Let’s have a Conversation about #ocsbCompassion
#ocsbCompassion is more than a hashtag. It is a commitment to continue the conversation about mental health and well-being. Let’s talk about how we can be more compassionate and how we can be better communicators. Join the mental health and well-being conversation on social media by sharing your stories, ideas and support using the hashtag #ocsbCompassion. The Ottawa Catholic School Board is a community that prioritizes mental health. But it can always do better. Your ideas matter – Let’s talk about them!
It’s OK not to be OK
Knowing and believing that “it’s ok not to be ok” and seeking help is a great stepping stone to improving well-being. The OCSB is a community that champions kindness, compassion and empathy and is designed to help those struggling with mental health issues.
You are Not Alone
People face many types of mental health struggles. These include anxiety, unhealthy eating habits, addictions, tech misuse, and more. But whatever challenges a student or staff member may face, there is help available.
What Mental Health Supports are Available to You?
There is a range of classroom supports, professional board services and community agencies committed to prioritizing mental health and well-being at the Ottawa Catholic School Board. OCSB Schools are a part of a circle of support for students, in-person and virtually.
The key to finding healthy coping strategies is recognizing and accessing support early. If you are struggling, talking to a friend, family member, or professional is a great way to begin the conversation. You are not alone!
How the OCSB Supports Mental Health
If parents and/or guardians are concerned about their child’s mental health, they can get help from their teacher or Principal. They can direct you to school, board, or community services. You can also personally reach out for help and services or connect directly with a community mental health agency near you.
Questions you can Ask when Someone is Struggling with Mental Health
Some signs that may be visible when someone is struggling are discouragement, frustration and fear. You can help a friend, family member, student or colleague by asking.
- “Are you Okay?”
- “Are you looking for advice right now?”
- “Do you just need someone to listen?”
- Tell someone, “It’s ok to feel what they are feeling, and I’m here for you.”
School Mental Health Ontario created an information sheet to help guide you in these crucial conversations.
Let’s Talk about Compassion
Compassion is that feeling that motivates us to help others in their time of sadness. Compassion is empathy in action! You can show compassion by being present and attentive to another person’s needs.
Compassion Makes a Difference
One of the simplest things you can do, no matter your role, is to support others and yourself through care and compassion. Acknowledging and validating each other’s feelings will go a long way to keeping the lines of communication open.
- Listen to and validate the concerns and feelings expressed by your child/youth and check in with them regularly.
- Ensure your child/youth knows you are there for them.
- Find constructive ways for your child/youth to “reset” into a more relaxed and happy state.
- Being together through play helps everyone cope better.
How to Show Kindness and Compassion through Action
- Try to recognize when someone is struggling and offer support before it becomes overwhelming
- Direct family and friends to community mental resources
- Treat others and ourselves with kindness and respect
- Listen to others but be attuned to your needs and recognize your limits
You Matter Too
Remember – you need to be compassionate to yourself by recognizing your limits, taking care of yourself, and being preventative before things get too challenging. Personal, mental, and emotional health matter! It is essential to pause and recognize the strain and pressures around us.
- Try to be gentle and patient with yourself; finding ways to recharge intentionally and meaningfully will significantly impact how you parent.
- Be honest with your child/youth. Talk to them about your experiences and the healthy coping strategies you use to manage your stress.
- Teaching your children/youth to take care of their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being boosts their self-confidence and resilience.
Mental Health is Health
All health matters. Improving mental health and well-being is vital to overall physical health. Compassion promotes mental health and physical well-being, helps build meaningful relationships, and facilitates problem-solving together.
How to Start your Healthy Self-care Routine
Check out the School Mental Health Ontario document on Self-Care 101 for some excellent self-care ideas. The School of Mental health Ontario also has a document outlining daily practices that can help us restore our energy and stay well in challenging and unpredictable times. Finally, Kids Help Phone has a resource on Self-Care How To’s.
Mental Health Resources to Explore for Educators
- Class Conversation Starters (School Mental Health Ontario) are great resources for educators and parents.
- Student Mental Health in Action MH Lit course Grades 9-12 (Student Mental Health Ontario)
- Student Mental Health in Action MH Lit course Elementary (eLearning Ontario)
- School Mental Health Ontario’s Circle of Support Pocketbook for students to fill out. Students can refer to this document to quickly and easily share their needs with a trusted OCSB staff member, friend or family member.
- Having mentally healthy strategies for staff members helps us better support students and set up good Mental Health Matters.
- Mental Health Resources for Educators
- Teacher Well-Being Survive and Thrive
Additional Mental Health Community Resources and Supports
For services and support available to help, please reach out to the following community resources.
- Please visit the Ottawa Public Health website for more information on caring for your mental health and your families.
- 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.
- Hope for Wellness Helpline: Available for all Indigenous peoples across Canada, offers experienced and culturally competent counsellors 1-855-242-3310 or chat. 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.
- Black Youth Helpline 1-833-294-8650