Dealing with students facing anxiety, depression or drug abuse can be daunting for an educator who doesn’t have experience in the mental health field.
However, there is now a website geared to educators, as well as families and young people themselves, that was recently launched by the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s Centre of Excellence for Mental Health. Set up to help all English school boards across Quebec, the website aims to assist educators in recognizing and understanding mental-health issues.
Basically, the site acts as a gateway to link information available on various other sites. It culls information from organizations like the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and covers a wide variety of topics, including stress, anxiety, grief, depression, suicide, drugs, and more.
“The objective is to work on prevention and promoting mental health and wellness through knowledge and awareness,” said Dr. Gerald Weintraub, psychologist in the Student Services Department at LBPSB and Interim Co-ordinator of the Centre of Excellence for Mental Health. “There are guidelines for working with students and families. The website bridges a gap for educational workers needing this resource.”
The website is not meant to replace mental-health professionals or services available in schools and communities. Rather, it’s there to support teachers, parents and others who work with children. It has four principle sections about mental health: one geared towards youth, another two with information for educators and professionals, and one for parents and families.
Weintraub says it is important to address these issues in young people, considering approximately 70 per cent of adults who experience mental-health problems say the problems began in their youth.
Dr. Brian L. Mishara, Director, Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide and Euthanasia (CRISE) and psychology professor at Université du Québec à Montréal, says it’s particularly important to address mental health issues before they become severe problems. And getting your children involved in activities that promote mental health and focus on fostering resilience and coping mechanisms is essential. That way, when children experience the unavoidable difficulties associated with growing up, they’ll be better equipped to identify when they have a problem and be able to get help.
For more information, visit http://cemh.lbpsb.qc.ca
Mental Health Resources
Understanding what mental health resources are available is an important step in ensuring that both children and adults are receiving the support they need.
The Centre de Santé et des Services Sociaux (CSSS) in your region can provide you with information regarding local resources and services.
Local community health organizations such as CLSCs, community mental health clinics, family support and self-help organizations are all important resources as well.
In addition, the Montreal branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has developed an educational guide for teens called My Life, It’s Cool to Talk About It. The guide, which is available in French and English, is designed to provide educators and other professionals with the necessary tools to help teach young people how to manage their mental health. For more information, go to http://acsmmontreal.qc.ca.