Over the past 18 months we have seen the impact that mental health plays in our day-to-day lives. We have all experienced the toll of social restrictions and the stress of the unknown, which has left many feeling alone and out of place. At HCOS our educational approach is to focus on the whole student; their emotional, mental, physical and academic growth. Recently ACSI Western Canada, the Christian school association we are a member of, hosted a three session event on Student Mental Health. This was hosted by Katy Kwon, a graduate of Trinity Western University with a Masters in Counselling Psychology.
We asked 3 of our staff who attended the session to provide some insight into what was shared with the students. They had the privilege of leading the students in breakout rooms to talk about where they were at. Our hope is that these articles will serve to support both parents and students about how to build resilience in the face of trials and to thrive in a world that often seems determined to halt our progress.
Video Resources – Anxiety and Mental Health Resources For Families
“I recognize that you are not here by choice…”
This was the introduction to the Student Mental Health Day livestream held on October 26th, 2021, (presented by ACSIWC). Katy Kwon, counsellor, speaker and our excellent guide through the day, went on to corral and instruct the 1700 students participating from classrooms and kitchen tables all across western Canada, showing us how to challenge and change that “no choice” perspective.
One of the things Katy spoke about was our locus of control – how we can either feel life is happening to us, like passive, Non-Player Characters (NPC) in a video game, or, be active participants, with the power to engage with and shape life. We can own it or moan about it, were the words she used.
This made me think, particularly during a pandemic, that it is easy for me (and I don’t think I’m alone) to feel stuck, locked down, or passive. We can all be fooled into thinking that we are victims – that we have to do this, or can’t do that. That is actually not true.
We get to choose. If we are not choosing the situation, we can choose how to react. We choose our actions and make decisions. Even to ‘not choose’ is a choice. So we ‘get to’ – we are privileged, able and honored to. We may not always choose the results of our decisions, but we get to choose. Free will is a hallmark of our faith and is also, it seems, vital to our mental health.
“It is pretty amazing that our students have chosen to attend today given that it isn’t a requirement in any way.”
This was the comment that a colleague made to me during the session, speaking about our group of grade 6- 12 HCOS students who chose to attend the livestream. I love that our students recognize the value of learning and actively choose to seek it. How much more is gained when the learning is sought after, not imposed? Isn’t this what is delightful and powerful about home education in our Independent school setting? Choice.
If your student is experiencing mental health concerns, we want to help. Please check out the resources below and do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.