From May 7 – 13, 2019, St. Margaret’s School will join the Canadian Mental Health Association in celebrating Mental Health Week through a range of activities that will help to promote and acknowledge the role of good mental health in living a full and meaningful life.

A group of student volunteers with the help of Mrs. Fairbrother, Mrs. Steele, Mrs. Cheveldayoff, and Mrs. Emmerson, have put together a week of activities to get the entire SMS community involved.

“We all have mental health, and it’s just as important as our physical health, but unfortunately we aren’t conditioned to talk about it,” said Mrs. Fairbrother. “As a group, we are hoping to raise awareness about the significance of mental health and encourage students to talk about it.”

In any given year, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness. That equates to seven million Canadians. Unlike with many physical ailments, only one-third of those experiencing the symptoms of mental illness will seek help. Children’s mental health is equally at risk and that risk is growing. The case for school-based mental health promotion is as clear-cut as it gets. Research shows that school-based mental health promotion programs:

• Enhance the regulation of emotions
• Enhance coping and problem-solving skills
• Enhance empathy and respect for diversity
• Improve attitudes about self, others and school
• Improve academic achievement
• Decrease bullying and aggression
• Decrease behavioural problems
• Reduce emotional stress, anxiety, depression and suicide
• Reduce drug use

Mental Health Week will take place all week long with a range of activities that will encourage students to talk about the subject matter, spread awareness, support each other, and build a solid foundation of mental wellness.

Schedule of events and activities:

May 6, Mindful Monday: Take a mindful walk on the wood chip trail at 12:30 pm! Meet by the flagpole.

May 7, Release Your Tension Tuesday: Make your own stress ball in the MY Courtyard.

May 8, Wellness Ways Wednesday: Share your wellness ideas on the Wellness Centre glass walls! Also, participate in yoga outside on the field (12:00-12:30 pm for FY and 1:00-1:30 pm for MY and SY).

May 9, Share Your Thoughts Thursday: Pay a compliment today! Give someone a compliment and make them smile. Compliment cards will be available on the SY mental health bulletin board.

Also, a brain dump activity will take place for SY students. Write your thoughts on the library bulletin board; students anonymously share their thoughts and feelings on sticky notes provided and respond with supportive messages using different colour sticky notes.

May 10, Friendship Friday: Good friends are great for mental health. Have a picnic lunch outside with friends today!

Students are invited to take part in some or all the activities. Get Loud is the theme of the Mental Health Week campaign and it’s a call to action. There are many ways you can get loud, but one of those ways is to get involved. The other is to use the hashtag #SMSGetLoud and help spread the word.