Bluewater District School Board

Bluewater's Mental Illness Awareness Week 2019 page

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2019

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2019
Posted on 10/07/2019
Mental Illness Awareness Week 2019

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is happening across Canada from October 6 – 12, 2019. We encourage all of our school communities to get involved by promoting conversations and awareness around the importance of positive mental health and well-being, and ways in which to reduce stigma and support those living with mental illness. The resources below are being provided to spark dialogue among students, staff, and families during and beyond MIAW.

What is well-being?

"Well-being is a positive sense of self, spirit and belonging that we feel when our cognitive, emotional, social and physical needs are being met. It is supported through equity and respect for our diverse identities and strengths. Well-being in early years and school settings is about helping children and students become resilient, so that they can make positive and healthy choices to support learning and achievement both now and in the future."

Source: Ontario’s Well-Being Strategy for Education: Discussion Document, 2016, p.3

Well-being: A Strategic Priority in BWDSB

Bluewater District School Board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan includes the following priority and associated goals:

Ensure the well-being of students and staff in a safe supportive environment for teaching, learning and working
Provide a safe and supportive work environment that values and recognizes the personal strengths, professional contributions, and personal well-being of staff
Create conditions where students, staff, and parents/caregivers are comfortable and confident in seeking help and responding to student mental health and emotional well-being

“Promoting Mental Health: Finding a Shared Language”

The following video has been developed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as part of their Health Promotion Resource Centre (CAMH HPRC):


“Bounce Back” – Resilience

The Student Support Leadership Initiative (SSLI) Mental Health Awareness Week Action Team and Volunteers have developed the following resources for the Bounce Back…..Again, 2nd Edition. This group includes representation from Thames Valley District School Board, London District Catholic School Board Ontario Early Years Centre, mindyourmind, Middlesex London Health Unit, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health, and parent representation.

Animal Therapy
When was the last time you paid attention to your mental health? To achieve an overall healthy body, we all need to strive for both physical and mental wellness. What better way to feel happiness and joy, but by being around animals? Animal therapy has been shown to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, comfort the hopeless and distract those in pain.

Physical Activity
Physical activity releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain, which can decrease anxiety, stress, reduce your blood pressure, help you sleep better, focus your mind, and boost your self-esteem. Try yoga, walking, running or even just take 5 minutes out of your day to get in a good stretch for your muscles and joints. Join a group or club with a friend - this keeps you accountable to someone else and makes exercising more fun!

Did you know that the recommended length of sleep time for teens is 9 hours? Teens have a lot of time demands – everything from doing well in school, sports and other extracurricular activities to working a part-time job to save money for college. It is sometimes difficult to get a full 9 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to emotional challenges, such as feelings of sadness and depression. There are many tips to getting a good night’s sleep. A few of them are: try not to nap during the day, shut off electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime, keep the lights low, and avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. Are you getting your 9?

Eat Breakfast
There is a strong link to what we eat and how we feel. Are you feeling tired and sluggish during class? Did you eat breakfast this morning? Research shows that students who eat breakfast are better able to focus during class and they score higher on tests. Breakfast is the quickest and tastiest way to help you do better on tests and everyday school work. Three out of the four food groups completes a healthy breakfast! So “Break the Fast” and nourish your body and brain. Be Brighter with Breakfast!

Stay Connected
Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to listen to you or to have a shoulder to cry on. Reach out to your friends and family and talk to them about your problems and concerns. This can make you feel cared for and less alone, and provide you with a different view or solution to the problem.

Take a Break
Listening to music, going for a walk, and practicing deep breathing and meditation are all great ways to take a break from the everyday stresses of life. Remember to take time for you. It only takes a few minutes.

Do Something you Love
What do you love to do on your spare time? When we do things that we love, we feel good. So break out that old guitar, play the piano, sing a song, play a sport, dance like no one is watching, draw or paint…whatever you love to do! Just do it!

Ask for Help
It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. None of us are superheroes. We all sometimes get overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Talk to a trusted friend, adult, parent, teacher, social worker, guidance counsellor or public health nurse.

Care for Others
When we care for others, we feel good about ourselves. By giving our time, energy and skills to community programs and groups, we feel more connected to our community and the people in it, which in turn can give us a sense of achievement and boost our self-esteem and confidence. Do you have an organization or cause that is close to your heart? Connect to your community to inquire about opportunities or talk to your guidance counsellor for ideas.

What is resilience? It is the ability to bounce back or bounce forward from adversity and one of the key ingredients to success. The following announcements share some essential resiliency skills to help you bounce back!

1. What is Emotional Awareness?
Today’s bounce back/resiliency skill is: EMOTIONAL AWARENESS
You are in charge! When you are aware of your feelings, you can make choices about how you are going to act. In the busy-ness of your day, take a moment to pause and notice how you are feeling. Ask yourself, “Am I choosing the best way to act when I am feeling this way?”
Remember this important pact: Pause and think before you act!

2. What is Optimism?
Today’s bounce back/resiliency skill is: OPTIMISM
Everyone can learn to be optimistic! Optimism involves learning to think positively about the future – even when things go wrong. It’s about looking at the bright side of things. Today, when you are faced with a challenge, make a conscious decision to focus on the good. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make the best of this?” or “How else could I think about this?”
Think positive possibilities, not catastrophes!

3. What is Empathy?
Today’s bounce back/resiliency skill is: EMPATHY
Bouncing back with help from a friend makes you both stronger. We care and believe in you! When you see that someone is upset, take the time to show them that you care by listening to them. If they need help from an adult, go find them one.
Remember all the love you give away returns to fill your heart each day. 5

4. What is Self-efficacy?
Today’s bounce back/resiliency skill is: SELF-EFFICACY
Self-efficacy means believing you can reach your goals. It also means believing you can tackle the problems you face and bounce back.
Can you think of a challenge you faced recently? How did you bounce back?
Believe in yourself and you will see; you’ll reach your goals quite easily!

5. What is Reaching Out?
Today’s bounce back/resiliency skill is: REACHING OUT
“Reaching out” means asking for help when you need it. Remember, you are not alone. We all need support from others sometimes. We are all growing and learning every day.
When we get support from others, it makes it easier to learn from our mistakes and it’s easier to take risks and try new things. Who will you reach out to when you’re faced with a challenge?
When a challenging situation occurs in your day, reach out to someone who can help it go away.

m2Positive Inspirational Announcements

1. Did you know that kindness is actually good for your health? It’s good for you and the people around you. You will have more energy, feel calmer and sleep better. Remember to be kind.

2. ‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.’ This quote is from Mother Theresa. What kind words can you speak to someone today?

3. ‘If someone is too tired to give you a smile, leave one of your own, because no one needs a smile as much as those who have none to give.’

4. ‘Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.’ Keep this quotation in mind as you go through your day. Take the time to show kindness, caring and thoughtfulness.

5. ‘A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward’. Remember this and Have a Heart everywhere you go!

6. A Japanese proverb says ‘One kind word can warm three winter months’. Let’s remember to speak kindly to others today and every day.

7. Did you know that smiling is good for your health? Make someone smile by a thank you, a compliment, encouragement, a funny joke or story, being polite, being positive, being respectful, or with an act of kindness. How else can you make someone smile?

8. Did you know that smiling is contagious? When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. A smiling person will bring happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you. Make someone smile today!

9. Did you know that smiling relieves stress? Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you’ll be better able to take action. Make someone smile today!

10. Did you know that smiling can improve your mood? Next time you’re feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a good chance your mood will improve and you’ll feel better! Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood. Make someone smile today!

11. Did you know that smiling can help prevent you from getting sick? Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves, possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent colds and flu by smiling! Make someone smile today!


Additional wellness tips to share:
Middlesex London Health Unit

Source: Ministry of Education

Additional resources

The Grey Bruce We CARE Project has recently relaunched its website, which includes several mental health resources for youth:

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Grey Bruce Mental Health and Addiction Services offers various services in our local communities:

WES for Youth Online provides free counselling services to local youth:

The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health website features details on MIAW 2019:

On social media, Canadians are encouraged to use the hashtag #MIAW19 during this important special awareness week.

Bluewater District School Board is located on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
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