Talking About Mental Health: December 2019
Throughout the school year, UGDSB Mental Health and Addiction Lead Jenny Marino 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.
Give the gift of resiliency
As we head through December and toward the holidays, it is important to be aware that this can be a very exciting time of year, but for some it is also a difficult time of year.
- Eat well
- Get good sleep
- Don’t over schedule
- Stay connected to family and friends
- Keep daily routines going
- Avoid over-use of technology
- Get outside and enjoy the crisp, fresh air
Holiday ‘connecting & reflecting’ ideas:
23 Days of Giving
Every day in December have everyone put something that they don’t use or need into a basket. Later in the month you can go as a family and donate to a shelter or community center.
Have a wall in the home where everyone can add sticky notes of what they are grateful about from the year. Focus on lessons learned, new skills and strategies used throughout the year.
Rose, Bud, Thorn
Have everyone identify one or two things that they feel were successes from the year (rose), something that was a struggle (thorn) and what they did to overcome the struggle, and something they are looking forward to in the new year (bud).
Signs that someone is struggling
Sometimes it’s hard to tell that someone is suffering. Here are some signs that someone is struggling:
- Not coming to school or work
- Not engaging with friends or family
- Not participating in activities that they used to enjoy
- Feeling hopeless
- Increase use of drugs or alcohol
- Changes in behaviour
If you, your child/youth or someone you know is struggling, it is important to know where to reach out for help.
Who would you talk to if you were distressed, overwhelmed or struggling? Take a moment to make a list of at least three people or resources you would reach out to.
Who would your child/youth talk to if they were upset, overwhelmed or struggling? Take a moment to sit down with your child/youth and ask them who they would talk to. Put the Kids Help Phone and HERE 24/7 or DCAFS number in their phones (see below).
All children and youth need caring adults in their lives to talk to about their feelings. Parents/guardians can be some of those caring adults, but it is important for the children/youth to have other caring adults in their lives such as:
- Family members, friends of the family
- School staff (e.g. teachers, guidance counsellors, principals, child and youth counsellors, social workers, librarian, custodial staff)
- Coaches, instructors
- Spiritual or religious community
- Community members (police, family doctors, librarians, etc.)
Who you can call for mental health support
- Here 24/7 (for crisis and support with mental health or addiction concerns in Guelph/Wellington) http://here247.ca/ 1-844-437-3247
- Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) (for crisis and mental health supports for children/youth in Dufferin) https://dcafs.on.ca/ 519-941-1530
- Kids Help Phone https://kidshelpphone.ca/ 1-800-668-6868
- Your family physician or family health team
Have a mentally healthy holiday season!
Jenny Marino, Mental Health and Addictions Lead for the Upper Grand District School Board
Follow Jenny on Instagram #upper_grand_mental_health