Return to School During COVID-19: Mental Health & Well-Being Resources

Supporting Our Children's Well-being As We Return To School
 

We know that the return to school this year brings a new time of uncertainty, even as our schools do their utmost to ensure the health and well-being of our students, families and staff.  Our evolving understanding of the COVID-19 virus, significant alterations to classroom routines and structures, and the need for masks and socially distanced interactions with others, can be stressful.  The mental health and well-being of all our students, families and staff is our priority as we enter this unprecedented time.  The following resources may be helpful in navigating through these unprecedented times with your family.


We do not have a well-travelled road map for this situation. We will get through this time with caring, maintaining a sense of community, and common sense.  We call on our faith to sustain us and to help calm our troubled minds and hearts.  We will do this together.

IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS:
 
Kids Help Phone Logo
Text to CONNECT 686868 or Call 1-800-668-6868
 
Local Resources
 
 Crisis and Intake Team (CIT) 
Ages 0-18: Call 519-433-0334
 
Reach Out Logo
Ages 16+: Call 519-433-2023 or 1-866-933-2023
 
For Parents Supporting a Mentally Healthy Return to School:

Just for Students

COVID19 Youth Mental Health Resource Hub

Jack.org, School Mental Health Ontario and Kids Help Phone

 

Jack.org, School Mental Health Ontario and Kids Help Phone have partnered to bring you all the information needed in one easy-to-access hub so that youth can access the education, tools, support and reliable information you need. Take care of yourself, and each other.

 

Self Care 101 for Students

School Mental Health Ontario

 

A Tip Sheet with small actions you can do to take care of yourself during these challenging times.

 

Reaching Out for Help

School Mental Health Ontario

 

Practical information to support you when you are seeking help: showcases different ways to start the conversation with a trusted person and what to expect after reaching out.

 

Self-care for Caregivers:
 
 
As we return to school and enter into unknown territory once again, it is essential to take care of yourself, not just for your well-being, but also for those you care about and support. Your self-care will help improve your energy, focus, ability to cope with challenges and overall life experience. And you’re modelling wellness strategies for the children and youth you serve. (Ce document est disponible en français)
Resources to Support Conversations with Kids and Teens:
 

Many parents are wondering how to bring up the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be. Here is some advice from the experts at the Child Mind Institute.
 

Teach your kids about germs!

Youtube

 

Short youtube video (47 seconds) teaching young children about germs and the power of handwashing!

 
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
The National Association of School Psychologists

It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If parents seem overly worried, children’s anxiety may rise. Parents should reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people in all our communities stay healthy.
 

Coronavirus: A Book for Children

NosyCrow.com

 

Alex Scheffler has illustrated a digital book for primary school age children, free for anyone to read on screen or print out, about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it. Written by Nosy Crow staff, the book has had expert input from Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, as well as two head teachers and a child psychologist.

 

This comic for children was created by NPR to help children understand COVID-19, using interviews with Tara Powell at the University of Illinois School of Social Work, Joy Osofsky at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and Krystal Lewis at the National Institute of Mental Health.
 

Even if children and teens don’t appear to be following COVID-19 news carefully, it is likely that they are absorbing the information and stress from adults, siblings, social media, and friends. You play an important role in helping children and teens better understand what’s happening and help them manage their own related worries or anxiety. Psychology Today offers tips for conversations with kids and teens at different developmental ages and stages

 

Resources and Activities for Families:
 
The Child Mind Institute

As schools close and workplaces go remote to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many parents and families are trying to figure out how to manage this new reality – everyone is together all day in the home. Here are tips from the Child Mind Institute’s clinicians to help calm fears, manage stress and keep the peace.
 
NY Times

Adults can help by making sure adolescents don’t overestimate the dangers or underestimate their ability to protect themselves. People of all ages are concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, and teenagers, as a group, tend to experience emotions especially intensely. If you are raising, teaching or otherwise caring for an adolescent who is feeling very nervous about it, here are five things you can do.
 
The Huffington Post

From educational games to apps and websites, here are some creative ways to keep children entertained during school closures.
 
PBS

Research shows that just being in the presence of a compassionate, safe adult can help kids calm down. As families, we can be “that person” for each other. Here are some ideas about how to put this in action!
 
LDCSB
 
Each Wellness Wednesday post provides: Information on mental health and well-being; a Wellness Activity to try; Reflection Questions for deeper learning; Connection to our Faith; and Links for Further Learning. No matter who you are, how old or young, Wellness Wednesdays are for you! Each post promises to give you real life, in the moment, easy to use tips and strategies. Great to use at home around the
table!
 
School Mental Health Ontario
 
While there are many groups offering arts, crafts and other activities online that you may wish to take advantage of, School Mental Health Ontario offers some ideas that could have special benefits for promoting mental health and social-emotional learning at this time. These ideas are based on practices that educators use in the classroom and can be used at home in fun ways.