• 6 tips for managing kids’ social media use over March break

    Teen girl looks at her cell phone while sitting in her bedroom

    The notion of spring break might evoke images of whooshing down a mountain at a ski resort or lounging on a sun-drenched beach in warmer climates. However, the reality is that such adventures are out of reach for many families with school-age children, as they stay home due to work commitments or financial pressures.

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  • Dial 988 for help: Canada launches nationwide suicide crisis helpline

    Man holding mobile phone

    Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults (aged 15 to 34 years) in Canada. Many of today’s young people are grappling with extraordinary circumstances, from pervasive mental health struggles to financial hardships to challenging peer or family relationships. These stressors can impact mental, emotional and physical well-being such that the challenges feel insurmountable, leading some to take their own life. 

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  • Calming the storm: 4 tips to help caregivers tame back-to-school anxiety

    by Selina Oliver, NCSP and Senior Assessment Consultant for Pearson

    Two adults in front seats and two children in back seats of car.

    Everyone gets the back-to-school jitters — even educators. There’s a reason the “Sunday Scaries” is a thing, whether you’re returning from a long vacation or a typical weekend. And of course, this apprehension is not reserved for you and your colleagues. Students and their families likely also feel angst during transitions back to school and work. 

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  • Supporting mental health in schools by cultivating an inclusive environment for all

    Daughter and mother mixing food

    While June heralds the official start of summer, it also marks the beginning of Canada’s National Indigenous History Month and Pride Month. These celebrations are dedicated to recognizing and commemorating two historically marginalized groups — Indigenous and 2SLGBTQI+ people — and are an excellent opportunity for educators fostering inclusive environments in their schools to acknowledge and address the challenges they face.

    Educators are committing to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) for all students — especially groups that endure higher rates of mental health challenges as a result of the discrimination they face. For example, according to The Trevor Project’s 2023 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 41% of LGBTQ+ youth say they “seriously considered attempting suicide” in the past year. The group also reported that 22% of LGBTQ Native/Indigenous young people had attempted suicide, double the rate of white young people, and the highest rate of any group. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, LGBTQ individuals face higher rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and phobic disorders, suicidality, self-harm and substance use issues than non-LGBTQ people. Additionally, Statistics Canada reports that suicide rates among First Nations people, Métis and Inuit were significantly higher than among non-Indigenous people, with the rate among First Nations people three times higher than that of non-Indigenous people.

    An inclusive approach can help all student groups feel welcome at school. Here are five ways educators can create a more affirming student environment.


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  • How your school can support mental health in kids and teens

    Daughter and mother mixing food

    There’s no question the pandemic took an incredible toll on K–12 students. They endured social isolation, an abrupt shift to remote learning and disrupted routines. Combined, these factors contribute to an alarming rise in mental health conditions, most notably a surge in anxiety and depression. In fact, two-thirds of parents polled by UNICEF Canada in 2021 reported their child’s mental health had worsened during the pandemic, with nearly half saying their children were experiencing new mental health challenges since the onset.

    Students’ families, of course, have a significant stake in addressing this growing concern. But, educators and schools also play a critical role in addressing it by prioritising mental health support and identifying appropriate interventions to ensure the wellbeing and success of their students. Read on for some ways your school can help students cope, especially as summer approaches.

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  • The end of the mental health care stigma

    by Angus McDonald, Chartered Psychologist

    Graphic illustration of person crouched on floor with words in background “it’s ok to ask for help”

    Mental health concerns are not a new topic by any stretch of the imagination, but what is new is the validation and support that has been desperately needed by so many... for so long. Throughout history, people with mental illness have been ostracized, lobotomized, institutionalized, and demonized, but as our understanding of many of these common conditions has grown, so has our capacity for compassion and treatment.

    If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that we are all facing private battles, often waged internally. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health condition in any given year. While many feel comfortable talking about mental health, others are still lacking the support to find the resources they need.

    Culturally, there is still a wide range of thinking when it comes to conditions such as depression and anxiety. While some communities still prefer to encourage their members to internalize their struggles or share them only with leaders, many others have adopted a broader mindset on mental health resources by setting up support groups and treatment centres and speaking openly on topics that were once considered “sensitive”. This mindset shift has led to a more global normalization of mental health concerns — and not a minute too soon.

    Here are a few ways you can reduce stigma and bring more awareness to mental health concerns in your community.

    • Speak openly about mental health. Stigma is rooted in ignorance, so educating yourself and those around you helps counteract lingering negativity. If you feel comfortable speaking about your own mental health with a trusted person in your life, it may help that person feel safe to do the same.
    • Utilize local support groups. Open dialogue often leads to discovery, so having available resources at the ready could be a game-changer for the next person you talk to!
    • Share relevant articles. Social media’s influence stretches way past the bounds of what we’re eating for dinner, so if you find an article with a positive spin on mental health, share, share, share!
    • Reach out to the experts. If you're looking for someone to talk to about your mental health, we’ve gathered some additional mental health resources to help you find support and information.

    Do you have any ideas to share on reducing the stigma of mental health in your community?

    Be sure to check out our article on improving your mental health at work!

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