Supporting Mental Health in South East Cornerstone

Cheryl Anderson, Coordinator of Student Services
Michael Graham, Coordinator of Curriculum
South East Cornerstone School Division

PROGRAM SUMMARY: Mental Health awareness and education needs to be a priority for schools. Effectively equipping teachers to support students in this area is crucial.  Providing professional development in a timely manner to staff over a large geographical area can prove to be challenging. Using online materials to support both staff and student education has proven to be effective. With the support of Stan Kutcher’s modules and other mindfulness resources SECPSD was able to provide valuable teacher professional development as well as education and awareness for students within a reasonable budget.

One Thunderous Voice

What does the speaker think needs to happen?

We need to teach mental health to students in order to better educate teens on how to look after their mental well being and also offer ways to help with their illness.

What do you find exciting or interesting about the speaker’s thinking?

They expand on different ways to implement the mental health learning in different areas. They also touched on how you could do things in the classroom and showed resources offered. You can see that they truly want to help schools improve the issues and help to better the lives of students. 

What is your own position or point of view on this topic?

I think it is important for teens to learn about mental health because it is something I struggled with and did not know much about it. I was not informed about many helpful resources and had to search on my own. I feel that teaching teens this would better improve their lives for them.

What worries or concerns does the speaker address and/or praise?

They addressed self harm and mental illnesses. Which are topics that are being more talked about but schools need to do more. 

Danielle Goodhand, Mount Royal Collegiate, Grade 12

Supporting mental health in South East Cornerstone is important because students from age 12-18 years are engaged in self harm. Just this past year a student lost her life due to self harm. What is being done now is that youth mental health services will be doing more and Dr. Stan Kutcher did research about adolescent mental health to promote accurate awareness.

Teaching mental health in schools will not only help the students but also the teachers with the same mental health literacy. E.g. Self regulation, self control, and coping mechanisms. It will be beneficial for the schools especially the teachers and staff since they are supposed to teach the students strategies about mental health. MindUP curriculum has lessons that teach activities about gratitude, mindfulness, and perspective taking. It provides daily core practices and breathing exercises. The curriculum also promotes positive behavior, improves learning, academic performance, increases empathy, optimism and compassion. The behavior of the students will change into something positive, will help improve their learning abilities and their academic performance. Some feedback from the students are; “It’s useful before a test”, “It helps me to be optimistic.”

Angela A., Mount Royal Collegiate, Grade 12

I truly believe that having strong support systems in schools is vital for students. I completely agree and support the concept of a growth mindset and that it helps students to achieve graduation. And idea/concept that I think is really important is the growth mindset. Having that attitude of “I’m going to reach my goal, even if it seems far away, I will get there one way or another.” This matters to the speakers because having a positive and motivating attitude is the starting key to success.

There really is nothing I challenge or question with what the speakers discussed. I totally agree with their concepts and the changes they’re trying to make in schools. A change that I would like to happen or is already happening is having more people to help support students to graduate, get parents more involved in their children’s lives, especially in their education, and help students transition from elementary to high school.

Sarah Chowdhury, Aden Bowman Collegiate, Grade 11




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