On January 30, Middle and Senior School Assemblies included presentations by EJ Weston, a School and Community speaker from the Stigma-Free Society on the topic of stigma with a special focus on mental health.
With a focus on resilience and hope, EJ shared their own personal experience with mental illness, overcoming trauma, and the importance of self care. The thought-provoking talk was an excellent way to reach students with important information, and provided a framework that will encourage them to work together to create an environment free of judgement and stigma.
The presentation was held on Bell Let's Talk Day. a day dedicated to the promotion and support of mental health across Canada. This year, Bell Let's Talk witnessed over 145,442,699 interactions about removing the stigma around mental health and raised over $7 million to provide grants to projects that improve access to mental health care, supports and services for people in Canada.
At Pemberton Wood's, the Let's Talk day presentations were made possible by the newly-formed Senior School Mental Health Committee—last semester they began brainstorming ways of improving mental health and wellness as a community and increasing their own capacity to support themselves and one another as they move toward adulthoodDawn Nordin, our school counsellor, "This group's inherent desire to advocate for mental health awareness and education, debunk the stigma related to mental illness and foster vulnerability, courage and meaning is truly inspiring."
Since their first meeting, the group has already spearheaded several initiatives, including an assembly devoted to the discussion of consent and a lunch time positivi-tea.
One of their main goals is to reduce stigma around mental illness, addiction, disabilities, etc., within our community. To achieve this, GNS is working to become a designated Stigma Free Zone to reduce barriers and create a safe community for people to seek help and be there true selves.
At the Beach, Grade 4 and 5 students were invited to share what Mental Health and self-care means to them on this display board.