May 2nd, 2022
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) holds its Mental Health Week during the first week of May as an opportunity to talk, educate and increase awareness about mental illness and well-being.
It can be difficult to discuss the topic of mental health and healing. To help, the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) will be sharing resources and information all week long, based on themes that aim to support our staff, students and families.
Today’s mental health theme is pandemic.
For the past two years, our community has faced serious challenges to their mental health due to the pandemic. Along with the health impacts of this virus, COVID-19 has led to long periods of self and social isolation and disconnection from family, friends and loved ones. Quarantine and lockdowns have resulted in more people than ever experiencing feelings of helplessness, isolation, grief, anxiety and depression.
Since March 2020, our students have had to adapt to different modes of learning, shifting between online learning and in-person learning. They experienced long periods of isolation and the lack of social interactions also had a significant impact on their well-being. During periods of remote learning, students’ routines were disrupted and their school experiences were significantly changed. Those who graduated or transitioned to new schools sacrificed those celebrations and milestones. Although COVID-19 is seen as gone by some, the pandemic and mental health fallout continues to affect our students in ways that we could never have imagined.
A recent report from The Hospital for Sick Kids tells us that a significant number of school-aged children “experienced deterioration in a number of mental health domains.” It is still critical that we continue to pay close attention to the ongoing effects of this pandemic on our students.
It is vital to continue to bring attention to mental health and acknowledge how the pandemic continues to take a toll on our students, staff and families. Continuing to keep the lines of communication open will create safe spaces for our students to talk about their mental health and seek support.
As your child continues to finish off the school year, if you are concerned about their well-being, please reach out to your child’s teacher or school administrator. We all experienced the pandemic, but we did not all experience it the same way.
- Support for Students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 – This report by School Mental Health Ontario recognizes the impact of COVID-19 on students identifying as Black and Indigenous.
- Loss, Grief and Bereavement during the COVID-19 Pandemic – This resource provides information about loss, grief and bereavement during the pandemic, including what you may notice among students and how you can provide support.
- VIDEO: Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Well-being of Teens – Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH) and WRDSB present on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental well-being of teens.
- Supporting individuals with ASD during uncertain times – Here is a list of 7 strategies to support individuals with ASD through uncertain times.
Need immediate help?
Here 24/7 provides addictions, mental health, and crisis services provided by 11 agencies across Waterloo Wellington. They do the intake, assessment, referral, crisis, waitlist and appointment booking work for these important programs. In Crisis or Need Support? Call 1-844-HERE247 (1-844-437-3247) anytime.
Front Door works with parents/caregivers, children and youth (up to their 18th birthday) who are struggling with life’s challenges such as emotions, behaviours, relationships and mental health.
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to kids, teens and young adults in English and French. Start a confidential conversation with a real person you can trust by calling 1-800-668-6868 or texting 686868.
If your matter is urgent, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.