Mental Health Support is Available for Students in Summer 2021
What are Summer Mental Health Services?
The Ministry of Education has given all school boards one-time funding to provide summer mental health support this summer. Summer Mental Health support will be available virtually beginning Monday, July 5, 2021 until Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. To support belonging and connectedness, summer mental health services will mainly be provided using a variety of therapeutic and/or psychoeducational groups, which will be co-delivered by Social Workers, Child and Youth Counsellors and Community Service Providers.
For children and youth with Autism and developmental needs, parent consultation and individual services will be offered. For all other students, the need for individual services can be discussed with the intake mental health worker who will be in contact once a referral is made.
What Services are Being Provided?
Group sessions will be offered twice this summer. The three-week sessions will take place from July 12 - 30 and August 9 - 27 to offer maximum flexibility. Groups will be formed based on the grades that students will be going into in September. Based on enrolment numbers and student need, the summer mental health team will make the final determinations around the type of services to be offered.
We welcome referrals for students who would benefit from participation in one of the following groups:
AFFIRM (For Ages 14+)
An eight-session Cognitive Behavioural Therapy informed treatment group specifically for Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ youth to develop coping skills for anxiety and stress related to experiences of discrimination connected to their sexual and gender identities. The goals of AFFIRM are to decrease unhelpful thoughts, feel better about yourself and to make healthy choices for sexual and mental health.
For ages 14+
TRAILS Anxiety and Depression (Grade 7-12)
TRAILS (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students) groups are designed to help our children and youth
(Grade 7‐12) who struggle with moderate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and/or depression by teaching evidence‐based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness skills. Children and youth who might benefit from the group are primarily having difficulty with both anxiety and depressive symptoms/low mood that is impairing their functioning. Children and youth interested in participating should have some awareness of their struggles and would be motivated to improve their coping skills. These groups will run in partnership with the LHIN Mental Health and Addiction Nurses (MHAN) program.
Chill Club (Grade 4-6)
Chill Club is a proactive group designed for students in
Grade 4-6 who are exhibiting symptoms of anxiety/worry that are mild to moderate in severity (not causing significant impairment in their day to day lives). The group focuses on understanding worry and how worry manifests in the body as well as exploring strategies to cope with feelings of worry. Children/youth learn to normalize feelings of worry and parents receive information about what their child has learned in the group so they can support the use of their new learning in the home environment.
Coping with COVID‐19 (Grade 7-12)
Offered in partnership with the LHIN Mental Health and Addiction Nurses, this skills‐based group specifically targets children and youth
(Grade 7‐12) who are feeling anxious about COVID‐19 such that their daily functioning has been negatively impacted. It will explore topics such as:
- How to take care of myself during COVID‐19
- How are my thoughts, feelings and behaviors connected?
- What can I do to relax when I’m stressed?
- How do I cope with my worried thoughts?
- The benefits of physical activity
- How do I maintain social connections during this pandemic?
- Coping with uncertainty
- How can mindfulness and relaxation techniques help?
PEERS - (Grade 7-12)
The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) is world-renowned for providing evidence-based didactic social skills to socially-motivated adolescents, with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and other socio-emotional difficulties. This program is suitable for students who want to learn how to make and keep friends and handle conflict, rejection and bullying.
Suitable for Grade 7-12.
Transition to High School (Grade 8-9)
Transition to high school can be challenging. This group will use a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach to help students to focus on developing a growth mindset and learn to manage uncertainty. The group will be intentionally inclusive of students transitioning from
Grade 8 to Grade 9.
Habits for Wellness (Grade 9-12)
For students in
Grade 9-12. This program will be based on the work of James Clear (Atomic Habits) and will teach students skills related to forming goals, reflection, and habit formation for their personal wellness (e.g. screen time, sleep, nutrition, physical activity).
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (Grade 9-12)
DBT is a form of psychotherapy. DBT teaches people to accept their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and the techniques to change them. Not only are personal skills taught in DBT, but skills for interpersonal relationships are also emphasized. This is a program for secondary school students who are experiencing anxiety and/or depression, managing big emotions and feelings of being overwhelmed that are impacting their ability to attend school, perform in school, and/or interact with others. This is a DBT informed group for high school students in
Black Girls/Non-Binary Speak (Grade 7-12)
This group will focus on elevating and affirming the voices of Black youth. Many of our youth may be experiencing the harmful impacts of Anti-Black Racism. Female and non-Binary students in
Grade 7-12 will be welcomed in a culturally responsive program to talk about their struggles, affirm each other, be heard and focus on their wellness. This group will give our youth a strong sense of belonging.
Black Guys/Non-Binary Speak (Grade 7-12)
This group will focus on elevating and affirming the voices of Black youth. Many of our youth may be experiencing the harmful impacts of Anti-Black Racism. Male and non-Binary students in
Grade 7-12 will be welcomed in a culturally responsive program to talk about their struggles, affirm each other, be heard and focus on their wellness. This group will give our youth a strong sense of belonging. This group will be run in collaboration with ROOTS Community Services.
Cultural Mentorship Program (Grade 7-12)
New Age Ministry (NAM) is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton & Hamilton and HDSB to deliver their Cultural Mentoring Program (CMP). This program welcomes and encourages Black youth of all beliefs, genders and sexualities to gain a greater connection to the community and empower our youth to reach their fullest potential. The Cultural Mentoring Program utilizes a group mentoring model that emphasizes a strengths-based approach to Black youth mentorship by drawing from African and Carribean cultures to develop their activities and discussions. Suitable for
Asian Wellness (Grade 7-12)
During COVID-19, Asian, especially the Chinese population, have experienced rising anti-Asian hate and discrimination across Canada. This certainly adds more negativity on the ongoing mental health impact caused by the pandemic alone. This group, in partnership with HDSB staff and the Mental Health and Addiction Nurses will emphasize strengths of Asian identifying youth, focusing on the importance of our youth’s voices, lived experiences and wellness.
South Asian Wellness (Grade 7-12)
The HDSB is partnering with Punjabi Community Health Centre to co-lead groups for South Asian identifying youth to connect them with culturally relevant services to help our youth navigate mental health impacts associated with COVID-19 and the effects of racism This group will centre the voices and lived experiences of South Asian identifying youth in a context of mental well-being.
How do I sign up for Summer Mental Health Services or Sign my Child Up?
Parents and students can access our summer supports by filling out the Referral for Group Summer Mental Health Services
Form. You can also call our summer intake line at 289-337-6490 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org to leave your name and contact information and a mental health intake worker will get back to you. It is important to note this is not an emergency number or email. Please do not leave any urgent messages or emails. If your family is experiencing a crisis, please call ROCK Crisis line at 905-878-9785 or 911 for immediate help.
Referral for Group Summer Mental Health Services
We will call or email you back as soon as possible to confirm your information and discuss which supports might be best for you or your child. We are here for you.
For groups that run in July, please ensure all referrals are in by June 24, 2021
For groups that run in August, please ensure all referrals are in by July 26, 2021