Canadian School Counselling Week … A time to celebrate what you do #cscchat

School Counsellors all over Canada are making a difference. I want to share what you do!! 

I thank you School Counsellors in Canada and in the world for all you do. YOU DO #makeadifference. Post to the hashtag #cscchat Canadian School Counsellor Chat to share what you do .

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Inspired by my dear friend Maria De Cicco, I am wanting to celebrate all the great work School Counsellors are doing in Canada this week. I want to feature YOU and what you do on my blog. If you would like to write an article and send it to me, I would love to feature the fabulous things School Counsellors are doing . Please send a pic if you can along with your blog post to If you would just like to send me a pic of you and a message that is great too. I would be happy to share it on twitter with your permission. I believe there are School Counsellors all over Canada doing amazing things and the TIME IS NOW to share what you do!!!!

Check out Julie Fantinato ‘s  @jfantinato school district’s comments from Elementary school students about their School Counsellor.

You can tell they love their School Counsellors


The CCPA has some ideas for you . Below you can see an example of what we plan on doing at BCHS. Here are some possible examples of PA Announcements:

Monday: This week is Canadian School Counselling Week.  We challenge you today we challenge you to take 10 mins. out of your day to exercise or practice mindfullness. Need more information or tips please pick up todays tips in Student Services. Have a great day! You can make a difference.

Tuesday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge students and staff to do one small good deed and when you do please post it to the hashtag #empowerBCHS or come and share with us what you did and we will share it on our school facebook site. Have a fabulous day . You make a difference.

Wednesday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge each student and staff member to express your gratitude to someone at school by telling them thank you for… You could even write a post card to them . The post cards will be available all week in Student Services. Being grateful improves your overall happiness. Do it today! You make a difference.

Thursday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge students and staff to let one of your family members know how important they are. Pick up a You make a difference in my life card in Student Services and give it to them. Remember you make a difference.

Friday: It is the last day of School Counselling Week. Your school counsellors want you to know we are here for you anytime . Come see us in Students Services. Today we challenge you to think about your favourite wellness quote and post it to the hashtag #empowerBCHS or share it with us in Student Services and we will feature it in the upcoming weeks. Have a wonderful weekend and remember You make a difference.

You may also wish to send someone you know who supports School Counsellors a thank you. This one I made with haiku deck.


jpeg Alberta School Counsellors are also doing amazing things . Check out their website here . Proclamation Canadian School Counselling Week.

 Proclamation from CCPA for School Counselling Week

WHEREAS, school counsellors are employed in public and private schools to help students reach their full potential; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as these traits relate to career awareness and development; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors help parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal and social growth of their children; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors work with teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors seek to identify and utilize community resources that can enhance and complement comprehensive school counselling programs and help students become productive members of society; and   WHEREAS, comprehensive developmental school counselling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process that enables all students to achieve success in school;   Therefore, I, ___________________________________ do hereby proclaim February 2-6, 2015, as Canadian School Counselling Week. School Counsellors make a difference . It is worth repeating. Thank you School Counsellors in Canada and in the world for all you do. YOU DO #makeadifference. Post to the hashtag #cscchat Canadian School Counsellor Chat to share what you do especially this week.

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Words Can Change The Way We Perceive Others and Ourselves

Words really do matter. I am in the process of developing an online presentation for adults on mental health and wellness so that they may assist students in their post – secondary programs. As I think about what I will say I recognize that my words matter. What I say could potentially influence educators. What they say to their students could potentially transform what happens for the students and their families. Mental health literacy matters,  stigma matters , words matter.

Sometimes I hear people use words way too loosely when describing someone with a mental illness or someone who has special needs or challenges. They may say so and so is an ADHD kid or so and so is bipolar, an alcoholic etc.  It matters to me when I hear words used inappropriately as I believe strongly that we are people first ( the labels used like ADHD are only a very small way of telling us something about someone). We are so much more. Who we truly are cannot or should not be described in a few words.

So the next time you find yourself using the label first STOP and THINK about the power of your words. Jack or Jill may have a million attributes that are positive and when you use one word to define them you are missing such huge pieces of who they truly are. So eliminate so and so is a developmentally delayed child etc. and say their name and the many wonderful things about them. When you do this you start to perceive them differently. You also begin to treat each human being , each child in your care with so much more dignity and respect.

Words really do matter

Words can bring about acceptance

Words can change our brains

Words can hurt or heal

Words can hold back or help

Words can break hearts or touch hearts

Words can build others up or tear them down

Words allow people to tell their stories

Words give people their voices

Words can challenge us to be resilient

Words can give us the strength to carry on … to give us HOPE

Words can ruin someone’s day or make someone’s day

Words have the power to change others and change ourselves

What words will you use when speaking about and to your students today?

Mental Health Literacy Training


This week I was extremely fortunate to be Certified as a Trainer for the Mental Health Literacy Program facilitated by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Stan Kutcher

I was excited to be able to participate, as I have known about Dr. Kutcher’s work for a while. I am happy to say all four days were absolutely worth it. I left feeling I had learned many things that will assist me in my professional work and as a result impact the lives of the students we serve in our school community. I also loved his dry wit which absolutely kept me engaged during the process.

The training has fabulous resources for school counsellors, educators and mental health workers to utilize. This program is one of the best I have seen in a long time. It is rich in content, research, and resources.

When it comes to mental health we want students to:


  • With someone they trust like their teacher advisor , teacher, coach or other significant adult in the school who can then assist them in connecting …


  • With their school counsellor who can assist them in connecting with their doctor, health care provider and or parents to assist them with their mental health concerns

One of important things that  Dr. Stan Kutcher discussed during the four days is the difference between:

  • Mental Health Distress (one example lose your keys)
  • Mental Health Problem (one example a parent dies)
  • Mental Health Disorder/Illness (one example clinical depression)

Too often we do not normalize what young people are feeling. It is normal to feel sad after a break up, but that does not mean the student is in a clinical depression. We need to teach our young people the difference between distress, problem and disorder and the Mental Health Curriculum Guide  does just that. It teaches students and educators the Mental Health Literacy that they need in today’s world based on present day research on the brain.

If you want to learn more you can take a quiz here to get you started…

Below I will share a few of the fantastic resources available. You may want to book a training in your area if you do contact @TMentalHealth

Digital storytelling:

Panic Disorder:

Coping with suicidal thoughts:


I really hope educators from around the globe will consider this fantastic program as part of any initiative that will benefit every student and family in their school and community.

Sharing: Unlocking the Key to My Filing Cabinet and Keeping it Open … HOPE


This blog is the beginning of me keeping my filing cabinet open. I have many resources I have wanted to share with school counsellors,but did not realize I could do it. This blog is how and the time is now thanks to the fantastic open sharing in ETMOOC and especially because of Alec Couros. The process stated with me being referred to Alec’s work by Vianne Timmons, so I went to his workshop and got going on twitter. So began the best PD ever. I have been following the fantastic work of Dr. Erin Mason and other school counsellors in the United States and beyond, but I was still not ready to jump into a blog. Fears got in the way. I have been fortunate to have many, many great dialogues with Erin Luong which also helped with my decision making. ETMOOC was the final push and as a result I believe I will share, share, share and in an OPEN EDUCATOR way. I have so much more to learn and as I do this I am very GRATEFUL for all of ETMOOC participants who have inspired me to share openly.

My first THEME HOPE.. I hope school counsellors can use some of the ideas and materials. Take what you like REMIX ( a term I now really understand because of ETMOOC ) and leave the rest.

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible” Christopher Reeve

HOPE is essential when it comes to school counselling. School Counsellors can take a leadership role when it comes to instilling hope in students. Listen to Derek’s story of not giving up which demonstrates the power of HOPE. We know that if students are resilient they are better able to self- regulate and that means they can cope more effectively. According to Barbara Frederickson a psychological researcher at the University of North Carolina, “a positive mood makes people more resilient physically”.  Resiliency and hope definitely go hand in hand.

Shane Lopez, psychologist and author of Making Hope Happen helps us understand more about hope and the steps needed to help students be more hopeful.

We want students to never give up and if we can access resources to help us do this we will make a difference and possibly save a life.

How can we spread hope throughout the school in a digital way?

  • We can post videos like Derek’s story on our counselling website.
  • We can tweet out to stories of hope on twitter.
  • We can post stories of hope on our school Facebook site as well as our school website.
  • We can embed Hope themes and pictures into our curriculum guides

Hope is an Open Heart a book by Lauren Thompson can be used with younger students to discuss losses and the overcoming of hardship.

Students could be encouraged to:

  • Make videos of HOPE
  • Create Art pieces around the theme of HOPE
  • Make @haikudecks on iPad with a HOPE theme
  • Design hopeful songs or music
  • Find people who inspire HOPE and write about them
  • Brainstorm ways to inspire hope in others
  • Make bulletin boards on themes of HOPE and Suicide Prevention
  • For younger students they could make trading cards the size of hockey cards and design cards of HOPE that they can trade with others
  • Performing Random Acts of Kindness can inspire hope as well.


  1. At you can find smile cards which you can download and hand out.
  2. Who I am Makes a Difference ribbons can be ordered at These ribbons are great to use in a Celebration of HOPE assembly or as a beginning of the year activity.
  3. Some great books for school counsellors are called :The Power To Prevent Suicide  A Guide To Helping teens by Richard E Nelson, A Parent’s Guide for Suicidal and Depressed Teens by Kate Williams Beyond the Blues a workbook to help teens overcome depression by Lisa M Schab
  4.  At you can make your own bulletin boards or make them and post for all kids to see.
  5. At pinterest you can see some ideas for HOPE on this board
  6. Search institute has done extensive research on what adolescents need to be resilient. They have great resources. Go to

As a school counsellor incorporating a suicide prevention theme with the theme of hope just makes sense. Running suicide prevention workshops for your students at the beginning of the school year is also very valueable.

Look Listen and Link is a video which could be very helpful for Suicide Prevention for teens. You can find it on Youtube. Here is another message of hope.

The Centre for Suicide Prevention has fantastic resources for school counsellors.

  1. A great book for students is When Nothing Matters Anymore by Bev Cobain

At the APP store students can access a digital blue ribbon that they can share with others sending positive messages to anyone they feel makes a difference. You can find a link to the blue ribbon in my livebinder.

Finally you can access my livebinder on HOPE for more ideas.

These are but a few ideas. Please share yours so we can help students everywhere.

This blog post will be a work in progress and as I continue to learn. I will share more and more.