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Above: The Wellness Out Loud event on April 18 brought together secondary students from across Grand Erie in a day-long learning exercise in preparation for Wellness Week.

Students Leading the Way in Wellness

MONDAY, MAY 1, 2023


s Mental Health Week kicks off (May 1 – 5), learners are leading the way in determining the types of resources and activities their school communities need to prioritize well-being. The recent Wellness Out Loud event saw more than a hundred students in attendance from each Grand Erie secondary school, gathering for a day of learning before returning to their schools to plan and implement Mental Health Week happenings. 

“There was such a positive feeling to the day, and you can tell that staff care and want to support students by sharing ways to help them help others,” said Teyanna, a student from Hagersville Secondary School. “I’ve already got a lot of ideas to take back and share with other students at my school.”

Above: Inspirational rocks on display at the Grand Erie Wellness Out Loud event at Joseph Brant Learning Centre.

A committee consisting of educators, administrators, child and youth workers, Grand Erie’s Mental Health and Well-Being team, and secondary students planned the day to balance accessing resources with trying out hands-on activities, all based in supporting well-being and reducing stress through evidence-informed practices. 

“The student voice was a part of this planning right from the start to determine what this day would look like,” said Jessie Hooper, Principal Leader, Mental Health Education and Student Support Services. “As much as the day was about learning and experiencing, it was also about taking the learning back to the schools to develop a plan for activities and events, so this fits with our Annual Learning and Operating Plan goal of increasing the capacity of staff to support students to tend to their own well-being.”

Student committee members also led sub-committees to plan the various aspects of the event, including a circuit of workshops, a Wellness Walk that could be replicated in schools, an array of resources and wellness-related swag to take back, and a well-being marketplace that brought in a number of community organizations to share information. 

“It has been a great day to learn more about mental health, for myself and also about how to help my peers with their own mental health,” said Hayden, a student from Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational Schools. “The Wellness Walk was a great way to learn about different coping mechanisms like meditation, breathing, yoga… just different ways to help cope with stress.”

With the collective priorities of learning, well-being, and belonging, Wellness Out Loud aligns with Grand Erie’s multi-year strategic plan, and provides a roadmap for planning future events to support student voice and leadership.

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