Words Really Do Matter

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Words really do matter. I had originally wrote this post because I was developing an online presentation for adults on mental health and wellness so that they may assist students in their Post – Secondary programs. As I thought about what I would say I recognized 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.

This week our students at BCHS released their anti-slur campaign . Real evidence that words do matter . CAkkWFXUwAASC6N.jpg-large CAWd1M6VAAAMKPp.jpg-large Click here for all of their words.

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.

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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. Jim or Joan may have a million attributes that are positive and when you use one word to define them you are missing out on such huge pieces of who they truly are. 10419043_911951492189094_3575560603208004517_n7075_911952008855709_5968776292462405218_n10676148_911951908855719_9132407601018882210_n 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 .             11054330_911952025522374_6761228367194168442_nWords 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?

Teen Mental Health and Wellness Matters

It is always time to talk about mental health and wellness when it comes to students. This year we held our second Mental Health Symposium with Dr. Alec Couros, but throughout the year we hold small events that inform students about the importance of their own wellness.

Last year our theme was Living Aware, Living Informed , Living Empowered. We want our students at Bishop Carroll High School to feel fully empowered and we want them to be good digital citizens by posting to the hashtag #empowerBCHS

Take a look at some of the great things our students have to say:

Click here to find out more information about our symposium last year.

Our theme this year was Living Fully Alive. We really wanted students to think about all the reasons they could and should want to live. Click here to learn more.

We wanted students to leave with resources which you can find by clicking here.

We also want to continue the dialogue and have students learn more about mental health literacy. Thanks to Dr. Stan Kutcher we can .

When it comes to mental health we need to :

1) Know how to obtain and maintain good mental health

2) Understanding mental disorders and their treatments based on the best scientific evidence

3) Decrease Stigma

4) Know when and where to get help , know what to expect when you get help and having the tools to empower us to get the best care possible

Take a look at his fabulous website to find out more Teenmentalhealth.org. We hope you will join us in our work . You can collaborate anytime with us on the topic of mental health and wellness by contacting @sspellmancann . Go ahead make a difference for teens , because mental health and wellness matters.

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 susanspellmancann@gmail.com. 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

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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.

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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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Mental Health Symposium with Dr. Alec Couros @courosa

Living Fully Alive

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.” – Howard Thurman

At Bishop Carroll High School we take mental health and wellness seriously. Our district and province have made a committment to focus on the well being of our students . Take a look at the video below to see what Alberta teachers are saying.

Our mental health wellness committee put together our second symposium featuring Dr. Alec Couros.

Need a background start here and really think about the words you use when it comes to mental health .

Take a peek at our 2005 Mental Health Living Fully Alive Symposium:

Mental health is important and if you need to find out why take a look at these facts about mental illness. It is one of the reasons we decided to put together a symposium. It will be a great day when mental health is understood and de- stigmatized.

If you want to see what we did last year you can can take a look at the pins below:

Below we hope you could make use of some of our resources. Feel free to use any and or all ideas. We need to work together to make this a better world for our youth.

  • Our Living Fully Alive advertisement can be found here.
  • Our challenge for ten reasons to live is posted here: 10 Reasons To Live
  • One of the most important things we wanted our students to gain from this symposium was coping skills.
  • Haiku Deck Reasons To Live
  • Haiku decks for  School Counsellors and students click below:

We need to teach students how to find their flow state and use it to keep themselves healthy. How do you get yourself into this state? For me one way is painting.

Our mental health wellness is a collaborative project that we began last year . The following document has a wealth of resources that we hope high schools, educators and school counsellors will use. It is an ongoing work in progress, so if you’d like to collaborate with us please feel free to tweet me @sspellmancann and join us on our journey as we pay attention to our own mental health as well as the mental health and wellness of others.

101 ways to  Live Your Life to the Fullest

101 things to do Before You Die

Thanks Dr.Couros for your passion and assisting students to think about their identities on and off line. As our students would say . YOU rock!

Now go have yourself a great day and remember you have a purpose … YOU MATTER

Thanks to @haikudeck for this video! Love you guys!