It is an especially big week for mental health awareness. Bluewater District School Board continues to actively support and promote wellness strategies for students and staff around the following Multi-Year Strategic Plan priority and corresponding goals:
Ensure the well-being of students and staff in a safe supportive environment for teaching, learning and working
- Provide a safe and supportive work environment that values and recognizes the personal strengths, professional contributions, and personal well-being of staff
- Create conditions where students, staff, and parents/caregivers are comfortable and confident in seeking help and responding to student mental health and emotional well-being
Throughout the year, Bluewater schools participate in a myriad of initiatives that foster safe, accepting, and inclusive learning communities. Recognition occasions, such as Pink Shirt Day (coming up on February 28, 2018), Mental Illness Awareness Week, and Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, showcase the collective efforts of staff and students to shine a light on these often difficult topics and show solidarity for those affected. A new mental health and wellness class at John Diefenbaker Senior School in Hanover, initiated by students for students, is the first of its kind in Bluewater and proving to be tremendously popular among secondary students. Pride Month included flag recognition throughout the system for the first time, while Gay Straight Alliance and Indigenous student forums continue to be hosted at the Bluewater Education Centre.
Student well-being has been identified as one of the three pillars in the recently released A Turning Point for Education: The Student Platform by the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association, which was developed with significant input from Bluewater students. Staff well-being has also been a key focus area this year for the Director of Education. Several initiatives and resources to support staff continue to be coordinated through the efforts of Bluewater’s Organizational Health and Wellness
The Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce (CMHA) is sharing some initiatives occurring this week, which align with Bluewater’s student and staff well-being priority. On Wednesday, January 31, Bell Let’s Talk Day takes place. If you follow the CMHA Grey Bruce Facebook page, information and videos are available, including some ways to help raise record funds this year. The easiest way to help is to use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. On Saturday, February 3, the Talk Today Game with the Owen Sound Attack will be focused on mental health and the encouragement of seeking help.