- Mental Health
- Substance Use
- Healthy Living
Last week, over 250 school professionals, parents, students and community partners gathered together at our annual Summer Institute to share ideas about promoting mental wellness in school communities. Each year, I’m inspired by the passion and energy that participants and speakers bring to this event, many of whom are still on summer holiday! This year was no exception.
There were many highlights at the 2015 Summer Institute including wonderful keynote presentations by Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl and Dan Reist and a facilitated discussion led by the WellAhead team. In addition, an incredible panel of passionate youth bravely and articulately shared their personal stories and perspectives. Each in their own way, they reminded us of the power of connection and relationships and how opening up to others about our struggles can create a ripple effect of sharing and support in the community. We were happy to have many youth engaged in the event this year as planners, presenters and participants.
A theme that emerged from the presentations and conversations was the idea of everyday practices that can create big changes for mental wellness. Everyday practices can be thought of as the small practices that are embedded in the pores and floors of the school environment that help create a culture of belonging and wellness. Throughout the two days, many ideas were brought forward about how these practices can support student and staff wellbeing. Ideas included everyday solutions like greeting students by name, sharing a daily wellness tip, celebrating a more diverse range of successes, doing a mindfulness activity, changing the physical space of the school to make it more inviting and inclusive, practicing gratitude or simply asking someone how they’re doing.
The conversations reminded me that these practices can be applied in any setting and can go a long way in building connections with others and improving overall wellness. As a new school year begins, what everyday practices are you going to use to create more balance in your life?
Details about the 2015 Summer Institute are available at http://keltymentalhealth.ca/SI2015 .