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We Help Update – Winter 2024

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We Help Update – Winter 2024

Mental Health and Well-being Resources

We all have mental health. It is an aspect of our well-being that is fluid and comprised of a variety of shifting components. It is how we feel, think and act; how we interact with the world around us, and how it interacts with us.

Mental health is influenced by multiple factors, such as how systemic barriers impact us, our ability to meet our basic needs, our sense of self-efficacy, and our sense of belonging to a community. Our experience of mental health may differ based on our social location and the identities we hold such as age, race, socioeconomic status, gender identity and more.

School Mental Health Ontario – What is Mental Health?

Mental health is bigger than the presence or absence of a mental illness. People who live with a mental illness can and do thrive, just as people without a mental illness may experience poor mental health. 

HWDSB will be offering various webinars, workshops and treatment groups to students and caregivers over the coming weeks and months. Find a full listing of mental health-related opportunities in our We Help Update – Winter 2024.

In addition to groups and workshops, students and families can also explore links to a wide range of mental health and well-being resources. You can also click the tabs to find information about HWDSB Social Work Services and the School Mental Health Ontario (SMHO) mental health literacy modules for grades 7 and 8.

AFFIRM Is an eight-session Cognitive-Based Therapy informed treatment group specifically for Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ youth to develop coping skills for anxiety and stress related to experiences of discrimination as a result of their sexual and gender identities. The goals of AFFIRM are to decrease unhelpful thoughts, feel better about yourself and lives, and to make healthy choices for sexual and mental health.
Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions.

TRAILS Anxiety and Depression
TRAILS (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students) groups are designed to help children and youth (grades 4 to 6, 7 to 8, and 9 to 12) who struggle with moderate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and/or depression by teaching evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness skills.
For more information, please contact the Principal/Vice-Principal or Social Worker at your school or [email protected].

Teen Activation Group (TAG)
TAG is a treatment group for youth (grades 9 to 12) struggling with depression and anxiety who are not ready to access other treatment options. The group is based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Behaviour Activation Therapy. The goal of the group is to help children and youth to reduce their depressive and anxious symptoms and increase their overall activity level, so they can access other treatment options or so they no longer require treatment.
For more information, please contact the Principal/Vice-Principal or Social Worker at your school or [email protected].

mental health resources for students pdfMore Resources for Students

Click here for Community Supports and Mental Health Resources for Students

Use HWDSB’s Community Supports and Mental Health Resources for Students list to find:

  • Individual Supports
  • Group Supports
  • Provincial Resources
  • Crisis Services
  • Community Supports

Use the associated links to register, and find detailed descriptions for sessions in the menus below.

Session Title Date Time Link to Register/Attend
Families Worrying Less Together Info Session January 17 12-1 p.m. hwdsb.info/fwlt-jan-12pm
Families Worrying Less Together Info Session January 17 6-7 p.m. hwdsb.info/fwlt-jan-6pm
Emotion Coaching Webinar January 25 6:30-8 p.m. hwdsb.info/emotion-coaching-jan25
Emotion Coaching Webinar February 14 9:30-11 a.m. hwdsb.info/emotion-coaching-feb14
Emotion Coaching Webinar February 21 6:30-8 p.m. hwdsb.info/emotion-coaching-feb21
Emotion Coaching Webinar March 20 6:30-8 p.m. hwdsb.info/emotion-coaching-march20

Emotion Coaching

Emotion Coaching is a communication strategy that can calm the brain in as little as 60 seconds and help improve relationships.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, and Hamilton Family Health Team invite parents and caregivers to explore Emotion Coaching in a 90-minute webinar, and if interested, a six-week parent/caregiver group for further learning. Click the following links to register for one of the 90-minute webinars:

January 25 from 6:30-8 p.m. – hwdsb.info/emotion-coaching-jan25

February 14 from 9:30-11 a.m. – hwdsb.info/emotion-coaching-feb14

February 21 from 6:30-8 p.m. – hwdsb.info/emotion-coaching-feb21

March 20 from 6:30-8 p.m. – hwdsb.info/emotion-coaching-march20

To register for the six-week parent/caregiver group, please call the Hamilton Family Health Team, Mental Health Groups line at 905-667-4852. We encourage caregivers to participate in a webinar before joining the caregiver group, however, it is not required.

What is Emotion Coaching?
Emotion Coaching is a communication strategy that can calm the brain in as little as 60 seconds, and help improve relationships. Emotion Coaching has two steps:

  • Validation: Letting someone know we understand why they feel, think or act a certain way.
  • Support: Then, we provide emotional and practical support using strategies like reassurance, limit-setting, redirecting, collaborative problem-solving, teaching skills, etc.

Learning in Webinars

  • Introduction to Emotion Coaching and how it can improve relationships with your child/youth
  • Understanding the role of emotions
  • Linking Emotion Coaching to neuroscience
  • Reviewing Emotion Coaching approaches

PDF Flyer: Emotion-Coaching-for-Parents-Caregivers-Winter-2024
Parent/Caregiver Cheat Sheet: Emotion Coaching Cheat Sheet for Parents and Caregivers
Video: Learn more about Emotion Coaching at HWDSB

Families Worrying Less Together

If you are the parent/primary caregiver of a student in grades JK to 8 who is excessively shy or has intense worries and fears, come learn about the Families Worrying Less Together program. This program will give you practical strategies to help your child learn to cope differently. Please note: This program is for parents and primary caregivers, children do not attend. 

January 17 from 12 to 1 p.m. – hwdsb.info/fwlt-jan-12pm

January 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. – hwdsb.info/fwlt-jan-6pm

PDF Flyer – FWLT Info Night January 2024

More Resources for Parents

Community Supports and Mental Health Resources for Parents and Caregivers
mental health resources for parents
Use HWDSB’s Community Supports and Mental Health Resources for Parents list to find:

  • Individual Supports
  • Workshops & Groups
  • Resources by Topic
  • Provincial Resources
  • Crisis Services
  • Community Supports


Social Work Services

Mental health affects us all – and has real impacts on our lives. At HWDSB, we are committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of all students and staff. We offer various webinars, workshops, and treatment groups to students and families over the course of the school year. 

HWDSB Social Work Services provides individual mental health and well-being supports for children and youth in the following areas: 

  • Mental health, such as anxiety or low mood,  
  • School avoidance and non-attendance, personal or social stressors (i.e. adverse childhood experiences, peer relationship, stress substance use,)  
  • Family stressors that impact the student’s functioning at school  
  • Experiencing systemic oppression and discrimination (racism, poverty, colonialization, homophobia/biphobia/transphobia, poverty etc.)  
  • Crisis, such as imminent risk of harm to self or others.  

Individual Support can include consultation, assessment, intervention and support in accessing community services; and may include a child or youth’s circle of care, such as caregivers, teachers, and community service providers and identified caring adults. All services are provided by professional social workers registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and are available in all schools. Services may be provided in person and/or virtually, via Microsoft Teams.  

To access Social Work Services please contact the Principal/Vice-Principal of your school or [email protected]. 

Students in grades 7 and 8 are participating in a series of mental health literacy modules from School Mental Health Ontario (SMHO). This learning is based on the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum. These modules have been made mandatory so that every student has access to reliable and research-based information about mental health that is relevant for the adolescent years. Developing skills and habits that promote well-being and learning about common mental health problems and how to access support when needed, can help students to care for their mental health and may help to prevent future mental health problems.

PDF for Families: SMHO Mental Health Literacy Modules

In case of crisis, call 911 or visit your local hospital emergency room. For urgent support, contact Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868; www.kidshelpphone.ca; text CONNECT) or COAST Hamilton (905-972-8338; www.coasthamilton.ca).

Updated on Tuesday, January 09, 2024.
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