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Talking About Mental Health: October 2018

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.

Resilience is our ability to recover from difficulties and adapt to change; to be able to function as well or better after a challenge. Resilience is an important part of good mental health. We all can develop resilience, and we can help our children and youth develop it as well.

The following tips are taken from Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers, by the American Psychological Association. For more information see:

Tips for building resilience

Make connections 
Teach your child how to make friends, including the skill of empathy, or feeling another’s pain. Encourage your child to be a friend in order to get friends.

Help your child/youth by having them help others 
Children and youth who may feel helpless can be empowered by helping others. Engage your child/youth in age-appropriate volunteer work, or ask for assistance yourself with some task that they can master. At school, brainstorm with children about ways they can help others.

Maintain a daily routine 
Sticking to a routine can be comforting to children, especially younger children who crave structure in their lives. Encourage your child/youth to develop their own routines.

Take a break 
While it is important to stick to routines, endlessly worrying can be counter-productive. Build regular breaks into school and home routines.

Teach your child/youth self-care 
Make yourself a good example, and teach your child/youth the importance of making time to eat properly, exercise and rest. Make sure your child/youth has time to have fun.

Move toward goals 
Teach your child/youth to set reasonable goals and then to move toward them one step at a time. Moving toward that goal — even if it’s a tiny step — and receiving praise for doing so will focus your child/youth on what they have been able to do rather than on what they haven’t done, and can help build resilience.

Nurture a positive self-view 
Help your child/youth remember ways that they have successfully handled hardships in the past and then help them understand that these past challenges help them build the strength to handle future challenges.

Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook 

Even when your child/youth is facing very painful events, help them look at the situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. An optimistic and positive outlook allows your child/youth to see the good things in life and keep going even in the hardest times.

Look for opportunities for self-discovery 
Tough times are often the times when children/youth learn the most about themselves. Discuss with your child/youth what they learned after facing a tough situation.

Accept that change is part of living 
Change often can be scary for children and youth. Help your child see that change is part of life and new goals can replace other goals.

Have a mentally healthy day!

Jenny Marino is the Mental Health Lead for Upper Grand District School Board
Follow Jenny on Instagram @ugdsb_mental_health