Summer mental health support

Summer mental health supports available for SCDSB students and families
Posted on 07/14/2020

In response to the significant impact of COVID-19, the Ministry of Education has made it possible for the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) to provide school social work services through the summer months. SCDSB school social workers are available to work with students who want to participate in the service due to an identified mental health, substance use or personal/family/academic stress. 

Staying connected to mental health supports during the summer months is important for students experiencing mental health concerns. Human connection and ongoing conversation are essential to supporting and enhancing student well-being, coping, a sense of belonging and readiness to learn. 

Available options include:

  • Brief intervention service
    Students may receive brief individual counselling aimed at improving their mental health and well-being. A flexible plan for sessions will be agreed upon between the school social worker and the student/family. Sessions will be structured and follow an evidence-based intervention plan based on the goals identified by the student. Brief intervention will be provided using telephone or secure video technology.

  • Wellness check-ins
    Students who are interested in receiving wellness check-ins will be contacted at agreed-upon times. During the wellness check-in, a school social worker will be available to talk with either the student and/or parent/guardian about how things are going. Strategies to support positive mental health and well-being will be shared and reviewed. The frequency for wellness check-ins is flexible and can be renegotiated at any time, depending on what the student or family indicates is needed. Wellness check-ins will be provided using telephone or secure video technology.

  • Small groups and workshops
    Learn new strategies, tools and knowledge to support well-being through participation in the following small groups and workshops offered through the use of technology. 

    - Mindfulness Without Borders – a three-session program focused on mindfulness basics, gratitude and compassion
    - Girls Circle: A program for students entering Grade 9 or 10  a three-session program to discuss expression, healthy relationships and managing stress
    - Anxiety 101 - a one-hour session looking at understanding and taming stress and anxiety

  • Referral to community mental health services
    The SCDSB works with many children’s mental health services in Simcoe County in response to student needs. School social workers are available to discuss service options that will best meet student needs and can help to facilitate an initial meeting.

Resources are also available for parents/guardians of SCDSB students. Resources for parents and guardians include:

  • Consultations
    Parents/guardians of students who have concerns about how their child or youth is coping with the many changes COVID-19 has presented may also consult with a SCDSB social worker. Our social workers are available to explore strategies and tools to assist parents/guardians in helping their child with anxiety about return to school, social media/technology use, motivation, social isolation, depression, and/or any other mental health concerns they are experiencing. 

  • Small groups and workshops
    Social workers will also facilitate small groups and workshops using secure video technology as a resource for parents/guardians. Both will give opportunities to gain new strategies, tools and knowledge to support student and parent well-being. Upcoming sessions include:

    - An Introduction to Mindfulness  a three-session series covering mindfulness basics, practicing gratitude and nurturing compassion

To request access to any of the above services, or for more information, email studentwellness@scdsb.on.ca or call 705-734-6363 ext. 11987 and provide your name and contact information. Please do not contact this email or phone number for urgent/crisis support requests, as they are only monitored Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

For more information about community mental health services available to all SCDSB students and families, and for mental health and well-being supports related to COVID-19, visit www.scdsb.on.ca/covid-19/mental_health_and_well-being_resources.

Please note: 

  • For students currently receiving social work service, continued services may or may not be provided by your current school social worker. Where possible, the service will be provided by a consistent person; however, there may be a need for the service to be provided by different social workers depending on schedules and availability.
  • All SCDSB social workers are regulated mental health professionals registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
  • All services are voluntary, so parents/guardians should check with their child or youth before requesting support.  
  • Students 12 years of age and older may consent to their own social work service. The SCDSB recognizes the importance of working in partnership with parents/guardians to support students and will encourage this prior to commencement of services and throughout; however, it is a student’s choice, if 12 years of age or older, whether their parent/guardian is informed. Students 12 years of age and older have the legal right to private, confidential counselling and their decision will be respected.
  • For students 11 years of age and younger, parents are required to provide consent on their behalf.