Adapted in English by Valérie Harnois
Traumatizing events such as what happened in the Old Quebec on Halloween Night of 2020, or in Laval in October of 2015 illustrate how extreme mental health issues can have an unpredictable and sometimes dangerous effect on society. Is it possible to predict events of an extreme violent nature?
The very next day, following the dreadful events of Halloween 2020 where two people passed away and five were severely wounded, the Quebec government made a significant announcement. They pushed ahead their announcement of 100 million$ for mental health services, which was supposed to take place on November 12. These funds will increase psychological helps services until March 2022, for people suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues, mild or severe, whether or not this condition is related to the pandemic.
« Carmant said he also wanted to make sure people don’t confuse mental health issues with mental health illnesses, and said that people who experience either are rarely violent. I think that what happened this weekend was unpredictable and that we can’t make a definitive link to the pandemic. »CBC, November 2, 2020
The government had already announced 25 million $ to improve access to mental health resources for teens and young adults. These funds are meant for students in high school, CEGEP and universities affected by the health measures in place since September 2020. Whether it is because social contacts are limited or because some sports activities are suspended, youths are facing a daunting period since the beginning of the pandemic. Many are experiencing stress and anxiety.
« We educate youth on physical activity and physical health, but I think it is about time we do the same for mental health » (free translation from DRE Grou).Le Journal de Québec, 1er novembre 2020
This article from Psychology Today shares good habits to have to take care of yourself in the current context. Small gestures often make a huge difference, allowing people to maintain balance and be ready to face the new day.
Moreover, accepting the emotions you are feeling might be the key to feeling better. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. The ACTT strategy may help people accept their current state and feel better about it. Psychology Today suggests a four-step process to do so :
- A : Acknowledge and accept uncomfortable thoughts and emotions—without judgment. You can do so by simply saying to yourself, “I’m feeling (insert emotion) right now.”
- C : Consider what you can control in the situation.
- T : Take several deep, diaphragmatic breaths (aka belly breaths).
- T : Take intentional, values-based action, by first asking yourself, “What do I want to be known for in this moment?” or “What’s the most helpful action I can take, based on what I can control?”
During these exceptional times, what would you like to do to ensure a healthy balance in your life? You can create your ideal week using a digital calendar (Google and Microsoft offer free versions). Which elements are not negotiable for you? Reading, chatting with friends, going for a run, trying a new recipe…Considering that currently, sources of joy and entertainment are somewhat limited, hobbies and things that make you happy need to be a priority in your agenda.
🎯 GENERAL OVERVIEW
The following activities will allow students to consider their mental health and reflect upon their needs in order to find balance in that area.
Disciplines and grade levels
– Physical Education and Health
- Adopts a healthy, active lifestyle
- Physical and mental health
-English as a Second Language
- Communicates orally in English
- Reinvests understanding of texts
- Writes and produces texts
Dimensions of the digital competency
- Producing content via digital technology
- Communicating via digital technology
- Developing and mobilizing information literacy
- PowerPoint, Slides or Genially
- Learn about mental health issues.
- Get acquainted with the available resources in order to get help with mental health issues and understand the importance of various actions related to their surroundings, friends and family.
- Elaborate and voice the elements that help go through trying times and give advice to feel better
ACTIVITY 1 : Mental Health Week
Ask students to view the following video and answer the questions as they watch.
ACTIVITY 2 : Mental Illnesses are Not Contagious!
Ask students to map out the main types of mental illnesses (anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, childhood disorders, dementia). Inform them that they will become, in small teams, experts on one type of illness and that a plenary, as a whole class, will take place at the end of the period in order to share the newly acquired knowledge of the topic.
To start, propose this page from the Canadian Mental Health Association for Mental health. They will also find a lot of information here, in the form of PDF files, to complement their mental health knowledge.
Distribute the following grid to students so they can note their findings.
End the activity by asking students to present their discovery to the group, whether in class or in front of the computer during a distance learning class, with the help of visual support which can be created with PowerPoint, Google Slides or Genially .
ACTIVITY 3 : Because we Need to Talk About it
This activity offers students the opportunity to share their coping mechanisms and what helps them maintain their balance and positively face a new day during this pandemic. Share with them the following topic by logging into Flipgrid :
This allows to compile students’ answers and send written or video feedback :
🔎 To Learn More
Fondation jeunes en tête
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Meter