There was a presentation on the wellness of students at the monthly meeting of the Board of Education at the public school division last Wednesday.

"We, in our school division complete an 'Our School Student Survey' each year with our students and that gives us an indication of how they are feeling about different things related to school and their lives in general," explained Cheryl Anderson, Coordinator of Student Services, Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division.

"Part of that survey indicated that anxiety levels were an area in need of support which is why we are looking at supporting students in the area of wellness."

There was also another survey completed but this time with teachers in the Spring.

"They indicated that wellness was an area they would like more information about as well, between those two (surveys) we've moved forward to ensure that we will have some plans in place."

A Wellness Committee is being formed to find sustainable ways to help students and teachers in this area.

Over three years, stats were collected from the surveys in different age groups to see how much anxiety has grown or shrunk.

19-26% of students indicated a moderate to high level of anxiety in their regular lives.

Anderson said the concerns of the students include:

  • What other students think of them
  • They think they are too fearful or nervous,
  • They worry about people laughing at them,
  • Worrying about teachers asking them a question, 
  • They're afraid that other students will think they're stupid.

The school division worked with Mental Health in order to train all grade 9 health teachers in the school division in Mental Health First Aid.

"It was very successful."

"They were very engaged in the training, and we're hoping it will have an impact when they go back in the classroom and just their comfort level for supporting students and discussing ideas."

"They are going to incorporate some of the ideas into their course load."

Each of the School Division schools has a counselor who is going to start working on Wellness Walls.

"It will be like a bulletin board and they'll put information up there about anxiety and maybe about how to reduce stress, breathing exercises, exercise," explained Anderson.

"As they (students) walk by maybe they'll pick up a tip or two," she added.

The School Division has also been working in partnership with the Estevan and Weyburn Police Services in a program called  "Kids on the Block" which will be presented to children in grades K-5.

"It's about personal safety so it's with some puppets and really interactive with the students."

Each of the schools with K-5 students will have the presentation.

Another presentation "Bullying ends here," by Tad Milmine, Police Officer from Calgary will be in the schools in March for grade 6-11 students.

"Before You Hit Send" is another presentation coming to the school division from Ontario. Estevan and Weyburn police officers have been trained in this presentation. It is about educating students on online sexual exploitation, the sending and receiving of pictures through technology.

"They are committing to going into all of our schools in the division."

This is likely to take a whole year to go into all the schools in the division.

It will teach the students on how to be responsible in their online and digital communication with their phones.

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