Above: The Grand Erie Mental Health and Wellness team show their support for Mental Health Week by wearing green.
MENTAL HEALTH WEEK:
Five Ways to Well-Being
MONDAY, MAY 2, 2022
By Piyali Bagchee, Mental Health and Well-Being Manager, Grand Erie Distict School Board.
hether it’s the best of times or during challenging times, it is always important for us to know and incorporate the practices that keep us healthy and well.
The science of well-being has brought with it a greater understanding of the underlying factors that lead to feeling and functioning well. The U.K.-based New Economics Foundation (NEF) has identified evidence-based actions that improve personal well-being. In a report, the NEF details themes of social relationships, physical activity, awareness, learning and giving, and the impact these have on positively influencing our well-being. All of these themes have been organized into five categories that make up five ways to well-being:
During Mental Health Week, Grand Erie will focus on these five ways to well-being, and connect them to the work going on in our schools and classrooms throughout the year. Through classroom presentations, staff wellness contests, morning announcements, and a school-community signage challenge, celebrating Mental Health Week is also a celebration of educators and school support staff who lead the way all year. Here is just some of the work going on across Grand Erie this year and during Mental Health Week in support of student well-being:
Above: Examples of the Five Ways to Well-Being promotional literature across Grand Erie.
Grandview Public School has started a wellness club to promote well-being in the school community. This group of intermediate students has been busy preparing for Mental Health Week, and have taken on leadership roles creating bulletin boards throughout the school, spreading positive messages in chalk for our school community, and preparing to assist in primary/junior classrooms to deliver the Five Ways to Well-Being lesson plans. They’ve also been hands-on in the creation of wellness messages and mindfulness warm-ups during the morning announcements.
At McKinnon Park Secondary School, the Grade 9 art class has been busy working on mental health and wellness bulletin boards. Each month focuses on a different theme around mental health and well-being. For May, the class is focusing on the five ways to well-being. To promote this, another McKinnon Park art class will be creating murals around the five ways to well-being.
Hagersville Secondary School’s bridge class has been busy working to raise awareness through the creation and maintenance of mental health and wellness bulletin boards. The bulletin boards have focused on the five ways to well-being and other strategies to take care of your well-being. This class will also be creating murals that will go up around the school to promote the five ways to well-being year-round.
On a recent professional development day, King George School staff delved into the three pillars of the multi-year strategic plan (Learning, Well-Being and Belonging). This learning continued at April’s monthly staff meeting where educators took inventory of what they are doing to support the well-being of both staff and students. Educators split into groups and delved into the information provided on the staff portal, accessing the resources created to support the Five Ways to Well-Being, and produced a plan to promote Mental Health Week in their classrooms. Staff also focused on getting the word out about Mental Health Week, reviewing daily announcements to promote each theme, and getting creative with ideas to take part in the community sign challenge to increase awareness and decrease stigma around mental health.
Grand Erie’s multi-year strategic plan has a mission to build a culture of learning, well-being and belonging, and a collective priority to support the cognitive, social, emotional and physical needs of each learner. With the past two years having been some of the most challenging in education, Mental Health Week also serves as a reminder that the way forward is together. The five ways to well-being provides us with some of the important tools we’ll need to do so.