Sharing Our Stories Builds Community and Spreads Joy – Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 May 1 to 7

May 1 -7 is Mental Health Awareness Week across Canada and Child and Youth Mental Health Week in Ontario. 

This week, let’s do all we can to build community and foster well-being. For example, asking people we meet how they are doing is normal. Unfortunately, most people respond they are fine even if they are not! But responding with a habitual answer like fine does not allow us to connect with others and express our feelings. Next time someone asks you this question, take the opportunity to share. Sharing your story helps build connections and community. Together we can share #ocsbJoy.

Focusing on joy helps supports mental health wellness and reduces the stigma of authentically telling your story. When others share their unique stories, they build a sense of belonging. Discovering that your peers celebrate different holidays, eat different foods, and honour different customs enhances the classroom culture and makes connections. Valuing others’ experiences is good for our mental health and well-being and empowers belonging across our community.

We invite OCSB staff and families to participate in a Mental Health and Well-Being Week Challenge focusing on joy and all that connects to it (i.e., joy, relationships, compassion and gratitude). 

We have created two lists of suggested activities for a daily mental health and well-being challenge. If you are looking for challenges to complete with elementary students, teens, or yourself we’ve got you covered. The activities can be done as a family, as a class, or as a school-wide initiative. Also please consider these Parent/Guardian resources  from the School Mental Health Ontario to be of additional support.

Please share what you do to care for your mental health using the hashtag #ocsbMentalHealth and tag us on Twitter @OCSB_MentalHlth. We look forward to seeing all the creative ways the OCSB community responds to the challenge!

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