Dec. 21, 2022
The Christmas and holiday season brings a sense of joy, excitement, and the warmth of family for most children and families in our communities. At times, it can also be stressful for those children who have previously or are currently struggling with mental health issues or challenging life circumstances. Changes in daily routine (winter break) can increase anxiety in some children and may further worsen feelings of depression or loneliness. For those children who have recently experienced tragedy, it may also be a time when grief overwhelms them.
Our teachers, counsellors, principals and other school division staff have noticed a marked increase in the need for mental health support for youth in our communities over the past 12 months. We encourage parents/caregivers to be mindful of the mental health support that their children may need during this holiday season. Watch for significant or unusual changes in behaviour and check in on their well-being often.
We encourage families to reach out for help if needed. When school is in session, parents/caregivers may access support at their child’s school through the School Counselor Department. Additional supports are available anytime from the following community resources:
- Backstage Youth Drop-in Centre (204-326-4366)
- Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868 or Text TALK to 686868)
- Klinic Crisis Lines (204-786-8686)
- Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support line (1-877-435-7170)
- Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support website https://reasontolive.ca/
We hold onto hope as we plan for the future. With a new year on the horizon, HSD is committed to seeking additional opportunities and ways to support the youth in our community. We intend to further collaborate with Manitoba Health, RCMP, local partner organizations, and formal and informal community leaders. Our aim is to host an initial meeting early in the new year and work together with a vision to provide enhanced, coordinated, and robust support to the youth in our community who hold the future in their hands.
Wishing you and your family a restful and meaningful holiday season, and we look forward to welcoming students back in January.
Shelley Amos, Superintendent-CEO
Hanover School Division