Today, on Bell Let’s Talk Day, six Niagara Catholic District schools and The Fleming Centre in Lincoln became Wellness Wall Ambassadors, in support of mental wellness.
This morning, students, staff and supporters kicked off the four month pilot project at St. Edward School in Jordan, building out the first theme wall, which focusses on bullying.
Students tend to not come to us directly, but their friends will tell us if they are worried about one of their peers. At St. Edward we also have a staff mental health champion on-site and are consistently engaging students on new mental health projects throughout the school year to keep them talking and taking action. Carla Bianco, Principal of St. Edward Elementary School
This project, is presented by Pathstone Mental Health, in partnership with the Niagara Catholic District School Board, The Town of Lincoln, Spark Niagara, Niagara College and Digitall Graphics.
“This effort, was a year in the making. The goal of the Wellness Wall is to create an atmosphere of education, awareness and empathy for students and community. Using the February theme of bullying as an example, it’s important that kids are aware of what bullying looks like, how they can intercept it and to be aware of some of the signs that are linked to those who bully and to those who are bullied. – Kim Rossi, Director of Philanthropy & PR – Pathstone Mental Health
The Wellness Walls pilot project focuses on two themes, designed to educate students about a number of mental health issues they may encounter. Our goal is to empower students to take action, support fellow students, and to feel they can be leaders in bettering mental wellness at school. When Wellness Walls is rolled out to all Niagara Catholic schools in September, four themes will be unveiled throughout the school year.
Students will build out their own wall in a high traffic area of the school. They are encouraged to interact with the wall from posting messages of hope and encouragement to taking photos of the statistics presented, scanning the QR code which will take them to a video matching the theme, and even completing the online survey to give their thoughts on the project.
Teachers may also bring the content into the classroom for further discussion.
“At Niagara Catholic, we have highlighted mental health promotion in our Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, and this project brings that to life. It’s important for mental health programs to be visible in the schools, so that students can feel safe and comfortable talking about mental health.” – Andrea Bozza- Registered Psychotherapist, Mental Health Lead Niagara Catholic District School Board, Catholic Education Center
“Niagara College recognizes the importance of mental health and wellness by ensuring that support is visible and accessible to students. We’re pleased to sponsor the innovative Wellness Walls initiative which will encourage open dialogue about mental health in our community.” – Lianne Gagnon – Director of Student Services, Niagara College.
Why the Town of Lincoln felt it important to pilot this project both in schools and in the community.
“The health and wellbeing of our residents is paramount. Supportive, holistic places where residents can participate in not only physical and social activity but maintain and improve their emotional and mental health ensure that we are realizing our community vision as a place to grow, a place to prosper and a place to belong. Empowering our youth by building resilient, aware and compassionate individuals outstretches beyond home and school life. Future leaders are a product of a community that supports them.” – Sarah Ane, Associate Director, Community Services, Town of Lincoln
“Spark Niagara recognizes that strong mental health is an important part of strong community health, and that the business community has a vital role to play in promoting open conversation about mental health so that all members of our community can thrive.” – Dave Robitaille – Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Spark Niagara
Participating Pilot Project Schools/Centres
- Blessed Trinity (secondary school)
- Our Lady of Fatima
- St. Edward (kick off school)
- St. John
- St. Joseph
- St. Martin
- Fleming Centre
- Town of Lincoln Summer Camp