Dr Richard Bolduc, C.Psych, is the OCSB Mental Health Lead
The Ottawa Catholic School Board prioritizes mental health and well-being through a range of classroom supports and professional board services. Schools are a part of a circle of support for students, both in-person and virtually. You are not alone.
The OCSB is here to help. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, please seek assistance from their teacher or principal. They can direct you to school, board, or community services. You can also reach out to your family doctor or connect directly with a community mental health agency near you.
One of the simplest things all of us can do, no matter what role we play in a child’s life, is to support them through care and compassion. Acknowledging and validating each other’s feelings will go a long way to keeping the lines of communication open.
OCSB Mental Health Lead, Dr. Richard Bolduc, says parents can play a significant role in helping their children manage their emotions during these challenging times. And the good news is the essential first step is simply listening.
- Listen to and validate the concerns and feelings expressed by your child/youth and check in with them regularly.
- Ensure your children/youth know you are there for them.
- Find constructive ways for your children/youth to “reset” into a more relaxed and happy state.
- Being together through play helps everyone cope better (and not just electronic play – get out that old board game).
School Mental Health Ontario created an information sheet to help guide you in these crucial conversations.
It’s also vital that you – the parents and guardians, take care of yourself as well. Your mental and emotional health matter too. It is essential to pause and recognize the strain COVID has on you. Please find ways to take care of yourselves just as you do for your children.
- Try to be gentle and patient with yourself. Finding ways to recharge in intentional and meaningful ways will significantly impact how you parent.
- Be honest with your child. Talk to them about your experiences and the healthy coping strategies you use to manage your stress.
- Teaching your children to take care of their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being boosts their self-confidence and resilience.
Now is a great time to develop a healthy self-care routine.
- Check out School Mental Health Ontario at Self-Care 101 for some excellent self-care ideas or Kids Help Phone Self-Care How To’s.
- Click here for other ideas on daily practices that can help us restore our energy and stay well in challenging and unpredictable times.
Additional Community resources and supports
For services and support available to help, please reach out to the following community resources or contact your school administrator.
- For more information on taking care of your mental health and that of your families, please visit the Ottawa Public Health website.
- 1Call1Click a simple way to access mental health supports for children, youth and families
- Counselling Connect free video or phone counselling sessions for children, youth and families
- Parents Lifeline of Eastern Ontario Family peer support services 613-321-3211
- Distress Centre Crisis Line (24/7) 613-238-3311 in English and Tel-Aide Outaouais 613-741-6433 in French
- YSB Crisis Line 613-260-2360 or online chat at chat.ysb.ca
- Hope for Wellness Helpline: Available for all Indigenous peoples across Canada, offers experienced and culturally competent counsellors 1-855-242-3310 or chat https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/. Phone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut.
- Kids Help Phone: Provides non-judgmental, inclusive services available to young people across Canada 24/7. 1-800-668-6868 or chat www.kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat
- Black Youth Helpline 1-833-294-8650
Wellness and the OCSB
The entire OCSB family works together to ensure your child has a safe and strong foundation to learn. Wellness is very important to us at the OCSB. We know there is a strong correlation between mental health and student achievement. When your child feels welcomed, included, understood and supported, they can better engage with classroom learning. We invite you to learn more about what wellness means to us.