Now, more than ever, education around the numerous stigmas in society is needed as these stigmas continue to contribute to many young people feeling alienated and not being accepted and understood by their peers.
Welcome to the Virtual Stigma-Free School Program! We have changed and adapted what used to be our Stigma-Free Zone School Presentation to a virtual experience for schools. This enables schools to continue to educate their students on various stigmas, such as mental health issues.
How Does It All Work?
We work hand-in-hand with each school to schedule a virtual presentation. This presentation includes either a series of shorter documentary-style videos or one 50-minute documentary on various mental illnesses and other stigmas.
The presentations are by donation to the Charity, but the Stigma-Free Society will gladly still do a presentation if a donation is not possible. Schools that are able to donate will receive full and exclusive access to the Student Mental Health Toolkit.
Prior to the viewing of the documentary, educators are provided with pre-lesson plans so that they can discuss the video(s) and explain the purpose of discussing these topics with their students.
Subsequent to the showing of the video(s), two of our Virtual Stigma-Free Presenters will join your students through a virtual platform. Our presenter will then present their story to your students for 10-15minutes. This is followed by an interactive Q&A where
students are free to ask questions about the documentary and about our presenter’s personal stories. The total presentation is up to 30 minutes.
Our in-person presentations launched in schools in March, 2016 and reached over 50,000 students. We are beyond excited to be able to now provide this education virtually and continue to increase the number of students being educated on various stigmas, including mental illness.
Our Society encourages schools who receive our presentations to commit to working towards their Stigma-Free Zone designation.
For more information on criteria and the Stigma-Free Zone process please visit our website HERE.
The Virtual Stigma-Free School Program Step-by-Step Process:
- Schools book a presentation by emailing us at [email protected]
- The school uses this section including the short documentary-style videos or the 50-minute documentary and accompanying lesson plans for the teacher to use to help with discussing various stigmas with their students.
- Educator completes the lesson plans provided prior to the students watching the video(s).
- Students watch the documentary video(s).
- Students write down anonymous questions on pieces of paper in case they are needed during the Q&A portion of the presentation.
- The presenters join the students virtually to share their personal and inspiring story of living with and managing mental illness or stigma, which emphasizes that we all have struggles, but no matter what our challenges, we can live extraordinary lives.
- Students participate in an interactive Q&A session with our Virtual School Presenter.
- Youth complete a brief survey and share their hand-written reflections on their learnings from the presentation. Our Admin team follows up with teachers and all student feedback is anonymously submitted to allow for genuine reflection. Teachers also complete a Program Scorecard, which provides an opportunity for feedback and evaluation.
- Students are encouraged to take the Stigma-Free Tool after their school day is complete and they have had the rest of the day to ponder on their learnings. This allows youth to make a comparison from date of completion to visiting the Tool at a later date and discern whether their views about stigma have changed.
- Students and educators are encouraged to use the Student Mental Health Toolkit for further learnings on mental health and stigma.