WellAhead initiative hopes to improve youth mental health and wellbeing - InfoNews

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WellAhead initiative hopes to improve youth mental health and wellbeing

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November 19, 2015 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - The Okanagan Skaha School District is participating in an initiative to improve child and youth mental health and wellbeing.

The school district is part of a group of six school districts taking part in the WellAhead initiative, a program aiming to improve child and youth mental health by integrating wellbeing into school communities.

The online component of the program recently launched at ideas.wellahead.ca, following the introduction of the program in August by the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation to school districts Victoria, Coquitlam, Alberni, Okanagan-Skaha, Sea to Sky and Nisga’a school districts, according to a media release.

Parents, educators, students, administrators and community partners have been sharing ideas in a dozen ideation and refinement sessions over the past month, the result of which has been a core set of ideas to be shared more broadly for input, suggestions and ideas.

Mali Bain with WellAhead describes the WellAhead program as a conversation starter about everyday practises with respect to social and emotional well-being that can have significant impacts on the lives of children.

WellAhead is now seeking input from local parents, teachers, students and the public in general. They can share these ideas by visiting ideas.wellahead.ca prior to November 23.

The release says the initiative is committed to collaboration, mass participation, collective ownership, transparency and emergence as it seeks new ways to improve the mental health of youth.

In 2016, each of the participating six pilot districts will begin to test and evaluate some of the proposed ideas and practises to better understand how they work, evaluate their impact and develop ways of extending the practices.

“The WellAhead process has been an amazing opportunity for our schools to work alongside community to collaboratively design practices that enhance wellbeing,” Princess Margaret Secondary School psychology teacher Jenny Mitchell says.

She says small everyday practices like saying hello have a positive influence on our wellbeing.

“In a busy school day it can be hard to fit everything in. The WellAhead approach looks to embed wellbeing practices across the school day, making wellbeing part of the school culture,” she says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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