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Healthy Minds Week 2018 - Preview

​Students, families and staff across Winnipeg School Division are invited to join the ongoing conversation about mental wellness during the annual WSD Healthy Minds Week, being held April 30-May 4.

WSD has been holding the event since 2015 as a way to recognize and promote mental health literacy among students, families, staff and the community. As in previous years, organizers have aligned the event with the Canadian Mental Health Association's annual Mental Health Week.

WSD's Mental Health Steering Committee has planned a wide variety of mental health and wellness activities for the event (see below for a full schedule). 

"One of our goals with our mental health steering committee is stigma reduction. We're encouraging students and staff to have conversations about mental health," said WSD Student Services Consultant Jón Olafson.

"When you look at statistics provincially and nationally, there are some significant concerns when you consider the current state of mental health for our children and youth. People may wonder if the problem is increasing, and sometimes, yes that is a possibility. But there are also more people talking about mental health now.  The stigma is being reduced…and the culture is really shifting."

Mr. Olafson said the event is a way to celebrate the many mental health programs and initiatives operating in WSD throughout the school year.

"Winnipeg School Division is being recognized provincially and nationally for the great work we are doing around mental health in education settings," he said. 

"For example, all 78 of our schools and our non-school sites have had Mental Health Literacy (MHL) workshops, which gives people a common language and comfort to talk about mental wellness. Whether you're a teacher, an EA or a principal, you've got that foundation to work from."

While we can all be supportive of each other and talk about mental wellness, there are times when we may not have the answers for a friend or family member who is having difficulties. WSD guidance counsellors, school social workers and school psychologists are a great resource for connecting people to further support either through divisional staff or outside support groups.

"There are times when it's beneficial to reach out to someone who has the background and training to help," Mr. Olafson said. "That way no one has to feel isolated or beyond their capacities to support others."

On April 30, as part of opening day events, R.B. Russell Vocational High School is hosting a Healthy Minds Community Resources Fair. The fair offers an opportunity to learn more about the various local organizations that support the mental health and well-being of children and families.

"WSD has partnered with many of these organizations for years," Mr. Olafson said. "Rather than working in isolation, we've established a lot of great community partnerships and connected with some amazing mental health literacy programs."

Other highlights include a presentation on the impact of the digital age on children and adolescents with Dr. Simon Trepel. The evening presentation, held May 2 at Grant Park High School, is offered free to all. See the schedule below for registration details.

Winnipeg Jets Assistant General Manager Craig Heisinger will be at Elmwood High School on May 4 to talk about Project 11, a mental health program initiated by the Jets in memory of Rick Rypien. The NHL player took his own life after years of struggling with clinical depression; he died before being able to play for the Jets in their inaugural season.

"Craig has a very powerful message about Rick Rypien's story and the importance of connection with supportive people and talking about mental wellness," Mr. Olafson said.

As part of the final day of activities, all WSD schools and administration buildings will take part in a Mindful Moment. On May 4, 9:30 a.m., students, staff and guests will simultaneously practise a script-led mindful moment. Join us and practise making mindfulness a part of your daily routine.

Healthy Minds Week 2018 schedule

Monday, April 30

Healthy Minds Week Opening Ceremonies

RB Russell High School Theatre, 364 Dufferin Avenue
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Keynote address: Kevin Lamoureux
(Education Lead, National Centre
for Truth & Reconciliation)

Healthy Minds Community Resources Fair

RB Russell High School Gymnasium

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Come learn about the various Winnipeg organizations that support the mental health and well being of our children, youth, and families. Light snacks available.
Both events are free. All Welcome!

For further information, contact Jón Olafson: jolafson@wsd1.org

Tuesday, May 1

The Circle and the Box

Prince Charles Education Resource Centre
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Facilitated by: Sarah Gazan, MTS Staff Officer
An interactive & experiential learning activity that explores the impact of residential schools.
WSD staff event. Please register on Employee Connect.

Wednesday, May 2

Everybody has the Right (Grades 7-12)

Canadian Museum for Human Rights
9:30 AM to 2:00 PM
EHTR & Healthy Minds partner to offer a day of learning focused on healthy relationships.

Student event. For further information,
 contact Chantelle Cotton: ccotton@wsd1.org

WSD Healthy Minds Parent Session: The Impact of the Digital Age on Children and Adolescents.

Grant Park High School, 450 Nathaniel Street
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Hosted by Dr. Simon Trepel, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Presentation on screen time, smartphones, social media and video game addiction.
Free. All Welcome!

To register, please contact Mala Carriere: carriere@wsd1.org

Thursday, May 3

Everybody has the Right (Grades 4-7)

Canadian Museum for Human Rights
9:30 AM to 2:00 PM
EHTR & Healthy Minds partner to offer a day of learning focused on healthy relationships.

Student event. For further information,
 contact Chantelle Cotton: ccotton@wsd1.org

Friday, May 4

A Mindful Moment

9:30 AM
A division–wide mindful moment, including all WSD students and staff. Information packages to be distributed to schools.

Mental Wellness Keynote Address: Project 11

9:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Elmwood High School Senior Gym, 505 Chalmers Avenue
Speaker: Craig Heisinger, Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations for Winnipeg Jets
All welcome, but limited guest spots are available.
Please contact Elmwood High School to register: mbabb@wsd1.org

Additional events:

  • Tree of Life workshops for WSD Families, presented by the WSD Social Work Department
    For further information, contact Jennifer Curtis-Klein: jcurtisklein@wsd1.org
  • Non-school Sites Healthy Minds Events
    For further information, contact Heather Closen: hclosen@wsd1.org
  • Yoga and Zumba sessions for staff
    For further information, contact Fiona England: fengland@wsd1.org
  • Healthy Minds Parent Information Sessions, presented by WSD Psychology Department
    For further information, contact Jane Ritcher: jrichter@wsd1.org
  • Synonym Art Consultation (Art and Youth Mental Health Session)
    Gordon Bell High School
  • WSD Gratitude Boards
    Various locations
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