Being
Ministry of Education, K-12 resource guide with classroom strategies. This document was created for Ontario teachers: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/health.html
Anxiety Disorders of Canada. Current information & tips for helping: www.anxietycanada.ca
This page explains different kinds of anxiety disorders: www.anxietydisordersontario.ca/links/
Selective mutism at school: When a child can, but does not speak. An excellent resource for parents, teachers, and clinicians. www.amazon.ca/Helping-Your-Child-Selective-Mutism/dp/157224416X Practical steps, helpful solutions.
School Mental Health Assist website: www.smhassist.ca
Everything you want to know about children & youth mental; health and wellness. Section specifically for teachers. www.kidshealth.com
From the Hincks-Dellecrest Centre in Toronto, the "ABCs of Mental Health". Information on the early signs of mental health problems. Good section for educators This site is highly recommended! http://www.hincksdellcrest.org/abc
From CMHA Waterloo-Wellington-Dufferin:http://www.kidsmentalhealth.ca/professionals/mh_for_teachers_classrooms.php
Ontario Educator Resources for Student Mental Health http://www.edugains.ca/newsite/mentalHealth/index.html
Mental Health First Aid is an excellent course, offered locally through Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin. Great professional development for staff: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental Health and High School. www.cmha.ca/highschool
Video: Cookie Monster self-regulates! "Me want it (but me wait)". A charming video for primary students on self-regulation. www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PnbKL3wuH4
From Today's Parent", an article for teachers and parents alike:http://www.todaysparent.com/family/education/self-regulation-techniques-for-children/
Video: "Resisting the Marshmallow" An instructive video on self-regulation in younger children. http://video.pbs.org/viralplayer/2365399705/
Suicide & Self-Injury
"What High Schools Teachers Need to Know About Self-Injury": Powerpoint presentation suitable for staff meeting or professional study group: www.insync-group.ca/publications/Health2005Selfinjury.pdf
Self-harm information for educators. Includes free online workshop: www.insync-group.ca/professionals.php#SchoolProfessionals
Suicide Awareness Council of Guelph Wellington Duffferin: http://suicideawarenesscouncil.wordpress.com
Canadian Mental health Association: Understanding Suicide: www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/suicide/
Psychology Works Foundation: "What every Canadian needs to know about suicide": http://www.cpa.ca/docs/File/Publications/FactSheets/PsychologyWorksFactSheet_Suicide.pdf
Identify self-injury in intermediate and secondary students: www.insync-group.ca/publications/NSSI_Schools_Feb2013.pdf
Mental Health and High School support for teens, parents and school staff www.cmha.ca/highschool/
Video from the Mayo Clinic on Teen Suicide Prevention
|Some youth are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems because they live with loneliness, isolation, bullying, and/or other serious stressors. Know who they are. Reach out to them. Be familiar with the Wellington Catholic District School Board Suicide Prevention Protocol.|
Aboriginal youth are six times more likely to die by suicide. Fact sheet: http://suicideinfo.ca/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=MVIyGo2V4YY%3D&tabid=563Thirty-three
Thirty-three percent of youth with developmental disabilities need mental health services (Compared with 14% of non-DD youth): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3464013/
Parental suicide in last two years places youth at significantly higher risk: www.psychcentral.com› News › Suicide News, and, www.wrspc.ca/need-help/risk-factors
Youth who are struggling with issues of gender identity or sexual orientation are at higher risk of suicide than their peers.
Substance abuse is implicated in suicidal thoughts and attemtps; substance users are at greater risk of harm to self.
If you are an educator who has a concern about a potentially vulnerable student: There is help for students at school and a process for hearing your concerns! Speak with your administrator(s), social worker, youth worker, guidance teachers, special education teacher, or student success teacher.
See, also, the Board's Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Tragic Response Protocol for fact sheets and tips for identifying potentially vulnerable students and for approaching potentially suicidal students. Available from your administrator or Mental Health Lead.
|Children who have experienced trauma suffer from social, psychological, cognitive, and biological issues, including problems with executive functioning, decision-making, regulating emotions, and social problem-solving —all of which make it very difficult for a child to succeed in school.
As educators we need to be sensitive to the signs of trauma, to its effects on a child at school, and to understand how best to support such a child.
Grief & bereavement:
Culturally sensitive approaches to supporitng bereaved students: www.education.com
"The Coping Centre" in Cambridge offers resources and support around loss: http://www.copingcentre.com/programs.htm
From Dr. Allan Wolfelt, a comprehensive guide for educators supporting bereaved children: http://griefwords.com/index.cgi?action=page&page=articles%2Fhelping31.html&site_id=9See, also, the WCDSB 2014-2015: Suicide Prevention, Intervention, & Tragic Response Protocol