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Mental Health & Well-Being
Mental health is essential for achievement, success and well-being. We know that both children and adults learn, live and bounce back from life’s challenges better when mentally healthy. We are more likely to thrive and flourish when mental health is understood, supported by our community and prioritized. We also know that our overall health or well-being improves when we are mentally healthy or supported to become mentally healthy. As the World Health Organization (WHO) states, there is no health without mental health.
Watch this engaging six-minute video to learn about mental health, how mental health relates to and differs from mental illness and what we can each do to support our mental health and the mental health of our schools and community:
Mental Health & Education – A New Era in Ontario
The provincial government, through Open Minds, Healthy Minds (2011), defined a new role for the Ministry of Education in child and youth mental health promotion, prevention and intervention. Ontario schools are recognized as ideal places to:
- Promote positive mental health for all students
- Implement prevention initiatives to offset risk factors for child and youth mental health problems (i.e, social determinants of health)
- Aid early intervention efforts by connecting students experiencing mental health problems to community services and resources.
In Achieving Excellence, A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario, the Ministry of Education elevates Student Well-being to one of the four core inter-connected pillars of education alongside Achievement, Equity and Enhancing Public Confidence. Positive mental health is essential to well-being:
All children and students will develop enhanced mental and physical health, a positive sense of self and belonging, and the skills to make positive choices. Achieving Excellence, 2011
To learn more about Ontario’s Well-Being Strategy for Education, watch this quick video.
Mental Health & Catholic Education – A Holistic Approach
Through our Catholic Teachings, Thunder Bay Catholic Schools has a solid foundation for supporting Student Mental Health and Well-being. As Catholics, we understand that the mind, body, emotions and spirit are integrated and inter-connected.
Our Catholic Values and Virtues are central to supporting the growth and development of the whole child and serve as the foundation for nurturing positive mental health and well-being. We recognize that this is a shared responsibility, in partnership with the home, Church and community.
Thunder Bay Catholic Schools adopts the Public Health Agency of Canada 2006 definition of Positive Mental Health to guide our work.
Positive mental health is defined as the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.
Mental Health LeadershipSince 2011, the Ministry of Education has been funding Mental Health Leaders in provincial school boards. Mental Health Leaders are full-time senior mental health professionals with dedicated responsibility for supporting student mental health and well-being strategic planning and implementation. School Mental health is a shared responsibility within our Catholic Board. Our Mental Health Leader works closely with Senior Administration, Special Education, Catholic schools and community mental health and substance use programs and networks. Provincially, the Mental Health Lead works closely with School Mental Health ASSIST, the Ministry of Education’s implementation support team. More About School Mental Health ASSIST
Student Mental Health Counselling & Support Services
School-based mental health counselling services are available to students in our Catholic Schools. Counselling services are brief (time-limited) and focus on addressing immediate needs or issues that may be impacting school functioning.
School mental health professionals work alongside or within school well-being teams consisting of Administrators, Special Education Teachers / Staff, Guidance Counsellors, Indigenous Counsellors, Chaplains and Attendance Counsellors.
Mental health counsellors in our board are regulated professionals who hold a Master’s degree in Social Work or other counselling profession. Services are made available to students largely through service contracts and memorandums of understanding with community mental health partner organizations.
Accessing Mental Health Support and Services in the Community: Quick Access, No Cost
A key role in supporting mental health intervention is to help students and families experiencing mental health problems connect to the right service in the community. Click on the link to see a list of quick access, no cost community crisis services (24/7), walk-in counseling services and telephone mental health support options:
Community mental health services offer a broader array of service options than what can be offered within school settings. School based mental health counseling services primarily support student functioning at school through brief, skill-based interventions. When needs go beyond what can be addressed in the school, community mental health services offer the right setting and the right expertise.
Community mental health services are:
- Brief or longer-term depending on needs being addressed
- Better able to accommodate family involvement
- Structured to support children, youth and families experiencing difficulties in school and areas of life beyond school.
- More comprehensive than school-based services and with the support of a diverse team approach including access to specialists when needed
- Delivered within a therapeutic setting matched to need. Settings can be clinical or office-based, home-based or in the case of complex needs, hospital or residential.
- Offer more choice and more options
Need Help Now?
Emergency & Crisis Services:
In a mental health emergency, safety is the immediate concern and help is needed now. Call 911 or go to the hospital emergency department.
Crisis phone lines offer urgent help any time of the day, evening or night:
C.M.H.A Thunder Bay Crisis Response Service (346-8282)
Mental health telephone crisis intervention support and information is available 24/7. If face to face support is needed, mobile outreach is available from 3:00pm to 11:00pm. Anyone can call - children, youth, adults.For on-line information: http://thunderbay.cmha.ca/programs-services/crisis...
Talk4Healing: Help Line for Aboriginal Women living in Northern Ontario
Help line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Talk4Healing offers services in English, Ojibway,Oji-Cree & Cree. You can call the help line from anywhere in northern Ontario.
For on-line information: http://www.talk4healing.com/