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Sep 10
Mental health support for students

The return to school can be a stressful time for students, and with additional concerns around COVID-19, this stress can be amplified. The Surrey School District is working to ensure mental health support is in place for students.

The district’s Student Support department has numerous mental health resources and supports available to students dealing with stress, starting with school counsellors who are trained to work with students experiencing stress and understand that asking for help isn’t easy.

“My focus is equipping counsellors, teachers, staff on how to recognize mental health issues with students,” said Daniel To, District Principal of Education Services. “The reason we want to train staff is because students will generally talk to their teacher first. They’re more comfortable with people they’re familiar with so it’s critical that their teacher or principal knows how to support their student

Student - counsellor.jpgSince the transition to remote learning in March, To said there has been an increase in stress for some students, but not just around isolation and loneliness.

“It was more stress caused by family stresses: parents being out of work, not being able support the family, not being able to physically see friends,” he said. “Also being ostracized or stigmatized for being careful and following public health guidance - wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance. That is probably the biggest stressor for teenagers, how can I remain connected if I can’t connect?”

These new stresses come in addition to general concerns around academic performance and class schedules, which To said could be heightened by new models of learning partly in-class and partly at home. But while students won’t be at school every day, To said counsellors arguably have more availability to see students, thanks to online counselling sessions via Microsoft Teams.

“One silver lining is people are more used to virtual connection, so being able to connect over Teams is easier than going somewhere and more accessible for our students,” he said.

For students seeking support, To recommends starting by talking to a school counsellor, or a teacher, principal or other staff member who can assist in introducing them to their school counsellor. From there, students can freely express their stresses and receive guidance, resources and tools to manage them.

The district’s Student Support department also maintains a list of Mental Health Resources and Supports, including the following (for a full list, click here):


Crisis Supports:

Kids Help Line: 1-800-668-6868

Kids Help Phone: (Text CONNECT to 686868)

Fraser Health Crisis Line: 604-951-8855 or 1-877-820-7444 (toll free)

Short Term Assessment Response Team (START): 1-844-782-7811

Mental Health Support Line (24/7 all ages): 310-6789

Emergency Mental Health Crisis: Call 911 – Car 67 Mental Health Police Response

Suicide Prevention Crisis Line: 1-800-784-2433

Suicide Prevention Education and Counselling (SPEAC): 604-584- 5811

Kuu-us Crisis Response Services: toll-free 1-800-588-8717, provides 24/7 culturally-aware crisis support to Indigenous people in B.C.

 

Resources:

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: keltymentalhealth.ca

Foundry BC: foundrybc.ca

Fraser Health Child and Youth Mental Health Resources: fraserhealth.ca

B.C. Government Mental Health and Substance Use Supports: www.2gov.bc.ca

Anxiety Canada: anxietycanada.com

Canadian Mental Health Association: cmha.ca

Mental Health Commission of Canada: mentalhealthcommission.ca

Wellness Together Canada – Mental Health and Substance Use Support: canada.ca

 

Child and Youth Mental Health Clinics:

South Surrey | White Rock: 604-542-3900

Surrey | Cloverdale: 604-951-5701

Surrey | Newton: 604-501-3122

Surrey | Guildford: 604-586-2685

Surrey | North: 604-951-5960

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