Secondary school students from Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon will participate in HEADSTRONG, an evidence-based anti-stigma initiative aimed at inspiring students to Be Brave, Reach Out and Speak Up about mental health. The summit will take place on Thursday, October 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Collège Boréal.
The conference will bring together some 130 students from Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon, Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario, Rainbow District School Board and Sudbury Catholic District School Board. Spearheaded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the HEADSTRONG movement educates youth ages 12 to 18 on how to reduce stigma and become mental health champions in their own schools.
“Student engagement is an integral part of school life as it encourages a sense of belonging to the school culture,“ stated Ms. Lyse-Anne Papineau, Director of Education at CSC Nouvelon. “The HEADSTRONG summit is a great opportunity for students to learn about mental health, practice essential life skills, build relationships, have a positive impact on their well-being and in return, inspire their peers when they return to their schools. This aligns well with our boards vision of promoting optimum well-being in the cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual domains.”
The HEADSTRONG event will feature various stigma fighting activities. Students will hear from keynote speakers with lived experience who will share their personal stories of hope and recovery. The summit will also guide students in designing action plans to use when they return to school to raise awareness around mental health.
CSC Nouvelon adopted its first Mental Health Strategic and Action Plan in 2014 to create and sustain mentally healthy schools, and to support the roll out of mental health awareness and literacy. This plan was also designed to support students and opportunities for engagement, voice and leadership, deliver grade appropriate social-emotional and mental health learning and to provide evidence-based prevention and early intervention services at school.