All schools in the Halton District School Board are displaying a student-created poster this year emphasizing the need for everyone to take care of their mental health and well-being.
Approximately three-dozen posters were submitted by elementary and secondary students as part of the Board’s Student Senate Mental Health subcommittee initiative to highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy mind. Students were asked to create a poster that conveys a positive message about mental health and well-being and building strong, caring, empathic relationships.
“I think it’s crucial we address mental health and well-being for all HDSB students because it affects how we think, feel and act in this ever changing complex world we live in,” says Luisa Botelho, Vice-Principal at Elsie MacGill Secondary School and staff advisor on this initiative. “Conversations about mental health and well-being will help reduce stigma and let students know they are not alone. For our student leaders, they were able to lead and manage this project and learn about how to balance the different aspects of project management such as communication, building commitment and ability to make decisions in an equitable and inclusive manner.”
Vandy Widyalankara, a HDSB Student Trustee and Grade 12 student at White Oaks Secondary School, says this project achieved a key goal in helping students reflect on the importance of maintaining positive mental health and how to seek support when needed.
“The aim of this project was to develop mental health posters that inspire students to seek help if they need it. Who better to create posters aimed at students than students themselves?”
Katie MacDonald, a member of Student Senate and Grade 12 student at M.M. Robinson High School, says: “As a student, it is so important to be involved within the community to support personal well-being as well as the mental health of others. In allowing students to portray their own unique, positive messages regarding mental health and well-being, this initiative not only allowed them to share their voices but it also encouraged students to support the well-being of others.”
“These posters emphasize the importance of reaching out for help when a student is struggling with mental health, and that it is okay to not be okay,” she says, noting the posters include a QR code which links to the HDSB Student Mental Health & Well-Being webpage
. “This page includes information about mental health and mental illness, and provides links to supportive in-Board and community mental health resources.”