Date Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
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Peel’s public school board is inviting parents to a conference dealing with the serious issues of youth mental health and suicide. In anticipation of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, Peel District School Board social workers are hosting Suicide: Start the Conversation. The information night is organized for Peel parents and school board staff to increase awareness about youth suicide and highlight the signs and symptoms of students who may be at risk. The free event is Monday at 6 p.m. in the board’s HJA Brown Education Centre, 5650 Hurontario St. (at Matheson Boulevard) in Mississauga. “The board’s focus for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is to promote the positive emotional and psychological development of children and to raise awareness of children who need help with mental health concerns,” said Maureen Mackay, coordinator of student well-being at the Peel board. From 6-7 p.m. participants have an opportunity to meet with a variety of mental health service providers at the community resource fair. Presentations begin at 7 p.m. focusing on how parents can speak with children about suicide. Guest speakers include Dan McGann, M.S.W. at Credit Valley Hospital and David Harris, who started the non-profit group CameronHelps after his teenage son committed suicide. “The information session is one of the ways to help people have an open dialogue about suicide,” explained MacKay. “Our presenters will provide parents with strategies to promote wellness, discuss signs that a child is not coping well and offer positive ways to respond to these issues.” Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) has designated May 6-12 as Children’s Mental Health Week. As part of this initiative, Peel board teachers and staff will receive communications material and tip sheets to help them identify and respond to mental health concerns and promote resiliency and wellness in students.
(Please note that CMHO staff does not reply to comments that are posted on news stories.)