Mental Health & Wellbeing

Welcome to the WCDSB Mental Health and Wellness page!  You can find resources here to grow your knowledge on mental health topics, learn a variety of daily wellness practices that can help you manage stress, get connected when additional supports are needed, and learn about how WCDSB is promoting wellness in our school communities.

Wellbeing During COVID-19

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We’ve stretched! We’ve pivoted! We’ve reinvented! And we’ve forged ahead in spite of uncertainty. It hasn’t been easy – and it’s okay not to be okay. You are not alone. We are all in this together. In the short term, we can’t always change our circumstances, but there are some things we can do to change our experiences of what’s happening, as we “put one foot in front of the other” during this difficult time.

On this page you can find a variety of links resources to promote wellness – both during the pandemic, and also more general resources that can be promote positive mental health in our school communities. For those of you who might be interested in a deeper dive into concrete activities that can support student mental health during the pandemic & the “return to school”, visit these School Mental Health Ontario Covid-19 resource pages. Select the link below that best fits your role in our school communities.

Educators

Parents and Families

Students

We all have a role to play in promoting positive mental health in our school communities. To learn more general information about what you can do (not specific to covid), select that category that fits you best & check out the broader range of resources from School Mental Health Ontario”

https://smho-smso.ca/

 

School and System Leaders

Educators

Students

Parents and Families

SMH Professionals

Other School Roles

Some examples of what you will find…

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Daily Practices to Promote Wellness

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Incorporating calming activities into your day – even if only for a few minutes – can make a huge difference in your experience of stress & how you respond to challenges.

There is no one-sized-fits-all approach – what works for you might not work for others.  And what works when you’re only a little bit stressed may be very different from what works for you when you’re feeling very overwhelmed.  Below are some examples of relaxation activities. Give them a try and then ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you like something reflective where a narrator is coaching you?
  • Do you prefer something with just music?  White noise?
  • Does it help you breathe slowly and deeply if someone sets the pace for you?  If not, set your own pace – try to increase the “space between your breaths” without actually holding your breath.  Try to slow it down at a pace that’s comfortable for you.
  • Does it help you to have a visual image guiding your pace of breathing?
  • Do your muscles get tense when you’re feeling stressed? Does Progressive Muscle Relaxation help you with that?

Make note of how you feel in your brain/body/mood before, during, and after these activities.

Better yet, participate in a wellness challenge (over a day? A week? A month?), and commit to spending a set period of time each day (2 minutes? 5 minutes? 10? More?) to engage in a wellness practice proactively.  Reflect on your mood over this period of time, and if you are observing a change in your experiences of stress.

Many people will struggle to direct their attention towards a mindfulness activity for a set period of time, and will find their thoughts wandering towards to-do lists and worries. Your brain is like a muscle. Start small! You will get better at it. Every time you catch your mind wandering and can rejoin the activity is a step in the right direction.

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If you or someone you care about is struggling, you are not alone.

There are services online and in our community that can provide support. Please follow these links for more information:

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WCDSB Educator Classroom Resource Cheat Sheet (Staff-only)

Staff can use your board email account to access this Google Doc: https://bit.ly/30Mf62x

Would you like to learn more about mental health? 

These resources are to help parents, students and members of the community to better understand mental health and mental illness, support well-being for yourself, your family and your child(ren), and find community services when the need arises.

Mental health is a “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” (World Health Organization)

Mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness. It is a sense of emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being that enables us to meet the opportunities and challenges of life with a sense of confidence and hope.

We support student mental health and well-being by building capacity to:

  • Promote positive mental health for all students
  • Reduce stigma
  • Build student socio-emotional learning skills
  • Identify students who may be experiencing mental health problems
  • Build pathways to care and support services in the community

This CAMH video explains the separate but interconnected concepts of mental health and mental illness, as well as what it means to ‘promote mental health’, in ourselves, in our schools, and in our communities.

Growing Mentally Healthy Schools

We strive to be a leader in championing the importance of mental health and well-being of students and staff, and consistently demonstrate a commitment to fostering safe and inclusive learning environments. We believe that supporting mental health and well-being is essential for development and learning and is an enabler for academic success.

Our annual plan and broader longer-term strategy for promoting wellness in our system are articulated here: