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Calmness: It’s Contagious!

How do we Talk with each other about COVID-19

•       Remain calm and reassuring

•       Make yourself available to listen and talk

•       Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma

•       Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online

•       Provide information that is honest and accurate

•       Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs

Practicing physical distancing and regular hygiene play important roles in protecting both children and adults from the possibility of infection and illness.  For more information go to the BC Centre for Disease Control.   COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information can be found here.

Physical Distancing

Sometimes referred to as “social distancing”, physical distancing is one of the important steps we can take.  Here are a selection of short, previewed video clips that help us consider what physical distancing looks like.   Online videos come from many sources, so it is important to preview them to ensure that the message is consistent.

Hygiene

Hand washing is important to keep yourself, and the rest of the community safe. Click here for the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) instruction on properly washing your hands.  The link provided above to BC’s Centre for Disease Control provides other important information to inform us about good practices of hygiene.

  • A possible student activity could be to prepare a public service announcement on safe health practices during a pandemic.

Mental Health & Well-being

The COVID-19 pandemic may be a very stressful and frightening time for our children and ourselves.  While it is important to remember that fear and anxiety about disease is normal, excessive worry is not.  We all manage stress in different ways.  When stress becomes unhealthy it may result in significant fear or worry, change in sleeping, diet or eating patterns, changes in overall health, or even substance abuse.

Modelling calmness, following routines, framing our situation in a positive manner by focusing on our opportunities to be with family, eating healthy and keeping active, can all contribute to our strength and the notion that we will get through this.

Following are a variety of online tools and resources designed to promote resiliency and help us cope with the uncertainty and challenges of our present times.

For Students

  • The BC Health App – explains social distancing, preventive measures like hand washing, and provides general health information and a link to BC’s COVID-19 assessment tool.
  • Stresslr - An online (multiplatform) app that introduces the idea of stress and assists a student in develop attributes to be resilient in the face of stress.  BC developed and suitable for students grades 4 and up.
  • Foundry – offers young people ages 12-24 health and wellness resources, services and supports – online across BC.
  • Dealing with Depression – an online resource to designed for youth to gain insights into depression and to develop coping in response. Developed as part of BC’s Child and Youth mental health plan.
  • MindYourMind provides sound bytes, messages, and a tool kit for young people and community partners aged 14-29 to co-create interactive tools and innovative resources to build capacity and resilience. A program of Connex.Ontario.
  • Webbing with Wisdom launched in Ontario at the beginning of 2017 has a mission to help girls and young women learn about and deal with online sexual violence.
  • MindHealthBC – is a one stop shop that gathers a wealth of evidence-based resources into one place including:
    • Mental health and substance use information
    • Self-help resources and online programs
    • Local support groups for patients and for friends and family members
    • Community health services suited to an individual's specific needs
  • BounceBack®is a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry.  Designed by the Canadian Mental Health Association BC.
  • WalkAlong is a community where young Canadians can explore their mental health amongst their peers. We believe wellness comes from empowerment and we like to see WalkAlong as a companion; someone to walk along with you during your journey to better mental health. This portal is a Canadian-based mental health resource that also provides information and links to existing mental health care resources for friends & family members.MENTAL HEALTH TOOLS & RESOURCES
  • Open Mind BC presents a valuable resource for physicians, parents, teachers, and youth to learn more about the support services that are available in British Columbia and across Canada. The transition between youth and adulthood can be overwhelming for those who may face new experiences, challenges, and pressures.  From the Doctors of BC.
  • BC Children's Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre provides mental health and substance use information, resources, help with mental health system navigation and peer support to children, youth and their families from across BC. We also provide these services to people of all ages with eating disorders or disordered eating concerns. All of our services are free of charge, and you can reach us over the phone (1-800-665-1822), in person or by email (keltycentre@cw.bc.ca).
  • WE Schools @home was developed in partnership with the Ministry of Education, B.C. educators and mental health professionals, this program is aimed at youth who are experiencing anxiety and social isolation. Accessible in both English and French, the program provides educators for grades 4-6 and grades 9-12 with a wealth of valuable resources aligned with B.C.'s curriculum.
  • EASE (Every Anxiety Strategies for Educators) at Home program for grades K-3 and 4-7. EASE includes five weeks of daily activities that focus on tips and strategies to create calming routines for children and help them talk about difficult emotions and manage their anxiety.

Immediate Help

  • Kids Help Phone: Reach a counsellor 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868 (support in French or English), text CONNECT to 686868 (24/7), or live chat via the website (9:00pm – 4:00am). 
  • Crisis Centre – Go online to chat at crisiscentre.bc.ca or call 1-800-784-2433
  • BC Children’s Hospital
  • Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Service – 1-800-663-1441 (toll-free in B.C.)

KUU-US Crisis Response Service – provides 24/7 culturally aware crisis support to indigenous people in BC.  Follow the link or call 1-800-588-8717.

LGBTQ2S+ Supports for Students and Families:

Youth Line: A peer support line through phone, text or online chat services for youth in
Canada.
QCHAT: A peer support line through phone, text or online chat services and resource
database for youth in B.C.
Youth Space: An online crisis and emotional support chat service through IM chat or text.
pflagcanada: A peer to peer support and resources site for youth and families in Canada.
BC Queer & Trans Homeschool Facebook group: Resources, support and encouragement for
home schooling trans and queer families during the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on B.C.
K-12 curriculum.
Trans Care BC: Provides links to community support groups and family resources.
pflagcanada: A peer to peer support and resources site for youth and families in Canada.

For Families

HealthLinkBC is your online portal to emergency and other public health services across BC.

Virtual Mental Health Supports During COVID-19 (Ministry of Mental Health and 

Addictions): links to virtual mental health supports, including supports for youth, frontline health care workers, seniors, Indigenous peoples, and victims of family or sexual violence. **New (April 16, 2020) 

Mental Well-Being Information and Resources and links from the Ministry of Education.   Ways to Support Our Children and Caring Adults during the pandemic. 

Covid-19 Psychological First Aid Service offers “Psychological First Aid” telephone calls, free of charge, to any BC resident (19+) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This service is being offered by the BC Psychological Association in partnership with the University of British Columbia.

The BC Health App – explains social distancing, preventive measures like hand washing, and provides general health information and a link to BC’s COVID-19 assessment tool.

Confident Parents: Thriving Kids – offers a toolikit to parents to promote healthy and resilient youth.  This resource is provided by Canadian Mental Health Association – BC.

Healthy Living…. It’s in Everyone   - An online guide to healthy living in BC for families with a focus on enhancing your family’s life through:

  • Healthy Eating
  • Being Active Together
  • Managing Stress
  • Developing Healthy Sleep Habits

MindHealthBCis a one stop shop that gathers a wealth of evidence-based resources into one place including:

  • Mental health and substance use information
  • Self-help resources and online programs
  • Local support groups for patients and for friends and family members
  • Community health services suited to an individual's specific needs

Heads Up Guys is based out of the University of British Columbia and is part of the Men’s Depression and Suicide Network, a Canada-wide initiative to develop resources, services and programs to improve the mental health and well-being of men. Their website provides information, tips and advice to support men in their fight against depression.

Here to Help is designed individuals and families to find quality information, learn new skills, and connect with key resources to support mental health in BC.

Open Mind BC presents a valuable resource for physicians, parents, teachers, and youth to learn more about the support services that are available in British Columbia and across Canada.   The transition between youth and adulthood can be overwhelming for those who may face new experiences, challenges, and pressures.  From the Doctors of BC.

Supporting Your Family’s Mental Wellness - Children’s Mental Health Ontario provides online links to resources and publications for youth and families. 

For Staff

In addition to the resources listed for parents, staff may wish to access the following:

Mental Health First Aid – is a training course developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to help people provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.

Employee Assistance Plan. – with Lifeworks offers consultations, information and personalized referrals – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – for you and your family members.  You can contact Lifeworks at 1-877-207-8833.  TTY services are available at 1-877-371-9978.   User ID:  sd64.  See your Lifeworks card for the password.  Monthly and quarterly employee newsletters also offer information and resources.

Teacher Resources for Teaching About Mental Health

Helping Children Cope with Coronavirus and Uncertainty  An excellent, brief introduction for adults that includes a short 1:29 minute video regarding how adults can talk to children about the virus.

COVID-19 Do’s and Don’ts is a BC Ministry of Health poster.

Stop Wondering, Start Knowing – A mental health video resource for schools developed by the Health Literacy Team at BC Children’s Hospital.  This resource is designed to help you and your students to:

  • Better understand and be more aware of mental health
  • Recognize the early signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges
  • Reflect and share ideas about mental health
  • Help decrease the stigma around mental health
  • Learn about resources available for support

Open Mind BC presents a valuable resource for physicians, parents, teachers, and youth to learn more about the support services that are available in British Columbia and across Canada.   The transition between youth and adulthood can be overwhelming for those who may face new experiences, challenges, and pressures.  From the Doctors of BC.

Elementary Mental Health Kit – While the resource contacts are in Alberta there may be a number of useful lesson ideas to teach students in grades 3 to 6 about mental wellness.

The Mental Health and High School Curriculum Guide provides a complete set of evidence-based, online modular resources proven to increase the understanding of mental health and mental disorders, decrease the stigma of mental illness and enhance help-seeking efficacy among both students and teachers.  An Alberta resource.

Teacher Resources for Mental Health Education published by the Ontario Department of Children’s Mental Health provides a free web-based curriculum resource for teachers.

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