Talking About Mental Health: April 2017

Throughout the school year, Dr. Lynn Woodford shares tips and resources for improving our mental health and well-being. Additional mental health resources for students and parents/guardians can be found on the board website.

Child and Youth Mental Health and Well-being Week is the first week of May. It is about promoting mental wellness, increasing awareness of the child and youth mental health, decreasing stigma and understanding that support is available. Let’s improve everyone’s mental health and well- being!

The theme for Child and Youth Mental Health and Well-being at UGDSB is: Have a SUPER Week!

Social Connections
Understanding Emotions
Personal Health

Each day of the week will focus on a different aspect of mental health and well-being. All UGDSB schools will be provided with resources and activities related to each day’s theme.

As a parent, you can increase the mental health and well-being of your children, youth and family too. Here are some suggestions:

Monday May 1: Social Connection – “Be the reason someone smiles today.”
Say Hi to 3 people that you do not know. Perform a random act of kindness.

Tuesday May 2: Understanding Emotions – “Understanding emotions creates positive actions.”
Right now, stop and reflect on how you are feeling. Take a couple of moments as a family to do some deep breathing. Now, how are you feeling?

Wednesday May 3: Personal Health – “Move, sleep, eat, repeat. Keep yourself healthy every day.”
Did you know that how our bodies feel affects how good we are feeling? Three of the best things you can do to improve your mood is to exercise, sleep well and eat well. Go for a walk or play a game, get outside, turn off the devices an hour before bed and eat fresh food! The more you do to help your body feel good, the better you will feel! Also on Wednesday, wear GREEN to support mental health awareness.

Thursday May 4: Empowerment – “Change your thoughts, change your world.”

You are encouraged to look for ways to make a difference in your school and community. Start small, you never know where it will lead too.

Friday May 5: Resilience – "Every challenge is a learning experience.”

Mental health and well-being means coping with the ups and downs of day to day life. Building more resilient thoughts and skills can really help. Children and youth can also find support by seeking help from caring adults. Take time now to talk with child or youth about who those caring adults are in their lives.

For more information about mental health and well-being and interactive activities with your children and youth:

  • Mind your Mind (Fun, interactive options for de-stressing for youth)
  • Smiling Mind (An app that guides you through simple, calming meditations)
  • GoNoodle (Fun interactive body and mind breaks for kids)

At the end of the week, talk with your child/youth about the things that made them feel more connected, emotionally aware, healthy, empowered and resilient and continue to do those things every day. Most of all… have a SUPER week!

Dr. Lynn Woodford is the Mental Health and Addiction Lead for the Upper Grand District School Board. Follow Lynn on Twitter @drlynnwoodford