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Apr 23
Surrey School District pilots COVID-19 youth wellness toolkit

Stigma-Free COVID-19 Toolkit.png

Surrey Schools is the first school district in Canada to pilot a new online resource for Grade 4-12 students and their parents addressing youth wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In collaboration with the Stigma-Free Society, the district is working with the charity to offer the Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit, an online community-based participatory program to promote mental wellness. Developed with mental health experts, professors and psychologists, the resource provides students, teachers and parents effective and useful content for children and teens to manage their health and wellbeing.

Daniel To, District Principal of Education Services, said the initiative is the latest in the district's two-year collaboration with the non-profit organization, which has seen the Stigma-Free Society present to more than 7,000 students in both secondary and elementary schools.

"When COVID-19 hit, they developed this pandemic resource in a thoughtful and comprehensive way and consulted with me, as a parent and educator, on whether the resources met the needs of our community and how best to lay out the resource on the website," he said, noting he's proud of the relationship between Surrey Schools and the Stigma-Free Society.

"To be the first in Canada to pilot this targeted toolkit means that we can be one of the first to give out these comprehensive and targeted resources to our students, parents and staff. This is so important as we continue to work together as a district and, with the community, on how to best support our learners and our families."

Through the toolkit, students can access video libraries, inspirational stories and downloadable resources that address concerns around COVID-19 and provide coping methods to improve mental health. The toolkit can also be used by teachers to start conversations with students about health and wellbeing, explain COVID-19 to students in various ways, and provide ideas for parents on activities their kids can do to keep busy.

"To be honest, there are a lot of resources out there, both government and community based," said To. "The key difference between this and other resources, which are also very valuable and necessary, is that the Stigma-Free Society engages the discussion on mental health and wellness from the educational perspective."

Students and teachers are also encouraged to give feedback on the toolkit using the purple tab on the right side. To access the toolkit, visit stigmafreetoolkit.com.

For a comprehensive list of mental health resources and supports offered by Surrey Schools, click here

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