Mental health awareness has been a focus of the Huron-Superior Catholic District School (HSCDSB) for the entire 2015-16 school year. Recently, over 400 staff from all schools and work areas participated in mental health training designed to assist students and staff at all schools and Board workplaces.
“Supportive environments and well-being is one of the pillars of our Multi-Year Strategic Plan, so these workshops were just some of the supports that we have put in place this year to strengthen the mental health of our employees and students. But this isn’t just a one-day focus. We will continue to provide counsel to anyone who feels in need of such assistance,” said HSCDSB Director of Education, John Stadnyk.
Safe Talk and Mood Modules sessions were the focus of the May 20, 2016 Professional Activity Day. Safe Talk is suicide prevention and intervention training that equips participants with the skill set to identify the potential warning signs of suicide. The Mood Modules sessions focused on showing staff the signs and symptoms of mood disorders and depression and highlighted classroom strategies for students who have mental health needs.
”The opportunity to share school-based strategies for educators who support students with mental health needs was an especially valuable and appreciated in-service training for staff at the Board,” said HSCDSB Mental Health Lead, Kerri Dool.
Recent incidents of multiple suicides of young people in First Nations communities and Woodstock, Ontario have raised concerns surrounding the issue. These incidents have also raised awareness about the importance of strengthening education about mental health needs and supports.
“Safe Talk can have profound implications in raising awareness about the topic and also assists staff in recognizing the warning signs for suicide, not only among students, but also within the broader community,” added Dool.
The Board appreciates the collaboration of Sault College, Canadian Mental Health Association, Algoma Family Services, and the Community Care Access Centre in helping to offer this critical staff training.