Posted in School Information

YRDSB Mental Health Newsletter

Student Mental Health and Addictions Newsletter December 2021

The ABCs of Mental Health: A focus upon Bridge & Connection

In this Newsletter, we continue our focus on the ABCs of Mental Health framework with a closer look at B-Bridge and C- Connect both at school and at home.

Acknowledge, Bridge and Connect are interrelated and work one with the other. Acknowledgehelps us center and validate the lived experiences and realities of students, staff and families. In our previous Newsletter, we noted that acknowledging lived experiences and realities is the beginning, but is not enough. In this effort, Bridgeand Connection aid us in creating learning environments where growth and healing can occur. As we continue to navigate COVID-19, these are important now more than ever.

B- Bridge Bridging centers on the fact that your children/our students, staff and families possess personal, cultural and community assets and strengths. When we all learn about these assets and strengths, we can better build meaningful and affirming connections and enhance growth, healing, and shape student/family support opportunities. When we Bridge, we honour and value varying ways of knowing, being and doing in the world. Children and families are seen as the experts in their lives. Their interests, assets, unique beliefs, traditions, experiences and strengths are valued, respected and reflected in the learning environment. Beyond this, when we Bridge, we affirm that families and communities are essential and valuable allies.

C- Connect Connect encourages us to build connections based on the strengths, assets and interests shared by our students, staff and families. Establishing positive connections is vital and fundamental to the experience of mattering and belonging. This is equally important both at school and at home. Caring is at the core of forming positive connections and relationships. We consider the difference between “caring for” and “caring about.” Geneva Gay invites us to consider, “while ‘caring about’ conveys feelings of concern for one’s state of being, ‘caring for’ is active engagement in doing something to positively affect it.” Caring for encompasses a combination of concern, compassion, commitment, responsibility, and action. When we engage in the action of caring for one another, the outcome is a sense of mattering and belonging. It tells our children /students, staff and families that:

  • I belong here
  • I matter here
  • I am valued here
  • I am cared for here

Connection and relationships must be cultivated, and care must be actioned. By this, we mean relationships require attention, intention, and ongoing effort. Care must be seen and felt.

We invite you to consider and do One Small Thing that demonstrates caring for someone. “A simple call to a friend brightens someone’s day – it’s a small thing.” -YRDSB Student.

YRDSB Mental Health acknowledges the importance of cultivating positive relationships and building community not only with students and staff but with families and community members. We understand that to best support students and strengthen our school board’s mental health supports; we must listen, learn from, and collaborate with families and community members. In this effort, we have created a feedback formas a starting point to hear your voice as parents and caregivers and learn how we can shape and improve supports and resources that enhance students’ mental health and wellbeing.

We look forward to creating pathways for caring connections and meaningful relationships with parents, caregivers, and families. Share your voice by using this feedback form, and let’s pave the path forward together.

What are students saying about the ABCs of Mental Health? Have a look at this Video. To learn more about the ABC Framework & lesson series, please visit YRDSB ABCs

We invite you to consider the followingfree seminar focused on Connection:

Getting Teenagers Connected – Help your teenager develop good, supportive friendships. You’ll learn ways to build their confidence, encourage social skills, help them to plan and meet commitments and encourage them to take care of others. Click here to register.

The link below is dedicated to supporting student mental health. Resources for students, parents/guardians, and community resources are listed. Please consider taking some time to familiarize yourself with the Mental Health and Community Supports. Continue to check out the YRDSB website for updated information as well as the Twitter accounts @YRDSB and @YRDSB_SS.

Patricia Marra-Stapleton, M.Sc., C. Psych. Assoc. Mental Health Lead patricia.marra-stapleton@corybarlow123

Hoshana Calliste, MSW, RSWAssistant Coordinator of Mental Health