Bluewater District School Board

Bluewater's Mental Health Week - May 3-9, 2021 page

Mental Health Week - May 3-9, 2021

Mental Health Week - May 3-9, 2021
Posted on 05/03/2021
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Mental Health Week, which occurs from May 3 – 9, 2021.  The CMHA encourages everyone to #GetReal about how they feel!

To kick off Mental Health Week, our community partners at CMHA Grey Bruce are pleased to share this hopeful message from local icon, Cheryl Hickey:

We also encourage students, staff, and families to take note of and bookmark the following resources, which are always available thanks to our partners in mental health.  A more extensive list can be found on our Bluewater District School Board Mental Health and Well-Being web page.

Canadian Mental Health Association
Children's Mental Health Ontario
Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services
School Mental Health Ontario

Bluewater District School Board’s mental health team continues to work virtually to support students.  Those in Grades 7-12 can access one of our team members here: Request for School-Based Mental Health Support 

For younger students, parents/guardians are encouraged to contact their child(ren)'s school(s) for support with navigating local options.

Banner for Mental Health Week - May 3-9, 2021 with BWDSB logo and graphic of human face profile surrounded by coloured balls of tissue paperMinding Your Mental Health

According to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia, 40 percent of Canadians say that their mental health has deteriorated since the dawn of this pandemic.  In Bluewater District School Board, we recognize the importance of prioritizing mental health.  Everyone from staff to students and members of our community are feeling the stress of COVID-19 in varying ways.  Below we have created a list of 10 ways that students can improve their mental well-being while participating in school online.

1. Stick to a schedule: Carving out time in your day to do schoolwork, eat meals, and take breaks can improve your overall productivity.  Wake up at the same time you would have before the pandemic and get ready as if you were going to school.  During the time that you would usually commute to school, try finding an alternative activity to prepare yourself for your day.  This might mean going for a walk, doing some yoga, or listening to one of your favorite podcasts.

2. Connect virtually with others: The term “social distancing” can be misleading.  It is important to recognize that social distancing does not mean social isolation.  Connect with family and friends virtually and regularly.  You can schedule a weekly games night or morning workout with some of your favorite people!  Trivia, HeadsUp, Charades, and a variety of online games are all fun options that can be played virtually, over a video call.

3. Get a good night’s sleep: If you are a teenager, you should be aiming to get between 8 – 10 hours of sleep each night to feel well rested.  Having enough sleep not only makes you feel more alert and ready to take on the day, but improves your mental well-being.  To ensure that you are getting enough rest, try choosing a time at night where you stop using technology, because oftentimes, it can cause you to stay up later than you intended.  You say that you are going to watch just one episode of “The Office”, and before you know it, you have finished the season…  We have all been there!

4. Set aside time for hobbies – old and new: Perhaps you have a passion for painting, reading, playing an instrument, or folding origami cranes.  Whatever you enjoy doing, set aside dedicated time to do it!  Engaging in enjoyable activities clears and revitalizes your mind.  Incorporating “hobby breaks” throughout your week will better allow you to separate work from play, so that you avoid endless scrolling and other forms of procrastination.  This will result in more productivity during your dedicated work time, thus decreasing stress and adding some fun to your day.

CMHA "Name it, don't numb it" graphic with four faces representing emotions of 'afraid', 'happy', 'angry', 'sad'; "#GetReal about how you feel."5. Keep active: You do not need to be a hard-core athlete to find a means of exercise that you enjoy.  Running, walking, shooting hoops, doing yoga, tossing a frisbee, and going for a bike ride are only a few of the many wonderful ways that you can improve your mental well-being through exercise.  Regular physical activity can increase your self-esteem and reduce stress/anxiety.  Physical activity also helps to prevent the development of mental health problems in the future.  Here is a link to Yoga With Adriene if you are interested in trying a virtual yoga class:

6. Go outside: Being out in nature has been proven to improve mental well-being.  There is actually a scientific field that explores ecotherapy, and has revealed that spending time outside reduces stress, depression, and anxiety.  Go for a walk at home or at your nearest park/conservation area.  In fact, one of the perks of online learning is that you can take your schoolwork outside or have a picnic in your backyard at lunch!

7. Share your feelings: There is a reason that the CMHA decided to make this year’s Mental Health Week theme, “#GetReal about how you feel”.  Allowing yourself to talk with a friend or writing about how you feel in a journal helps you to process your emotions in a healthy way.  Plus, sharing your feelings with a friend will probably reveal to you that so many other people feel the same way as you do.  You are not alone!

8. Eat well: Have you noticed that eating junk food at irregular times in the day can cause your mood to fluctuate?  It is all too easy to pick up inconsistent eating habits while working from home, but like we covered earlier, sticking to a schedule is key!  Eat well-balanced meals, at regular times in the day, to improve not only your physical well-being, but also your mental well-being.

9. Take breaks from social media and the news: While it is important to stay informed about what is happening in the world, it is also helpful to set aside time to disconnect from the chaos of the outside world.  Perhaps this means setting an alarm for 8:00 p.m. that reminds you to shut off your phone before bed, or giving yourself a specified period of time in the morning to check the news before embarking on your day.

10. Listen to music: Music can allow you to process your emotions in a healthy way, or can be used to keep you calm during times of high anxiety or stress.  For those of us who are not musically inclined enough to play an instrument for ourselves, fortunately, there are many platforms to listen to the music of others.  You might like classical, jazz, pop, R&B, rock, folk, or simply the calming sounds of nature.  Whatever your go-to genre of music is, listen to it more often!  Apps like Spotify even have dedicated playlists for wellness and relaxation!


Submitted by: Avryl Bender, John Diefenbaker Senior School student
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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