Written by Lindsey Michalsky, Family School Liaison Counsellor, Crowsnest Consolidated High School
The Crowsnest Consolidated High School’s Family School Liaison Counsellor Program has partnered with Stephanie Olsen from a local youth organization, CNP40, to bring an increase in mental health awareness to the school in a year-long initiative. CNP40 is a community organization that advocates for healthy connections and experiences for youth by creating programming in the community.
With funding support from Crowsnest Consolidated Athletic and Academic Society and a grant received from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta, planning began. The initiative started with a kick-off BBQ, bringing all students together in a fun and engaging way. Next up was incorporating important mental health messaging for all students. This was achieved through various presentations from guest speakers from all across Alberta. Students were also provided with resource packages that included information on how to access mental health support as well as tools and items to support their own wellness.
Most recently, in November Trish Tutton, a Mindfulness coach came to CCHS to share what it means to be mindful. We can all experience moments in life that challenge us and require us to dig deep into our own personal resilience. Trish helped students move beyond the buzzword of Mindfulness and truly practice what it looks like to be mindful. She utilized strategies of deep breathing, visualization, and gratitude to show students that you can’t always stop the waves but you can learn to surf. Through this interactive presentation, students learned that we can cope with stressful events in our lives and work towards resilience to handle the challenges that come our way.
Throughout this initiative, students were provided opportunities to learn about the importance of mental health and were given the tools and techniques to guide them. While these healthy coping mechanisms cannot fix all of their problems, they will help students experience more calm and clarity as they manage the ups and downs of life.