Mental health resources available for students and caregivers

·2 min read

As COVID-19 cases are on the rise, local school officials remind parents and students they have free access to mental health resources.

The St. Clair Catholic District School Board provides different ways for students and their families to access mental health support via text or the Board’s website. Students or caregivers of the SCCDSB can text 226-402-1593 or visit the Mental Health and Well-being webpage at www.st-clair.net/mental-health-home.aspx.

“There is an impact on mental health and well-being,” said Deb Crawford, Director of Education at the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. “In some cases, it can affect learning and can cause significant emotional issues. We are here to support our students, families and staff.”

Crawford said students, parents and caregivers can be referred to a counsellor by a classroom teacher or can self-refer, adding individuals who submit a request will be contacted within 72 hours.

According to John Howitt, Lambton Kent District School Board Director of Education, in the Public Board, referrals to counsellors are made by school principals.

“From the employee side, we’ve been focusing quite a bit on keeping ourselves well because, when we’re well, we’re able to support student wellness also,” said Howitt.

Howitt said the province has also invested in mental health.

“This has resulted in an increase in the number of social workers that we have available in the school system and over a 12-month period versus the regular 10-month school year, which was a huge improvement,” said Howitt.

He also noted the Public Board is “also recognizing the impact of racism and where some might feel a bit oppressed or not welcome in the school system.”

As a result, Howitt said the Public Board has hired an inclusive Diversity Consultant for kindergarten to Grade 12.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News