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Talking About Mental Health: Creating an environment for emotional and social well-being

Our SIS (Social Integration Services) class at HAECC is taking a proactive approach to mental health this year! According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, in any given year 1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. Our class, along with our CLC Technician, Eve-Laurence Miron, have teamed up with Heidi Pallett, our school nurse to organize a series of workshops encouraging a healthy lifestyle and an open discussion about mental health. Workshops focus on understanding what stress and anxiety feel like inside, the people we can turn to in times of difficulty, as well as managing and preventing anxiety.

There is a “Positive Post-It Note” board in our main hallway where students can take or leave a message of encouragement when they need one, or when someone else needs one. We have also folded strategies for positive mental health into our curriculum with meditation 3 times a week, physical education with cardio and stretching 3 times a week and taking time to do calming activities such as mandalas.

We hope to continue the discussion of mental health throughout the year and work together to help our students both understand and cope with their emotions. The stigma associated with mental health is left at the front door of HAECC and we are working together to maintain an environment of open communication and acceptance.