Thursday 14 February 2019

Best Practices to Support Mental Health for Children and Youth…Love, Empathy and Connection
Part 1 of a 4 Part Series

Submitted by: Stacey Hannay, HPEC Comprehensive School Health Representative

Have you ever wondered how to address mental health and related issues in your classroom without triggering students? As professionals, we are always striving to provide our students with safe and caring learning environments, and as our classrooms become more complex so do our students needs.  In this digital era we can find many pieces of literature to support our teaching practices, but not all provide us with strength-based approaches to dealing with mental health.  As a teacher-researcher for 20 years now, my classroom and the students in it have drastically changed, and I have found my teaching practice evolving sometimes faster than I can input information. In an attempt to provide you with some guidance on mental health and related issues, I would like to share the first of a 4 part series into the journey of “best practices”, exploring resources and tools to support mental health in your classroom that are clinical in nature and supported by the research that informs them.

I recently had an opportunity to sit with Priscilla Asamoah (MEd, RPC) from Alberta Health Services to discuss “best practices” for teachers’. As we opened up the dialogue between us, the question around which resources and tools would best serve teachers in their quests to promote safe and caring learning environments for students around mental health came to forefront of the conversation. Our first in a 4 part series begins with Love, Empathy and Connection: Supporting Mental Health. What is the research showing? The best predictor of a child or a youth’s mental health is having a loving and supportive caregiver in their lives. This is likely due to what scientists and child development specialists are calling attachment.

Mental Health Literacy Series:

Love, Empathy and Connection: Support for Mental Health
Caregiver Handout:

Love, Empathy, and Connection will go a long way in supporting your students’ mental wellness. As a teacher and caregiver, you have one of the most important jobs in the world, however be aware that this is not solely your responsibility and there are always options for assistance if you are ever in need of some extra help. Listed below are some universal supports for professional development.

(MORE)Mental Health Online Resource for Educators:
Alberta Health Services: