A healthy school environment is one that promotes good mental health and emotional well-being in additon to healthy food and physical activities. The mental health of our students is a large and foucssed priority for the Ottawa Catholic School Board. We teach the importance of mental health awareness in our classrooms, and have implemented numerous programs to offer speciliazed instruction on a variety of mental health topics. Our entire school community is aware of the importance of this issue and the impact it has on our students, and our Board staff is trained to deal with these issues as best as possible. We focus on awareness, prevention and early intervention.
More than 20% of children and youth in Canada suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder, which means that students in our very own classrooms are struggling in silence with illnesses such as anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide. The Ottawa Catholic School Board is dedicated to addressing issues of mental health for our students in every way possible. Our teaching staff serves as the first level of support for our students in the classroom, and students also have access to our Special Education and Student Services Department, where a wide range of services are available to help our students with these issues.
At the Ottawa Catholic School Board's fifth annual Director's Forum in February 2011, Board psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Pacquette spoke to and audience of 400 parents and teaching staff who had gathered at St. Paul High School to learn more about the issue of children's mental health and to discuss how schools and parents can work together to combat it.
The theme for the forum was Supporting our Schools: Mental Health awareness and resources for children, youth and families in Ottawa. Hosted jointly by the Board and the Catholic School Parents Association (CSPA), the Director's Forum is an annual event where school councils, principals, and Board staff and trustees have an opportunity to gather and discuss issues common to all schools. Our greater school community must pull together to open the lines of communication and provide support to our friends, fellow students, and parents. We encourge you to visit MentalHealth.ca to make use of the many resources available on this important topic.
Did you know that Ottawa Catholic School Board employs school psychologists, social workers and behaviour consultants? Read about the amazing things these professionals do for students in our schools.
Ottawa Public Health, in partnership with Centre Psychosocial and the Youth Services Bureau, will be presenting these special and informative sessions on various dates in April and May. A public health nurse will provide information to parents of children 10 to 17 years of age with information about health adolescent development, warning signs of mental health problems and give practical advice to parents around communication, role modeling and resolving conflicts. Read more >>