The Stigma-Free Society believes that mental health education ought to be integrated into all classrooms across British Columbia and beyond. Over the past few months we’ve been working hard to create our Student Mental Health Toolkit for youth, educators, school counsellors, and parents/guardians, who want to teach and promote mental wellness for Grades 4-7 and 8-12.
We have also turned the Society’s in-person mental health/ anti-stigma presentations into a virtual program online. In this way our wonderful staff are able to connect and interact virtually with students and educators over ZOOM, or Microsoft Teams!
ABOUT THE STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH TOOLKIT
The Student Mental Health Toolkit has an incredible amount of valuable information and activities for students, educators, school counsellors, and parents/guardians.
One area we have always been particularly proud about is the inspiring videos from youth sharing their personal experiences of facing various forms of stigma. These videos inspire, provide hope, and can positively change lives.
When students are struggling with mental health problems, it is common for them to feel alone in their struggles. By hearing stories from others, they learn that they’re not alone and there’s hope. Listening to these types of stories may also inspire individuals to speak up and reach out for help.
The Student Mental Health Toolkit includes Downloadable Resources and Mental Wellness Lesson Plans for Grades 4-7 and 8-12 that align with B.C. school curriculum. They are also cross-curricular and can be used in many course subjects. Lesson Plans are created on an ongoing basis by a Surrey School District Youth Counsellor, Registered Psychologist, and trained Educator.
Our detailed school lesson plans can be used by educators to teach students about mental health, stigma, and inclusion. Additional downloadable resources are available for parents, educators and school counsellors to share valuable information regarding mental wellness. The more we increase our awareness about mental health and wellness, the better our community will be.
We’ve also included toolkit sections that everyone can use such as students, teachers, school counsellors, and parents/guardians. We offer information that everyone can find useful for every-day living.
STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH TOOLKIT SECTIONS
Diverse-ability and Inclusion
There is a section in the Student Mental Health Toolkit devoted to Diverse-ability and Inclusion. At the Stigma-Free Society, we use the term “diverse-abilities” rather than “disabilities”. We encourage people to celebrate what we CAN do, instead of what we CAN’T do.
The Diverse-ability and Inclusion section teaches students new ways of looking at themselves and others by celebrating each other’s strengths and prioritizing inclusion. This is an extremely valuable tool for students to learn as they are developing their identity and building their self-esteem. This section informs students on how to embrace one another’s uniqueness and potential. Additionally, this section provides a wide range of resources including an engaging comic book, conversation cards, personal experiences from those with diverse-abilities and steps to achieving inclusion at school.
Youth Wellness Activities
Staying physically and mentally active is extremely important in order to maintain our mental health and well-being. The Society’s section on Youth Wellness Activities supplies students with many activities that offer a mental health boost! These include activities are appropriate for classrooms, or while at home. Wellness activities can serve to promote healthy coping mechanisms as youth learn to manage their own mental health.
By transforming our method of delivering mental health education to a virtual format, we are ensuring students continue to receive education on mental health and wellness.
Mental health education is currently more important than ever. A pandemic is a very stressful experience for both individuals and communities. Having the resources to cope with mental health issues during this time is vital.
There is a need to improve children and adolescents’ access to mental health support services during the current pandemic. This should involve education surrounding the importance of health and providing strategies to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Furthermore, it is essential that students understand the importance of reaching out for help with any problems that they may have with their mental health.
We would like to invite you to navigate the new Student Mental Health Toolkit and check out all of the new information we have available.
Feedback is always welcome.
Please email us at [email protected] if you have any comments, questions or feedback for us!
We are constantly adding new information, lesson plans, downloadable resources and activities to our toolkit, so be sure to check back regularly!
Author, Cosette Leblanc, Stigma-Free Intern, Adler University