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#GetReal during Mental Health Week

The 70th annual Canadian Mental Health Week is this week, May 3–9, and features the following theme: #GetReal about how you feel. “Name it, don’t numb it” is a message that fits well with our ongoing work to encourage students to check in and identify how they are doing.  

From the CMHA website: Heavy feelings lighten when you put them into words. When we voice our emotions, the pain gives way. So, let’s understand and name how we feel. Angry? Glad? Frustrated? Sad? It’s all good…. Recognizing, labeling and accepting our feelings are all part of protecting and promoting good mental health for everyone.”

In a year of such change and loss, being able to identify and share how we feel is so important. Through conversations and activities with teachers or checking in during Health & Life Skills classes using the Blob Tree, picture collages or other exercises, we ask students to consider, “How am I doing right now?”  We want them to know that however they are feeling is okay and to reflect on what they can do and who can help them if they are not doing as well as they would like or are in a situation that needs to change.  

As they check in, students and teachers also hear how others are doing and get a sense of the mood and energy level of a class. In the process, students often think about how they might support someone else, realize they are not the only one affected by something, and as a class may problem solve and share strategies for managing a common concern.  

Again from the CMHA: Relying on others and sharing our very normal feelings of sadness, fear and worry is hugely important during this unusual time of stress, uncertainty and loss.” Helping our students realize this, and providing the space for them to do so, is something we continually strive to do.

Links to related articles, resources and supports: CMHA; Wellness Together Canada; Anxiety Canada.

Martha Boyce
Prep Counsellor
Health & Life Skills Teacher & Coordinator