Supporting Mental Health at the SCDSB
Student mental health and well-being
Student well-being is critical to student success. When students are preoccupied with emotional concerns, they cannot participate fully in learning.
Similarly, students who are experiencing academic challenges due to learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities or other learning challenges can develop mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.
What is mental health?
Mental health is a state of well-being that helps individuals reach their potential. When we have positive mental health, we can cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and make contributions to our communities.
Mental health problems are emotional, behavioural and brain-related problems that interfere with development, relationships and functioning. It’s sometimes hard to recognize mental health problems. They can look like other difficulties, for example: defiance, aggression, avoidance or withdrawal.
Mental Health exists on a continuum. People can fluctuate between wellness and illness at different times in their life. When we recognize signs of mental health problems early and provide the right supports quickly, we can improve the outcomes for children and youth.
What is resilience?
Resilience refers to the ability to cope with problems and set-backs that happen as a natural part of life. Resilient people are able to utilize their skills and strengths to cope and recover from problems and challenges.
There are many ways we can promote positive mental health and resilience. People can learn how to become more resilient as they grow and develop. There are certain characteristics and circumstances that help to improve a person’s ability to be resilient:
- Healthy sleep habits
- Healthy eating habits
- Connection with the community, a sense of belonging
- Participation in music, sports, art or activities you enjoy
- Friends and family that are positive, supportive and loving
- Positive school experiences and connections
- Positive self-esteem
- Cultural or spiritual connections
- Skills related to communicating, problem-solving
- Social and emotional skills
Tips for supporting your child or teen
It’s natural for students to feel occasional stress, and it’s not uncommon for students to need support to assist with their mental health and well-being. Parents can help by providing practical support:
- help your child/teen create a schedule
- offer to help your child/teen prioritize assignments
- be available to listen to your child/teen when they need to talk and avoid making judgments
If you feel your child or teen may need additional support, start by contacting your family doctor. Contact the school as well to make staff aware of your concerns. School staff will also contact parents if they’re concerned about students.
Schools and parents need to work as a team to support students.
Support is available within the SCDSB
We provide training to staff to help them recognize signs that a student may need additional support.
Students are encouraged to reach out to someone at school if they’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.
Their guidance counsellor, student success teacher, special education teacher or classroom teacher can help. We also have a team of professionals available to assist:
- 12 social workers
- 29 child and youth workers (CYWs), including two First Nations, Métis and Inuit workers
- five psychologists & five attendance counsellors
- two mental health & addiction nurses
Support is available in Simcoe County
24 hour mental health crisis line 1-888-893-8333 or 705-728-5044
Canadian Mental Health Association 1-800-461-4319
Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
Mobile Crisis Line 1-888-893-8333 or 905-310-COPE
Access the 211 directory by phone (dial 2-1-1) or at www.211ontario.ca for information on community resources related to a specific concern.