Skip to main content

Mental Health Awareness Week

Did you know that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week? 

Caring for your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health. The difference is that we often take our mental health for granted and don't pay close attention to our emotional well-being. Being mindful of our physical and emotional stress is important at home, work and school. Children feel emotional stress as keenly as adults but don't always understand their own triggers. Helping our children to be mindful of their own reactions to the stress they may feel will help them cope with their frustrations, anxiety and develop their self-regulation skills. Teaching them strategies to calm and relax their mind supports their sense of well-being and encourages their mental health. Talk to your children about their mental health. 
 

Please see the letter below from the health professionals of our Board: 

We are writing to share information related to the Netflix series 13 Reasons WhyThe series deals with the difficult topic of suicide. Schools have an important role in preventing youth suicide. We feel it is important to share information with you at this time.
The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, and the book  this series is based on, may pose a risk to students who are struggling with stressful experiences. The story is of a 17-year-old girl who dies by suicide. She leaves behind cassette tapes for 13 people whose action she perceives were reasons why she killed herself. It is important to highlight that no person can cause another person’s suicide.
The series is raising concerns from suicide prevention experts about the potential risks. The series graphically depicts a suicide death and covers a number of difficult topics such a bullying, rape, drunk driving and shaming. It also portrays adults and counsellors as unhelpful.
Series like this one can lead to misinformation about suicide. You may wish to ask your child if they have heard of or seen this series. While many youth know the difference between a TV drama and real life, talking with adults about this subject is very important. Adults can help share the message that suicide is not a solution to problems and help is available. Research shows that exposure to real or dramatized stories of suicide can increase risk.
The following are suggestions which may help with the conversation:
  • Remind them that the series is fictional.
  • Share that it is normal to experience periods of stress and distress. Offer healthy coping strategies, e.g. exercise, art, journaling, talking to friends and adults they trust.
  • Let them know that there are adults at school who care and can help.
  • Talk about where to seek support if they need it from family members, counsellors, coaches, teachers, faith leaders, a crisis line like Kids Help Phone, 1-800-668-6868, etc.
  • Talk openly about emotional distress and suicide. Doing so in a fact-based manner does not increase suicide risk (see tips below).
  • If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, see your family physician and/or share your concerns with the school.
  • If the concern is more urgent, call York Region’s Crisis Response Service, 1-855-310-COPE (2673) or take your child to a hospital emergency department.  If there is an emergency call 911.​

Possible signs someone may be having thoughts of suicide:

  • Suicide threats, both direct (“I am going to kill myself.” “I need life to stop.”) and indirect (“I need it to stop.” “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.”). Threats can be verbal or written and are often found in online postings.
  • Giving away possessions.
  • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing and social media.
  • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts and/or feelings. This can include someone who is typically sad who suddenly becomes extremely happy.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family.​
Trust yourself as a parent/guardian. If you feel something is not right with your child or notice any of the signs above, do not hesitate to ask directly about thoughts of suicide.  This may be a tough conversation to have but sends a message that you are open to talking about suicide and increases the chances your child will seek help. That might sound like,

Sometimes when people are under stress, having trouble with friends, and worrying a lot, they have thoughts of suicide.  Are you having thoughts of suicide?” 
To learn more about safely talking about suicide, consider taking a suicide prevention program.  Find out more at Living Works.
Many staff in York Region District School Board are trained in suicide intervention and want to help. If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, or need additional resources, please contact your child’s school. Thank you for partnering with us to support student mental health and well-being.​ 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Message from our new Principal!

We welcome Westminster's new Principal, Mrs Murray. Please see her message below: 

My name is Melissa Murray and I am thrilled to be joining the staff of Westminster Public School as Principal in January of 2018.
I am passionate about learning and people. I’ve been an administrator in the North area of the Board for the past three years, and have enjoyed working in the WJ Watson (Keswick), Black River (Sutton) and Sutton Public School communities.
Prior to entering administration, I was a Curriculum Consultant with the Board, supporting our K-12 school libraries, literacy, social studies, and modern learning.  Before that, I taught grades 4-8, Special Education and library in both York Region and Toronto.
Along with being a proud educator, I’m an even prouder parent of two children, one in secondary school and one graduating this year from elementary school. My husband and I love our north Richmond Hill community, and especially appreciate how close we are to parks and walking paths t…

January is Tamil Heritage Month

On October 5, 2016, Motion M-24 was passed in the Federal Parliament, officially proclaiming January of every year as Tamil Heritage Month.  Tamil Heritage Month aims to celebrate the richness of the Tamil language and its literature, as well as to highlight the vibrant traditions, histories, arts, and cultures of Tamil Canadians. In addition, it seeks to recognize the significant contributions of Tamil Canadians in key areas of social, cultural, economic, and political spheres. 
According to the Tamil calendar, January 14, 2017 is the start of the Tamil New Year during the month of “Thai”. On this day Tamils around the diaspora will be celebrating Tamil New Year and Thai Pongal, the Tamil harvest festival. 
Thai Pongal is the most important and widely-celebrated festival amongst Tamils around the globe. Thai Pongal is a time to give thanks for the blessings of the previous year and a time to look forward to the New Year. Pongal refers to rice cooked in milk and sweetened with chakkarai…

Character Assembly on "Integrity"

Our Character Assembly this month will be focusing on "Integrity". Throughout the month, our students have been discussing what integrity means to them in the classrooms and with their friends in the school yard. Our students are learning that to have integrity means to be truthful and sincere; to care for the well-being of others by how they treat each other. Displaying integrity is not always easy. It is one of our most difficulty character traits to live by and sometimes it takes years to truly understand what it means.

We look forward to honouring those students who have displayed this trait at our awards assembly on Wednesday, October 28th at 11:15 a.m.

Parents and guardians are welcome to join us.  We thank Mr. Clark and Ms. Croteau's grade 2/3s for hosting the assembly this month.


"Integrity is doing the right thing even if it's difficulty; even when no one is watching." 


"If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it."