Written by Mark Ramzy
Mrs. Johnston’s Grade 11 Leadership Class is excited to launch Knights Stand Together: Separated But Connected, a brand new mental health initiative at StFx.
Developed over the course of this Quadmester, the project aims to raise awareness about the importance of talking about mental health and to make helpful resources more accessible to students at StFx.
“During this stressful time, mental health is extremely important. We have realized that there have been many calls and cases of people struggling with their mental health,” says Anjali Franks, one of the students at the forefront of the initiative, “we realized how crucial it was to help support people with their mental health or illness by spreading awareness throughout our school community.”
Ashley Bransfield, another student leading the project, was motivated to develop the initiative due to her own personal experiences. As a young child, Ashley had to manage her own growing up while taking care of her younger sister, who was often bullied because of her Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. “My mental health has mainly struggled a lot because of how my sister has been treated,” she says, “starting this initiative for our school community has helped me realize that we’re never alone, there is always going to be someone in your corner looking out for you. You never know, you may even be that person for someone else.”
As many students have chosen to pursue distance learning instead of in-person learning, the class is using social media as the main driving force of the project. They post daily motivational quotes and provide helpful resources on their Instagram (@KnightsStandTogether), Twitter (@StfxSepButCon), and even TikTok (@KnightsStandTogether).
The class is hoping to achieve their goals by presenting important mental health education in engaging virtual methods. First, a video will be presented to the school, explaining where and how students can find support. Then, students will have the opportunity to participate in a virtual escape room. The escape room will be utilized as a tool to raise awareness in a fun way while encouraging conversation between staff and students.
The initiative will also include Civvies Days to promote awareness and to collect donations for Kids Help Phone and Jack.org, a non-profit focused on empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health in every province and territory, according to their website.
The Civvies Days are expected to take place on Tuesday, April 27th for Cohort A, and Wednesday, April 28th for Cohort B. Donations will be collected in-person and through School Cash Online on the same days.
Mental Health Resources:
At Our School:
1. Ms. Sahar (CYC Worker)
2. Ms. Hardeep (Social Worker)
3. Any other teacher or staff member you trust!
Out Of School:
1. Rock (www.rockonline.ca)
2. Kids Help Phone: Call 1-800-668-6868 or text “CONNECT” to 686868
3. Kids Help Line: Call 1-800- 55-1800
4. Suicide Prevention: Call 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
5. Hope for Wellness Helpline: Call 1-855-242-3310 or visit www.hopeforwellness.ca
6. www.MindBeacon.com: Free Therapy for Ontario Residents
1. Government of Canada (www.canada.ca/en/public-health/topics/mental-health-wellness)
4. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth)