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Partnership for good mental health management in the CECCE’s schools

October 27, 2017, OTTAWA - The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) cares deeply about the well-being of its students and staff.  Data from a recent survey has shown that students experience periods of anxiety and stress.  To better equip students and staff, this October, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, the CECCE is pleased to announce that it is investing in a new partnership to promote good mental health management in its schools.

The partnership, which will be jointly administered with the Centre Psychosocial (CPS) and the University of Ottawa, will consist of two programs: one intended for high school students, and the other for teaching staff. A member of the School of Social Work from the University of Ottawa will also be involved, to assess the project’s impact and effects.

CECCE Chair Johanne Lacombe was enthusiastic about the partnership, which builds on one of the CECCE’s priorities: ensuring the well-being of each and every student and staff member. “Promoting positive mental health among the students and staff of the CECCE’s schools is essential to creating a positive learning environment. That’s why I believe launching this pilot project will help us ensure that everyone can thrive and reach their full potential in a healthy environment that is conducive to growth.”

Program for high school students

The goal of the one-year “Funambule” (Tightrope) program is to develop social and emotional skills in adolescents and provide them with tools for managing anxiety and stress. Students at the high schools included in the initiative will have the chance to participate in workshops held by a social worker and a special needs worker from the Centre Psychosocial.

These workshops will focus on teaching students how to increase their resilience in order to better manage stress and anxiety in familiar contexts such as at school, during educational assessments, at home, among friends, in sports, etc. This initiative will take place alongside the many other services already offered by the social work team in the CECCE’s high schools.

Program for staff

The three-year program for staff, inspired by the WMA Wellness “Positive Workplace Framework (PWF)”, seeks to offer CECCE staff a positive workplace and a school culture that encourages staff support. To that end, professionals from the Centre Psychosocial will train and support leaders in the schools so they can then organize workshops and activities for all the staff at their school.

This “training the trainers” approach will help the schools build capacity to support their independence and ensure the initiative’s successes are sustainable. The program also includes a specific theme for each year, namely wellness, resilience, and leadership.

“The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est is sensitive to the fact that positive mental health and wellness are key factors in both the professional success of our employees and the educational success of our students,” said Réjean Sirois, Director of Education of the CECCE. “Establishing positive psychological practices will undeniably help create a workplace and learning environment that is more favourable to everyone reaching their full potential.”

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