Update from the Dean of Student Life and Wellbeing
Final assemblies, last classes and end-of-year meetings are tell tale signs that the school year is drawing to a close. With the official end of school in sight, this year, perhaps more than any other, brings with it a much wider range of emotions. In a typical year, at this time, many students would likely be looking forward to the break from academics and feeling both excitement and anticipation about summer camps, family vacations or spending time outdoors with neighbours and friends.
As we know however, this summer is poised to look very different from anything we’ve seen before. With travel restrictions currently in place, summer camps closed and social distancing measures still in effect, many students are likely experiencing feelings of trepidation, anxiety and despair while wondering what the summer days may bring. For the past few months, virtual school has provided a sense of purpose and connection for the boys, but in a few weeks, that will all change and as parents we need to be acutely aware of how the absence of school, and all that comes with it, might impact our kids.
Results from the latest survey conducted for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) were released earlier this week. According to the data collected:
- One in four (25.5 per cent) Canadians indicated they have moderate to severe anxiety
- 23.2 per cent say they have felt lonely occasionally or most of the time
- 20.4 per cent reported feeling depressed occasionally or most of the time.
While the statistics above reflect respondents 18 years of age and older, I can’t help but wonder what they might look like for students in the Prep and Upper schools. Given that prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Children’s Mental Health Ontario reported that as many as one in five children and youth in Ontario will experience some form of mental health problem (https://cmho.org/facts-figures/), I suspect the statistics for young people might look very similar to those captured in the CAMH survey, with many reporting high levels of anxiety, loneliness and symptoms of depression.
It will be very important to consider the mental health of our kids as we look ahead to a summer like no other. Without traditional options like camps, travel and daily play, finding ways to maintain connections with friends and engaging in purposeful activity will be key to supporting wellbeing for all – children and parents alike.
For more information and strategies, please see this resource page from CAMH.
The Weekly Wellbeing Challenge for the Year 6 and 7 boys focuses on the connection between mind and body. Based on the research of Dr. Amy Cuddy, boys are asked to develop confidence in these uncertain times by taking pictures of themselves in their best “power poses”. Upper School advising sessions have been focused on relationships and other-mindedness this week, with mentoring opportunities offered at various grade levels.
Thanks for reading,