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York Region District School Board Continues to Support Student Mental Health
News Release
York Region District School Board Continues to Support Student Mental Health
As York Region District School Board recognizes Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the Board continues to provide professional development, raise awareness and provide supports for student mental health.
“With one in five young people struggling with mental illnesses or challenges, it is essential that we take a proactive approach to fostering mental health and well-being in our schools and that is what we are doing,” said Patricia Marra-Stapleton, Mental Health Lead, York Region District School Board. “Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of this topic and to raise awareness about the resources available to students, families and staff members to support mental health.”
The Board’s efforts to foster mental health and well-being, include:
  • Providing training to over 1,000 staff members on strategies to support a mentally healthy classroom for all students.
  • Implementing Everyday Mental Health Classroom Practices, a new resource that provides simple, daily mental health practices for elementary school students.  
  • Equipping educators with resources to help support student mental health, resiliency and addictions, including a toolkit of daily tips and activities for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
  • Increasing parent engagement in student mental health by speaking at parent council meetings and parent symposiums and providing tips and resources for families.
  • Providing tips on preparing for exams and managing stress to help students during exam periods. Schools also provide activities such as wellness kits and programs to promote mental health awareness, invite motivational speakers to speak to students about resilience, and offer healthy snacks.
  • Developing a YRDSB student suicide intervention protocol.
  • Introducing a pilot program to support newcomer mental health. Designed by School Mental Health Ontario, YRDSB is one of two Ontario Boards to pilot Supporting Resilience in Newcomer Groups (STRONG).
  • Piloting a program to help reduce substance use and misuse in teenagers. YRDSB is the only board in Ontario participating in the Canadian Underage Substance Abuse Program study.  
  • Developing formal partnership agreements with community agencies to enhance pathways to care, and serve the diverse needs of our students.  
“A student in an optimal state will perform at their best level. This of course includes mental well-being.  Your mental health can determine who you are and how you react to certain situations. We need to promote mental health to break the stigma and to establish the severity of mental disorders. At JLPS our voices are heard every day. We all know that we are important here. To support mental health is to support students,” said Raghib Khan and Sophia Nguyen, Grade 8 students at Johnny Lombardi P.S. and members of the school’s Students Advocating for Equity (SAFE) Team.
“Creating an inclusive, caring culture where staff model and talk about coping skills, consciously have conversations about strategies for achieving positive mental health and provide a safe place for students to be able to access support, helps students engage with others in their school to find their place and share they voice, strengthen their sense of belonging and connectedness and overall well-being. At Johnny Lombardi P.S. we work daily to support our students’ sense of belonging and connectedness and are committed to our many mental health initiatives,” said Rita Angellotti, Principal, Johnny Lombardi P.S.
Fostering mental health and well-being is identified as a priority in the Board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan and the Director’s Annual Plan.

York Region District School Board is the third largest school district in Ontario with over 124,000 students in 177 elementary schools and 33 secondary schools. York Region students consistently perform above average in provincial testing and the Board is one of the top achievers in Ontario. For more information about York Region District School Board, please visit the Board website and follow @YRDSB on Twitter.
For more information contact:
Dawn Clayden, Corporate Communications
York Region District School Board
Tel: 905-727-0022 ext. 2913

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