Grade 9 students from schools throughout Fort La Bosse School Division will assemble in Virden for a mental health seminar on Oct. 3.
“We have a clear wellness focus,” explains Tess Lelond, the Clinical Services Specialist with Prairie Mountain Health.
Lelond is a seasoned mental health educator who initially worked for Assiniboine Regional Health Authority serving in rural Manitoba.
The all-day event will be held in Tundra Oil & Gas Place banquet hall where a team of professional child and mental health workers from PMH are going to moderate sessions along with FLB staff.
“In the past we have had panel speakers. We’ve flipped it completely this year. Instead of just teaching illness, understanding illness, we’re going to teach a little bit about that, but talk about protective factors,” said Lelond.
Healthy building blocks
Playing off of the popularity of the computer game Minecraft, PMH’s school program is called Mind Craft.
(The game of Minecraft is an interactive video game where the player mines for ore, explores, deals with problems, all interactions in a dynamically-generated world – building the life they want.)
“So we’re really getting kids to look at mental wellness, preventing many of the things that bring us distress, and how to deal with it.” She says the seminar or workshop will examine physical, mental, social and spiritual wellness.
“Kids are going to be looking at ‘What are things I can start, or stop, doing?’” She gives the example of healthy eating, or exercise and how that plays into mental health.
While sexuality is not a focus of this workshop, along with teaching about physical wellbeing, there will be some resources made available to students.
Lelond says Wendy Bancescu is one of the FLB school councillors. “She’ll be doing something on mindfulness when we look at our spiritual wellness and meditation and what that is.”
In this experiential seminar, students will have an opportunity to create their own toolkit for health. “At the end of the physical aspect, the kids will take that portfolio and try to create a wellness plan for themselves.”
October 1-7 is Canadian Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. It starts with ending the stigma of mental illness.