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Upper Grand District School Board introduces mental health modules for grades 7 and 8

There are new learning modules being delivered to grades 7 and 8 students in the Upper Grand District School Board.

The modules were developed by the Ministry of Education last year to support existing mental health literacy in the physical education curriculum.

Mental health lead and manager of mental health at UGDSB Jenny Marino said this is not new learning. Instead, the modules provide an enhanced way of delivering the existing curriculum.

“It is important that we do it in a safe way,” said Marino. “The ministry, noting this and wanting to support our educators, worked with School Mental Health Ontario to create these modules which are in virtual learning platforms, easily accessible with a plethora of tools for educators and students to access to go along with the teaching of the curriculum.”

There will be three 40-minute modules for each grade. They were created after the school board conducted extensive consultation with parents/caregivers, students, cultural and community organizations.

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“Each lesson has a series of activities. There’s slide decks, the student has a work book, the educator has an educated guide book, and there are many tools developed by School Mental Health Ontario that are implemented to support the learning through the curriculum,” said Marino.

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“It’s the same thing, it’s just diving deeper in really a consistent way, and using a consistent methodology of delivery.”

Students who attend grades 7 and 8 are often in their pre-teens and Marino believes it is the right age for them to learn about mental health and how they can support one another.

“It’s the beginning of adolescence, it is also a time when we see students beginning to look at self-advocacy as a skill,” Marino said.

“We see possibly more self-disclosures about struggles with mental health or struggles with social situations.”

The work will align with the UGDSB’s Strategy for Student Mental Health and Well-being, Multi-year Plan and will support the board’s commitment to mentally healthy classrooms for all.

“We are so lucky to work so collaboratively and strongly with our community partners,” she said. “We really are a strong community and none of us can do this alone. That is going to support our kids huge in the interim.”

Click to play video: 'Ontario students to receive mental health education beginning in Grade 7'

Ontario students to receive mental health education beginning in Grade 7

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