Talking about mental health and well-being is an important part of raising awareness and decreasing stigma. So students from nearly 40 schools from across the TDSB did just that.
Mental health promotion, stigma, resiliency, equity, stress and coping were the key themes of this year’s Feeder Leader initiative.
Six high schools hosted their area feeder schools for a full day of discussion, activities, games and more led by high school students for their younger peers and supported by Toronto Public Health staff and school staff advisors.
The ‘Feeder Leader Initiative’ provides an opportunity for students in Grades 6 to 8 and secondary school students to learn more about mental health and well-being, while building leadership capacity.
For middle school leaders it provides students with a leadership opportunity, increases knowledge, awareness of mental health and well-being including school-wide strategies, increases awareness of strategies to address stigma associated with mental illness and supports the transition to high school through increased connections to secondary schools and continued leadership opportunities. The day also models activities and initiatives that middle school leaders can use and facilitate in their own school communities.
For secondary school leaders, the day provides a leadership and mentorship opportunity, increases awareness and literacy of mental health and well-being concepts and strategies and increases skills in event planning, decision making, negotiation, time management, presenting and organization.
“This is a tremendous initiative that is entirely student-led and staff supported,” said Saleem Haniff, Mental Health Lead at the TDSB. “It’s so important for students have this kind of welcoming forum where they can learn and participate and inspire others.”