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The Stigma-Free Society is Growing, Expanding & Looking for Feedback!

What a ride it’s been since March 2020 with COVID-19 and all the things that come along with living through a pandemic!

Stigma free online toolkitBefore COVID-19, much of the work of the Stigma-Free Society was conducted through in-person presentations at schools and organizations where we would educate youth and teens about mental health awareness, the elimination of stigmas and how to live a stigma-free life. As COVID-19 became more rampant and with the closure of schools and an unknown future, our charity needed to pivot and ensure we were able to continue to promote our important messages.

Our team quickly rallied and with the support of our Board of Directors, we were able to create our COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit in a matter of 15 days. The Youth Toolkit has sections for both youth (grades 4-6), teens (grade 7-12) and based on feedback from our community, sections were added for parents and educators.

While less-restrictive COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, our team continues to work hard at adding content to this Toolkit on a weekly basis.

We’ve also realized over the past few months that there are a number of other areas that need our attention and support….and here is where we need you!

We would truly appreciate your feedback on the current Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit so we can continue to add content, education and ensure we are capturing the needs of our community.

In addition to the COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit, we are working on the following online resources:

Stigma-Free Youth Mental Wellness Toolkit

This toolkit will be similar in structure to our COVID-19 Toolkit, but will have more general information on mental health, mental illness, activities to stave off boredom and conversation cards to help adults and youth/teens keep communication open – always, not only during a pandemic. Basically, this is a revamp of the COVID-19 Toolkit to ensure that the content is still available to the public once we get through this pandemic and will be especially useful for Educators wanting to teach on the topic of mental health.

Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit

This particular Toolkit is being created for people living in rural, farming and countryside communities. We have been advised that life in a rural community has a number of challenges and information and education to individuals living in these communities is desired and needed. We are also working with professional peer support trainers, and hope to bring this component into fruition for these communities.

ALL of the above new resources require plenty of content creation, organization and research. We are asking for feedback, suggestions and input on all of the above resources, including the already launched Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit.

  • Have ideas? We want to hear them.
  • Have suggestions? Great! Pass ‘em over.
  • Are we missing something? Let us know!
  • Know someone who is an awesome writer and wants to volunteer? Amazing! Send them our way.
  • Is there an area we’re missing? We want to know about it.

Your feedback is incredibly important to us and we 100% are open to hear it. Please send any and all feedback, suggestions and/or ideas our way. You can email your feedback to [email protected] and we will be in touch very soon!

Thank you for your interest and support.

Author, Lindsay Goulet, Community Development Manager, SFS

How Educators Can Use our NEW COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit

The Stigma-Free Society has been extremely pleased with the feedback on our new Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit. This new Toolkit is an online community-based participatory program that aims to promote mental wellness in grades 4-6 and grades 7-12. Both parents and students have provided incredibly useful feedback on the site, and the Charity is working hard every day to provide accurate information, additional resources, updated activities and continued education for educators, parents and students.

During the BETA launch of the Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit, we recognized that not only will parents and students benefit from the information on the site, but this is an incredibly useful tool to Educators who are navigating online education.

We are beyond excited to announce that the Surrey School District (SSD) is piloting our new Online Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit with their Educators in the coming months. The SSD has been an incredible supporter of the Stigma-Free Society and we are grateful for the support of Daniel To, Principal of the Surrey School District. Our Charity is very much looking forward to receiving feedback from all people who are helping to educate youth and teens.

The Stigma-Free Society welcomes your input on our Wellness Toolkit as an educational resource to online teaching. Upon visiting https://stigmafreetoolkit.com, click on the Educators Tab, which leads you to useful downloadable resources and showcases a menu to explore the rest of the website.

The COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit will be useful to Educators in the following ways:

  1. Help generate conversations with students during their online schooling (see SFS Conversation Cards);
  2. Explain COVID-19 to students in different ways and be a useful tool to help ensure that all students have the same information about COVID-19 (see our Video Library); and
  3. Provide ideas and suggestions for parents on activities that their kids can do to keep busy (see Youth/Teen Activity Generator).

Here are just a few ideas on how Educators can use the new COVID-19 Wellness Toolkit in their online classrooms:

  1. Share ‘Ben’s Story During COVID-19 Comic’ with students and have them create their own comic with their personal experiences at home, and ask them to re-frame their reactions during COVID-19;
  2. Share one of the many downloadable resources (e.g. 10 Ways to Help Manage Anxiety) and have students draft strategies that work well for themselves;
  3. Similar to the activity generator, have students create a poster on what they are doing to stay healthy during COVID-19 and have them refer to the poster during times of boredom, or confusion;
  4. Have students watch one of the many videos on the site and write a response about how they felt during the video, what they learned and information that helped them the most; and
  5. Have students refer to the ‘Inspiring Stories’ Page and share their own stories on a submitable 2-3 minute video, or research inspiring historical figures.

We truly appreciate Educators and especially those who have taken the time to navigate our new Online COVID-19 Toolkit.Thank you so much for providing us with some very useful feedback. We look forward to hearing from our Educators and learning how you are using the site, as well as hearing any feedback or suggestions that you may have.

Much support to you all during this time.

Author, Lindsay Goulet, CDM, Stigma-Free Society

Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit – COMING SOON!

The Stigma-Free Society is bound and determined to continue to educate youth on mental health issues and combat stigma of all kinds. With COVID-19 putting a halt to our school presentations, we decided to create a new online Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit.

Our new online COVID-19 Toolkit Program will inform educators and students in grades 4-6 and grades 7-12 about mental well-being, with an emphasis on living a Stigma-Free life. Without significant guidance and support, many young people may end up suffering in silence and isolation. The COVID-19 Toolkit Program will work to eliminate this harmful reality, and instead, provide tools and resources in a home learning environment that opens up conversations free of stigma, particularly about mental health while encouraging overall wellness. We are excited to be able to provide an extremely useful online resource for not only our youth and teens but also for parents and educators.

Here are just a few of the areas we are including in the online COVID-19 Wellness Toolkit:

  • Daily updated information from reputable sources on COVID-19 and its impact on Canadians;
  • Resources and mental health assessments for youth and teens, so they are able to check in on their mental health;
  • Activity ideas for both youth and teens to help them stay busy when they are unable to see friends in person, or participate in their regular extracurricular activities;
  • A parent resource section with “Stigma-Free Conversation Cards” that provide parents with questions to ask their children to spark conversations about COVID-19 and mental health;
  • The website features a Comic Book called, “Ben’s Story,” which highlights a young person’s approach to the COVID-19 situation;
  • Numerous illustrated animations and a 10 Tips for Mental Health Booklet showcases healthy avenues for youth to care for their mental well-being;
  • Resources that are youth and teen-friendly so they can navigate the site themselves and learn more about COVID-19 and mental health; and
  • Live events that include Q&A’s with a psychologist, workouts with a fitness professional and so much more!

The Stigma-Free Society’s plans to launch our new COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit on April 13, 2020, and we are working hard to create an incredible site that parents, educators, youth and teens can easily navigate and learn from. During these uncertain times, it is important for our youth to feel connected and educated on what is happening in the world around them. We are striving to create a program that provides accurate and important information in a helpful and non-scary way.

It is more important than ever that our youth learn about mental health and wellness, and take steps to help maintain their mental health every day. We hope that our site will provide them with the information they need to stay in a positive state of mental health and also provide resources for them should they find themselves struggling with their new reality.

Stay tuned for more information. We are also open to suggestions, so if you have an idea of what you’d like to see included in the Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your ideas at [email protected]

~Author, Lindsay Goulet, Community Development Manager