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Highlighting the importance of mental health for the overall wellness of students, staff and the community, WSD is holding a series of special events as part of Healthy Minds Week 2017.
WSD has ongoing mental health programs and initiatives throughout the year; the week of school based events and professional development sessions offers the opportunity to celebrate and share ideas.
WSD Student Services Consultant Jón Olafson said the week is being held in conjunction with the Canadian Mental Health Association's National Mental Health
"For the last few years, Winnipeg School Division has looked really strategically at mental health initiatives and how that supports our school communities," he said. "This is a week to recognize and celebrate the multitude of mental health initiatives that are happening throughout WSD."
Mental wellness is essential in helping students succeed personally, socially and academically. Last fall, the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy released a first-of-its-kind study on the Mental Health of Manitoba Children, which looked specifically at a number of mental health concerns facing children and youth in the province. (The study can be viewed here.)
"The research demonstrates quite concretely that we need to be doing this work in schools, not only to enhance wellness and mental health of children and youth, but to enhance learning and academics," Mr. Olafson said. "It's all connected and part of a holistic approach to education."
The second annual event gets underway May 1 at R.B. Russell Vocational High School with opening ceremonies and a gallery walk display open to the public. After a slate of guest speakers and performers, schools will showcase the various ways they support positive mental health at a gallery walk in the school gym.
Winnipeg Police Service will also be holding its annual Youth Wellness Conference for junior high students that week; the full day event takes place at Tec Voc High School on May 5.
"We're excited to be partnering with the Winnipeg Police Service for Healthy Minds Week this year," Mr. Olafson said. "This is a full day event for our junior high students that focuses on wellness and personal safety topics."
Meanwhile, WSD staff can take part in professional development sessions with experts like Stephen DeGroot, Dr. Joseph Gone and Keith Macpherson. A number of yoga and zumba sessions will also take place throughout the week at various locations in WSD.
WSD will also be offering parents Tree of Life workshops designed to promote strong and empowered families. The sessions, which are based on the program designed by David Denborough and Ncazelo Ncube, will be delivered by the Social Work Department of WSD's Clinical Support Services. All supplies are provided, including a healthy snack. Childcare may be available for children under the age of six. For further info on Tree of Life workshops, contact Jennifer Curtis-Klein: firstname.lastname@example.org or 786-7841 (Ext. 204).