Various community organizations raised mental health awareness during Mental Health Week from May 1 to 7, with Stettler Elementary School (SES) and Wm. E. Hay having activities all throughout the week.
On Monday, May 1, SES students participated in “Chalk About It,” an event spearheaded by the high school YCAT team. The students were encouraged to write positive messages about mental wellness on the sidewalks around the school.
“Hats On for Mental Health Day” was hosted on Wednesday, May 3, where students were asked to wear hats to support the cause. They also participated in “Stop, Drop, and Dance” to “get loud” for mental health. Music was played briefly over the intercom at random times throughout the day for a 60-second dance party.
All SES students were asked to wear green on Thursday, May 4 to support mental health initiatives and reduce stigma around mental illness.
The week culminated into a matinee movie “Inside Out” at the Jewel Theatre. Children’s activities were available before the movie starting at 1 p.m. It was a great teaching tool for talking to your kids about emotions and coping skills.
For the high school students at Wm. E. Hay, the week started with “friendship benches.” Two benches were painted by YCAT and the School Culture group.
“These benches will serve as permanent, physical, and year-round reminders to students to take a moment out of their day to sit, breathe, and talk or think about their mental health and that of their friends,” said Penny Warford, Mental Health Program Coordinator of Children and Adolescents Resilient and Self-regulating (CARS) program. “They are intended to inspire peer-to-peer conversations about mental health in order to reduce the stigma and encourage more students to seek help. Simple acts of kindness carry a lot of weight.”
On Wednesday, May 3, it was “Hats On for Mental Health Day,” followed by the “1 in 5 Campaign.” Emerald green t-shirts reading 1-in-5 across the front to visually represent how many Canadians are affected by mental illness.
That’s 150 students in the high school that may be impacted.
“Thank you to Madison Bauman for her contribution to this endeavour, and to those who sponsored the t-shirts, including the Students’ Union, Town of Stettler board members, and the CARS program,” Warford said.
For Wm. E. Hay students, there were more presentations, with the week ending in a wellness showcase on Thursday early evening, May 4.