May 4th through May 8th is Mental Health Awareness Week. At Bakersfield P.S. and across York Region, schools will participate in a Notice, Listen and Connect campaign which aims to reduce the stigma associated with Mental Health. Like physical health, mental health is something that we all have, yet negative stereotypes and associated stigma are among the central reasons that those experiencing mental health concerns may not seek help.
With Mental Health Awareness Week at hand, there may also be a worthwhile opportunity to begin a conversation at home about good mental health and how it can be promoted. Many resources are available to support this, including an excellent primer Mental Health and Mental Illness in Children and Youth: Fact Sheet for Parents and Caregivers from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) also has a wealth of information and Resources for Parents. Please visit York Region District School Board’s Mental Illness and Mental Health Awareness page, as well.
In Ontario, it is estimated that 1 in every 5 children and youth have some type of mental health difficulty. Let’s all take steps to recognize that we all have mental health and that we need to stop the stigma associated with mental illness.