A new online course hopes to make a big difference for Saskatchewan young people who are facing mental health challenges.
On Oct. 17, the Sun West Distance Learning Centre launched Mental Wellness 30, a new course available online to young people aged 15-22 years old. The course is designed helpstudents develop greater balance in their lives, improve their resiliency, increase their awareness of mental health issues and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. The course addresses anxiety, depression, suicide, OCD, ADD/ADHD, eating disorders, psychosis, schizophrenia, addictions and drug abuse.
“This program takes a proactive approach to help young people who may be facing mental health challenges,” explained Karen Itterman, the Chair of the Sun West School Division Board of Education, “and Sun West is excitedwe can offer this kind of innovative course through our Distance Learning Centre (DLC).”
The launch of the course was kicked off by a Mental Wellness Assembly complete with motivational speakers and 300 hundred cheering high school students. Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Gord Wyant told the students: “It is a privilege to attend this event and to hear from students who have overcome mental health challenges and are now helping others do the same. Mental health is an important issue and our government is proud to support initiatives like the Mental Wellness 30 course.
”Minister of Rural and Remote Health Warren Kaeding also attended the Mental Wellness Assembly and stated: “Programs like Mental Wellness 30 will go a long way in helping our younger generation build skills to be more resilient, and know where to turn for support and create stronger communities.”
Mental Wellness 30 has already won endorsements from the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Office of the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth. It was also announced at the Mental Wellness Assembly that it would be receiving majorsupport from RBCFoundation with a donation of $100,000 towards the costs of operating the course in its first year.
RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500 million commitment to empower Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. With a focus on networking, skills development, practical work experience and mental wellbeing supports and services, the initiative aims to help overcome roadblocks facing young people.
“Through our partnership with Sun West School Division, RBC Future Launch will help enable mental health supports and services by mitigatingbarriers including the low recognition of early signs and symptoms of mental health struggles, a lack of peer support networks and a 2disconnected system of care,” said Annette Sabourin, Regional Vice President, RBC. “We recognize the importance of mental well-being on a young person’s ability to achieve success and their success directly impacts the strength of our schools, workplaces and communities. We are delighted to see Mental Wellness 30 reach more youth across Saskatchewan.”