Since 1951, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has hosted Mental Health Week during the first week in May, making 2022 the 71st year. Mental Health Week is a Canadian tradition, with communities, schools and workplaces rallying to celebrate, protect and promote mental health. This year, the theme is empathy.

The campaign calls for us to #GetReal about how we feel and talk about mental health – encouraging truthful conversations. Often we say we are fine, even when we don’t mean it. ‘Fine’ keeps us at arm’s length from real social connections with others. Every time we just go through the motions, we miss a chance to connect with others in a meaningful way. Each year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness or mental health issue, but 5 in 5 Canadians have mental health—we all need social connection and a sense of belonging.

The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) will celebrate Mental Health Week alongside CMHA and many organizations across Ontario. Mental health is such an important component of the overall well-being of staff and students. We continue to recognize and create environments that allow staff and students to have the necessary support and resources they need to thrive.

More than ever, we know that mental health affects everyone, and we recognize the importance of ensuring that we are providing resources that are linguistically and culturally responsive. We are also mindful that our approach to well-being is identity-affirming and inclusive of the most vulnerable students.

We encourage you to engage with the content, whether it is for you or to learn how to support a loved one, friend, colleague, or student.

Over the next week, we will feature a different mental health theme each day:

  • Monday, May 2: Pandemic
  • Tuesday, May 3: Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health Literacy
  • Wednesday, May 4: Self-Compassion
  • Thursday, May 5: Supports for racialized, marginalized and neurodivergent communities
  • Friday, May 6: Support and Resources

We need to remember to give each other time, patience and kindness. Mental health is something that affects all of us and can have a great impact on our day to day lives. This week is a good reminder that words and actions can have a significant impact on someone’s life, well-being and mental health.

Having our students experience a caring learning environment, whether virtual or in-person, that addresses their well-being is crucial to their development and sense of belonging. We recognize and appreciate the relationship between student mental health and academic success, and when we prioritize student wellness, our students have a greater opportunity to reach their academic and social-emotional potential.

How to participate?

  • Take a moment to read the resources we share.
  • From May 2 to 8, take the Kid’s Can’t Wait pledge.
  • On Monday, May 2 at 12pm, join the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) for their Exploring Empathy: A Canadian Conversation virtual event.
  • Are you a 2SLGBTQIA+ youth aged 12-18? OK2BME is hosting a virtual youth group called Coping with Anxiety on Tuesday, May 3 at 6pm.
  • Join Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) for their Twitter Chat on Wednesday, May 4 at 8pm using the hashtag #KidsCantWait.
  • Are you a Black youth? Join Black Health Alliance on Thursday May, 5 at 6pm for a free virtual youth-led interactive music therapy workshop in recognition of Mental Health Week 2022. Please note: This is a sacred space for Black youth only.
  • Use hashtags like #KidsCantWait, #MentalHealth, #GetReal, and #WRDSBwellness to amplify your solidarity with the campaign and to recognize Mental Health Week for children, youth and adults.

Need immediate help?

Here 24/7 is your front door to the addictions, mental health, and crisis services provided by 11 agencies across Waterloo Wellington. They do the intake, assessment, referral, crisis, waitlist and appointment booking work for these important programs. In Crisis or Need Support? Call 1-844-HERE247 (1-844-437-3247) anytime.

Front Door works with parents/caregivers, children and youth (up to their 18th birthday) who are struggling with life’s challenges such as emotions, behaviours, relationships and mental health.

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to kids, teens and young adults in English and French. Start a confidential conversation with a real person you can trust by calling 1-800-668-6868 or texting 686868.

If your matter is urgent, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.