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New Surrey Schools video series supports student mental health

Surrey Schools has created a new series of animated videos intended to raise awareness, provide guidance and prompt important conversations about a variety of mental health issues commonly experienced by students of all ages.

“The health and well-being of our students continues to be a top priority in our district,” said Surrey Board of Education Chair Laurie Larsen. “We want to normalize conversations around mental health and not only assure our children and youth that they are never alone in facing any challenge, but also provide healthy strategies and resources for them to manage and navigate those often confusing and difficult thoughts and feelings.

“The topics for these videos were identified by our district's counsellors and school psychologists. These individuals know what our students are dealing with and directly support their academic, social, and emotional growth. I am so grateful that they were able to share their knowledge and expertise in a format that our students and their families can access easily.”

The six-video series addresses topics such as stress, wellness, relationships, technology use and body image, and are available in two versions – one for elementary students and one for upper-intermediate and secondary students. All of the videos are also available in French, Punjabi, Arabic and Mandarin, and all have closed captioning.

The district will be launching two videos each month, along with teacher resources. The first two new videos are available now, with others to follow in the coming months.

The first new video is called Navigating Life Changes and contains information about how big changes in life – like moving, a death or sickness, or change in family dynamics – can cause overwhelming feelings that might be difficult to deal with. The video details and validates the array of physical and mental health impacts that could occur and outlines healthy ways to manage those feelings.

The second video, Digital Stress, illustrates how technology use can affect our minds and bodies, and reminds us to ensure we find balance so that our device use isn’t taking over our lives, altering our sense of reality, harming our relationships, or impacting our health.

“Our hope is that when educators watch the videos with students, it facilitates discussion and makes it easier to have some of those not-so-easy conversations,” said Larsen.

The topics addressed in the videos were determined following a survey of school counsellors and psychologists, who provided their insight into issues they see students and families deal with on a regular basis. An accompanying resource guide for educators has been created for each video for classrooms use, with suggestions on how to approach topics sensitively, as well as ideas to prompt further discussion.

“Our counsellors, psychologists and other district staff are in our schools, talking to and hearing from students daily,” said Director of Instruction Selma Smith. “They see the challenges first-hand and are often among the first adults that students will turn to for support. We are so pleased they will now have additional resources to assist children, youth, and families.”

These videos were developed in partnership with Fraser Health and the Ministry of Education and Child Care, which provided financial support for the project. The new series complements two previous mental health videos, You Are Not Alone and Coping with Stress & Anxiety.

The videos, in all languages and learning levels, are available to view here (under Video Resources).

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