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Supporting Student Mental Health at the TDSB P.I.A.C Conference

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Presentation on theme: "Supporting Student Mental Health at the TDSB P.I.A.C Conference"— Presentation transcript:

1 Supporting Student Mental Health at the TDSB P.I.A.C Conference
Parents Make A Difference Increasing Knowledge & Enhancing Confidence November 15, 2014 Heather Johnson Social Worker Mental Health & Well-Being System Support

2 Schools are optimal settings to: Promote positive mental health
Why are Schools Excellent Places to Support Student Mental Health and Well-Being? Schools are optimal settings to: Promote positive mental health Reduce stigma Build social-emotional learning skills Work to prevent mental health problems in high risk groups (students who many have multiple issues) Identify students in need of support Articulate paths to intervention SMH ASSIST

3 What guides our work at the TDSB? …
School Mental Health(SMH) ASSIST –a Ministry of Education implementation support team designed to help Ontario school boards promote student mental health and well-being through leadership, practical resources and systematic research-based approaches to school mental health SMH ASSIST began in the school year and over the next 3 years, phased in all 72 Ontario Boards The TDSB was included at the beginning of Sept school year An additional Social Worker- Mental Health Training and Promotion, was hired in Sept by the TDSB, recognizing the scope of the work at the TDSB Open Minds Healthy Minds – 10 year Strategy to promote mental health and well being in the province- work between 10 ministries

4 Upstream 4

5 What do we picture when we hear “mental health?”

6 What is Mental Health? “... A state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” World Health Organization

7 Mental Health Exists on a Continuum

8 Tiered Mental Health Supports
Clinical intervention for students with mental health concerns occurs largely in partnership with community and health settings All (caring classrooms, mental health promotion, social-emotional learning instruction, stigma reduction) Some (targeted prevention) Few Our focus, is to create mentally healthy environments for students and to build skills amongst students who are struggling through prevention programming

9 All of us have mental health
It is like physical health – on a continuum which can vary over time It depends on many factors including: life circumstances and biological dispositions Mental illnesses, like physical illnesses, exist with a range of severity and treatment options

10 MH Interventions Can be Simple Acts of Kindness

11 The TDSB Commitment is Clear…
Mental Health and Well-Being is essential to student success. We will make children and youth mental health and well-being a priority at the Toronto District School Board.

12 Mental Health & Well-Being Strategic Plan Creating Mentally Healthy Schools

13 Mental Health Belongs to Us
Children and Youth Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy Highlights of the Implementation of the Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy - Year 2 High Quality Services and Programs Ongoing professional learning and training of staff to further understanding and knowledge of Mental Health and Well-Being: Anxiety Suicide prevention, intervention and postvention A Caring School Culture and Healthy Physical Environment Mental Health Action Plans and Mental Health Teams in every school Evidence based practices and programs in schools will be highlighted A “Caring Adult” program in every school 3. Parent and Community Partnerships Enhance parent and community agency engagement, as partners in supporting students’ mental health and well-being: A winter/spring Parent Symposium on Mental Health awareness Other events/workshops/conferences to increase awareness of mental health and well-being A Supportive Social Environment Expansion and enhancement of anti-stigma initiatives in middle schools and secondary schools A winter/spring Student Symposium on anti-stigma Promote students’ mental well-being by fostering resiliency, self-regulation and positive self-esteem


15 Parent and Community Partnerships
Expanding and strengthening mental health partnerships to meet schools needs - utilizing Professional Support staff to foster partnerships ie. Toronto Public Health (promoting mental health), Children’s Mental Health Agencies Enhance parental engagement and on-going communication between home and school – newsletters, s, parents education events and members of School Mental Health Teams. Parent Symposium May 2015

16 How do I know when something is wrong??
The first rule…”trust yourself”. You know your child / teenager. Trust what you hear and see. Parents can also observe mood changes or behaviours that seem excessive or unusual which could indicate a mental health problem. Consider frequency, intensity and duration when noticing an area of concern. When behaviour interferes significantly with a child / youth’s functioning at home, at school or in the community seek additional help from your school, family doctor or a community service provider. Parent-child relationship is a protective factor; however everyone experiences challenges to our mental health and well-being throughout the lifespan. Parents are also often the first to notice when something is wrong….

Social Worker/Attendance Psychologist Child and Youth Counselor/Worker Guidance Counsellor Speech and Language Pathologist Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapy Autism Spectrum Disorder Team Behavior Resource Team Safe and Caring Schools Aboriginal Education Team Gender Based Violence Team Student Equity Through IST and then SST these resources can be accessed

Referrals are also made to our community partners; Children’s Mental Health Centres Community Mental Health and Addiction Agencies Family Doctors, Pediatricians, Psychiatrists Hospital Mental Health Programs – In and Out patient, and Emergency Dept. Parents for Children’s Mental Health 211 Toronto Mental Health& Addiction Nurses

19 Parents and Caregivers are Important
The parent-child relationship impacts the child’s and adolescent’s feelings of self-worth, dignity, identify and belonging. Through interactions with their children and adolescents, parents are in a unique position to strengthen these important elements of mental health.

20 Student Mental Health depends on…
Relationships with caring adults! Parents Caregivers Family / Friends Teachers/ School Staff Community members Peers Promoting positive student mental health and intervening earlier, involves the connection and relationship between children / youth and the adults in their life. Healthy Relationships ready children for learning! Caring adults who know their child / youth or student will also be in the best position to notice when something is wrong!

21 10 Strategies for Parents to Foster Positive Mental Health
Model good mental health habits. (How do you deal with stress?) Make sure they get enough sleep! Encourage kids to exercise. Encourage creative outlets. Provide a space of their own. Create a space for kids to talk about their troubles. Help them relax. Have a predictable routine. Foster volunteering and helpfulness. Bring fun and playfulness into their lives.

22 Think of a Time that You’ve been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent...
The question isn’t whether we’ve had challenges (because we’ve all had challenges!). The question is: How Do We Cope in the Face of Challenge!

23 Factors that Make Kids Resilient
Structure Consequences Parent-Child Connections Nurturing Relationships A Powerful Identity A Sense of Control A Sense of Belonging/Cultural Roots/Spirituality/Life Purpose Fair and Just Treatment Physical and Psychological Safety Dr. Michael Ungar

24 R E S I L I E N C Y “I have a caring relationship with an adult.””
Being able to cope well with challenges and bounce back from difficult times MY R E S I L I E N C Y CHECKLIST “I have a caring relationship with an adult.””

25 National Sleep Foundation



28 Resources TDSB Professional Support Services Children’s Mental Health Ontario Reaching In – Reaching Out – Promoting Resiliency in Children – a Parent Resource The ABCs of Mental Health – A Parent Resource Bounce Back 2nd Edition – Available at

29 Donna Quan Director of Education TDSB
“Student mental health and well-being impacts everyone and belongs to each of us.” Donna Quan Director of Education TDSB



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