Mental Health Focus Of Several Initiatives In Rainbow Schools

PEERS® adolescent support program in Rainbow Schools
Public Health Sudbury & Districts and the Rainbow District School Board have teamed up to pilot a social skills training intervention program.
Called PEERS®, the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills is geared to teens with autism spectrum disorder.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, says forming and maintaining trusting relationships with teachers, friends, family, and adults is key to students having a sense of belonging and supporting their mental health.
The research project is taking place in a Grade 8 classroom with non-autistic students for 16 weeks.
Board Mental Health Lead, Mary Jago, says students will be given the opportunity to improve social and coping skills, enhance emotional and behavioural well-being, and increase awareness about mental health and prevention strategies.
Dr. Sutcliffee adds facilitators want to determine if the program can be effectively transferred to the classroom setting for the benefit of all students.

Kids Have Stress Too! ®
Grade 1 and 6 students in Rainbow Schools are learning strategies for stress and success.
Since September, they have been engaged in Kids Have Stress Too! ®, a program that aims to positively influence social and emotional development.
Board mental health lead, Mary Jago, says research tells us that stress among children is estimated to have increased 45 per cent over the past 30 years.
She adds, stress can affect a child’s ability to get along with others, think intuitively, and learn.
Kids Have Stress Too! ® is being delivered by Rainbow District School Board’s mental health team in six-week blocks. Students engage in a series of skill-based activities and lessons that range from five to 50 minutes.
Teachers, who are involved in the program as learners, are taught a variety of ways to create a peaceful, safe and stimulating classroom environment, while delivering the curriculum.
“The Kids Have Stress Too! ® program is one of many ways in which the Board is fulfilling its commitment to enhance the mental health and well-being of students and staff,” says Norm Blaseg, Director of Education for Rainbow District School Board.
Rainbow District School Board adopted its first Mental Health Strategic Plan in September 2018. The plan guides the Board’s work by embedding student mental health policy within its strategic planning; raising awareness to decrease stigma and increase the capacity to recognize the signs of mental health problems early and how to access the appropriate intervention; and implementing evidence informed promotion, prevention, and intervention mental health services to promote mentally healthy classrooms.
Wolves United supports mental health at Espanola High
Sports, social activities and chats are all part of an initiative coming to Espanola High School.
Espanola High School Principal Kristina Rivard Gobbo says students will walk away with tools and strategies to help cope with, and manage, their own mental health.
The school received a $1,900 grant from Wolves United, a partnership between the hockey organization and United Way that supports youth-based programming.
The money will be used by the mental health collaborative inquiry team to host two Mental Health and Well-Being Afternoons for all 470 students, which will be held in the near future.
Gobbo adds students will explore healthy coping strategies for anxiety and stress, and ways to recognize and understand mental health conditions in others.
To review the board’s mental health plan strategies, go to the LINK: https://www.rainbowschools.ca/news/rainbow-district-school-board-adopts-mental-health-strategic-plan/

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