Calgary institutions are working hard to implement successful programs and encourage conversations that aid and improve student mental health.
“We want schools to be a safe place for youth to normalize mental health challenges and to realize it’s okay to ask for help and, even better, to get the help they need,” says V. Joy Pavelich, Community Engagement Leader for the Calgary chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
The Calgary branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is working with schools to develop programs that target the mental health of students. Therapies like yoga, sport and dance can help reduce stress and anxiousness for students, says Cindy Negrello, director of client services at the CMHA Calgary.
They train “community helpers” — other students, bus drivers, teachers — to help students who might be in trouble. “We know that a student who is feeling depressed and possibly suicidal will seek out a friend or peer before going to an adult. Having more youth peers trained to mentor, support and help others is a key prevention strategy,” says Negrello.