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We Help Update – Spring 2024

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As the spring season emerges, it marks a new season of extracurricular activities and academic expectations for many young people. This time in the school calendar can represent a period of excitement as the end of the academic year draws into sight. It can also mark a period of increased stress and worry as school demands increase, social expectations grow, and extracurricular obligations multiply. As we move into spring, it is important to support to prioritize mental health and well-being. Creating environments where students feel like they belong, are connected and matter is critical to support students to do their best during this new season, while also navigating the competing demands and challenges that they face. 

Caregiver Evening Event:  ‘Talking About Mental Illness” (brought to you by CMHA) May 8, 2024

May 6 to May 12 marks Mental Health Awareness Week. The goal of this week is to promote conversations related to mental health and well-being. This year’s Mental Health Week is centered on the healing power of compassion. “In a world plagued by suffering, we emphasize that kindness is equally intrinsic to our humanity” (Canadian Mental Health Association).

HWDSB marks this week by hosting events related to mental health and well-being at schools for our students. We also wanted to extend the following opportunity for caregivers to participate as well:

Please join us in welcoming CMHA Hamilton and the TAMI (Talking About Mental Illness) program for an in-person evening session at the Education Centre, 20 Education Court, on Wednesday May 8 from 6-8 p.m. In this session, we will hear from an adult mother and daughter as they share their experiences of weathering the teenage years and supporting a child with mental illness and substance use through a journey to recovery.  Caregivers will hear both child and caregiver perspectives in this engaging and heart felt talk.  Light refreshments will be provided.

Click here to register.

Visit our website to find detailed descriptions for each of the student workshops and groups listed: hwdsb.info/WeHelpStudents 

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.
Register online at projectyouthaffirm.org/ or 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 Social Work Services (905) 527-5092 ext. 2806.

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 Social Work Services (905) 527-5092 ext. 2806.

Visit our website to find detailed descriptions for each of the parent workshops and groups listed: hwdsb.info/WeHelpParents 

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 April 16 12 p.m. hwdsb.info/fwltapril-afternoon
Families Worrying Less Together April 16 6 p.m. hwdsb.info/fwltapril-evening
Emotion Coaching  Webinar April 16 6:30 p.m. hwdsb.info/EC-Apr16
Emotion Coaching Webinar April 17 9:30 a.m. hwdsb.info/EC-Apr17
Emotion Coaching Webinar May 7 6:30 p.m. hwdsb.info/EC-May7
Talking About Mental Illness Event May 8 6 p.m. Click here to register.
Emotion Coaching Webinar June 7 6:30 p.m. hwdsb.info/EC-June4

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:

April 16 from 6:30-8 p.m. – hwdsb.info/EC-Apr16
April 17 from 9:30-11 a.m. – hwdsb.info/EC-Apr17
May 7 from 6:30-8 p.m. – hwdsb.info/EC-May7
June 4 from 6:30-8 p.m. – hwdsb.info/EC-June4

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-Spring-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. Please register using the following links:

April 16 from 12-1 p.m. –  hwdsb.info/fwltapril-afternoon
April 16 from 6-7 p.m. – hwdsb.info/fwltapril-evening

PDF Flyer: FWLT Info Session Spring 2024

More Resources for Students and Families

mental health resources for parents

HWDSB Mental Health Resource Lists for Students and Parents 

Use HWDSB’s Community Supports and Mental Health Resources lists for students and parents/caregivers to find:  

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

Community Supports and Mental Health Resources for Students 

Community Supports and Mental Health Resources for Parents and Caregivers 

McMaster Children’s Hospital Growing Together: A Community Education Guide for Parents, Youth and Children 

 You can also find Help by Topic on the HWDSB We Help page. Explore resources for topics like:  

  • General Mental Health 
  • Anxiety and Depression 
  • Emotional Regulation 
  • Sexual Health


Updated on Monday, April 15, 2024.
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