Mental Health

.Fulton school counsellors are trained counsellors that provide short-term effective support for students who are struggling with their mental health and their emotions.

Sleep: How Can You Help Teens Get More?

Sleep is important to your physical and mental health. It allows your mind to digest and make sense of
the day’s events. It prepares your brain for learning new things the next day. During sleep, your brain even cleans itself! Simply put, sleep is essential for life and getting the proper amount of sleep helps us cope better with whatever life brings our way.

Getting enough sleep is essential for your emotional health. You may start to feel out of sorts and like you are not yourself if you’re not sleeping well. Noises can seem louder, and colours too bright; small
irritations feel like big problems, and even thinking can become a chore.

It can get harder to solve problems and you may experience more aches and pains, less energy, and less interest in life. The less you sleep, the more anxious you can become about getting enough sleep, and this might make it even harder to fall asleep. You can end up in a vicious cycle – at the mercy of your over-active mind, feeling unwell, and feeling out of control.

How Can You Help Teens Get More Sleep?

There are lifestyle changes that middle- and high-schoolers can make, and even several small changes can have a big effect on their well-being. Here is some expert advice on how to win back a couple of precious hours a night:

Take a stand

  • Teenagers will resist, but there’s evidence that parental help with limit-setting on study and sleep does help kids make better decisions about managing their time.
    Encourage consistency

It’s important for your teen to go to bed as close as possible to the same time every night, and to get as close as possible to eight hours of sleep. But it’s also important for him to stick to the same schedule — within reason — on the weekends.

Limit screen time

  • Emphasize the importance of turning off all electronic devices a minimum of one hour before bed. Plan ahead so that homework that needs to be done on a screen is completed by early evening and “off-screen” work is saved for later at night. That also means no “unwinding” by going on Facebook or Instagram. Social media is a great place to find new sources of anxiety to chase away sleep.

Discourage snacking

  • Adolescents are prone to eating and drinking on some of schedule or routine, as a means to self-regulate, or to stay awake, or just because they can. But the bag of chips or the cookies at 1am, or caffeine any time after dinner — whether or not they help get the essay written — can postpone sleep, and harmfully.

Boost the biological clock

  • A low dose (2-3 mg) of the sleep hormone melatonin (a non-prescription vitamin which can be purchased at the drugstore) one to hours before it’s time to go to bed may help jumpstart melatonin production that tends to start later at night in adolescents.

Simplify

  • Teenagers need you to help them set realistic expectations for how many activities they can get involved in without burning out. That means limiting pressure to build the ultimate college resume.
    Set a good example: Model good sleep habits for your teens by making sleep part of living a healthy lifestyle — like eating right and exercising regularly.

Streamline mornings

  • Encourage teenagers to shower, pick out clothes and pack up books before bed so they don’t have to spend time doing it in the morning.

Pump up productivity

  • Show them that using odd bits of time they might otherwise blow off can be fruitful. Also, by breaking homework down into bite-size pieces, say 45-minute blocks with 10-minute breaks to clear one’s head, they can get more done and be more relaxed doing it.

Keep the bed for sleep

  • Experts agree that it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep if you associate the bed with sleeping. That means encouraging your teenager to work in another room he associates with getting work done.
Source: https://childmind.org/guide/parents-guide-to-teenagers-and-sleep/how-can-you-help/

Grief and Loss

Each of us will face the death of a loved one at some time in our lives. As adults, we seek help from family, friends, and outside supports during the grief process. But who helps a young person cope with the death of a loved one? Young people naturally turn to other significant persons in their life for support. Although children may understand and respond to illness and death differently than adults, helping a grieving child is not that different from helping a grieving adult. As a clinician, your interaction can have an important impact on helping a child deal with a loved one‟s illness and death in a healthy way.

Common Characteristics of Grief

Physical Sensations
Feelings
Thought Patterns
  • Hollowness in the stomach
  • Tightness in the chest and throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Oversensitivity to noise
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness in the muscles, lack of energy
  • Fatigue
  • Excess of nervous energy heart pounding
  • Heavy or empty feeling in body and limbs
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Stomach & intestinal upsets
  • Increase in physical illnesses
  • Shock
  • Numbness
  • Sense of unreality
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Guilt
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Helplessness
  • Vulnerability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loneliness
  • Relief
  • Feelings of being crazy
  • Mood swings
  • Intensity of all feelings
  • Disbelief
  • Preoccupation
  • Confusion
  • Lack of ability to concentrate
  • Seeing, hearing, feeling the presence of the deceased
  • Thoughts of self-destruction
  • Problems with decision-making
Behaviors
  • Social Changes
What have you experienced?
  • Appetite and sleep disturbances
  • Absent-minded behavior
  • Social withdrawal
  • Avoiding reminders of the loss
  • Dreams of the loss
  • Searching and calling out for the deceased
  • Restlessness
  • Sighing
  • Crying
  • Visiting places that are reminders of the loss
  • Treasuring
  • Carrying objects that belong to the deceased
  • Change in sexual activities
  • Need for touch, hugs, or contact with others
  • Increased sensitivity to positive and negative attention
  • Picking up mannerisms of the deceased
  • Exhibiting symptoms of the deceased’s illness
Withdrawal from friends and family
Increased dependency on others
A need for acting “normal” around others
A need for relationships apart from those related to grief
Self-absorbed (no energy for interest in others)
Marital difficulties
Family role changes
Role reversals
Change in social patterns and status
Hypersensitivity to topics of loss
Need for rituals

Fulton School Counsellors
are hear to listen!

Dave MacKenzie
dmackenzie@sd22.bc.ca

Charlene Lau
clau@sd22.bc.ca

 

Mindfulness Resources

Watch these mindfulness videos to guide you through mindfulness practice. These short mindfulness practices can support you in becoming more present and reduce stress in your daily life. You can access all these videos on the Health Promotion Video Library.

http://www.phsa.ca/staff-resources/health-promotion/tools-resources/video-library#Mental-Health

Mindfulness Audio Recording

Mindfulness helps you become focused and allows you to rest from constant thinking. Practice being in the present and let go of worries about the future and past.

Mindfulness Scripts

Maintaining Health During COVID-19

There is no doubt that the threat and precautionary measures of the COVID-19 pandemic are causing a high level of stress and worry. As students you may have questions and fears related to this situation and; therefore, your capacity to stay calm, present, and compassionate is more important than ever.

While we are not able to meet as directly as we would like, we want to share some strategies that you can use and share with friends and loved ones….

Maintain a healthy routine

  • Sleep before midnight, get up before noon – flipping your sleep to being awake at night and asleep during the day can contribute to poor health and wellness.

Moderate screen time

  • Try to find activities that do not involve the TV, phone, and computer screens – read, write, meditate, exercise, draw/paint, listen to music, craft, practice a hobby, talk…

Maintain a nutritious diet and drink plenty of water

  • There is an obvious link between what we ingest and how we feel, but the lack of normal movement and exercise increases this effect. If possible, try to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, and avoid fatty and high sugar foods.

Exercise and go outside

  • Exercise, fresh air, and maintaining physical proximity to others are important for overall health and wellness. Be creative and try to find ways to get your heart rate up – walk, run, dance, lift a bag of rice ten times, WHATEVER! Remember, you are allowed to go outside, just make sure you limit it to a few hours a day and maintain a physical distancing of 2 meters.

Stay connected to people

  • Maintaining verbal, written or virtual connections to those we care about helps us maintain our sense of purpose and value and improves our overall health and wellness. While you can’t shake hands, give a high-five or hug, you can send memes, texts, phone calls, letters, and emails.

Limit COVID-19 related media

  • Most news we hear about COVID-19 is either negative, uncertain or comes with “but’s” and “what if’s”, so try to limit it to none at all or just enough to give you a sense of empowerment in understanding the situation. Things don’t change much day to day so riding the news stream 24 hours a day will only stress you out.

Ask for help when you need it

  • This situation is tough, and it has never really been experienced in our lifetime, so it’s normal to feel scared, confused, lost, or hopeless, but we can’t stay there. Under normal situations, we experience these feelings momentarily, but we can move on. If you find yourself stuck in these feelings, you need to talk to someone and get some help.

With that in mind, here are some ways to climb out of those negative feelings…

Changing the Record

  • During stressful or difficult times our thinking can get the better of us. Like a record stuck on repeat, negative thoughts can bounce around our head and make us feel overwhelmed or hopeless. Often it is the frequency of these negative thoughts, rather than the situation itself, that causes us the most pain, so we need to find ways to change the record. Here are some mindful tips…

Come back to the present moment.

  • With so much uncertainty all we truly have is the present moment. A simple way of coming back to the present is by using your breathing as an anchor.
    • When you breathe in, say silently to yourself, “Here.”
    • When you breathe out, say “Now.”
    • Breathing in, breathing out… “Here … Now….”

Your mind may wander into worries about the future and uncertainties, but even when that is happening you can return your attention to the present moment, using breathing as a “home base.” Try to maintain this exercise for 3-5 minutes.

Experience gratitude.

While unpleasant, it’s important to acknowledge and accept a current situation. For example, right now you may be feeling grief or sadness over something that has been lost or cancelled. Even while accepting this reality, try to bring awareness to the positive realities in your life that are still available to nourish your wellness in the present moment.

Try the “This is not cancelled” Practice:
Make a physical, verbal or mental list out loud of positive things you have noticed recently that has not been cancelled or changed (the sun on your face, a favourite song, fresh air, the support of friends and family).

You can even practice this with others, either out loud (phone / online) or on social media, and it becomes a wonderful group practice and sharing!

Daily formal meditation/mindfulness.

Maintaining a daily or as-needed meditation practice can provide you with a period of time every day to just “be” and not have to “do”. With so much uncertainty it can seem overwhelming so pausing to centre and ground yourself resets your mind and allows you to transition your thinking. It doesn’t necessarily get rid of your thoughts, but it calms your mind so that we can process those thoughts and make rational (rather than panicked) choices.

Source: Uhill School Counselling dept.

Child and Youth Mental Health Services offered by M.C.F.D.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development offer mental health service through their WALK-IN Child and Youth Mental Health CLINICs:

Walk-in service is where children and youth can receive a same-day initial assessment by a trained professional in a confidential environment.  

CYMH service is FREE.
​*A doctor’s referral is not needed.

Walk-in Clinic days and hours of operation
TUESDAYS   & THURSDAYS
9am – 11am   AND    1pm – 3pm
3007-35th Ave
​Vernon
​250-549-5458
Appointments are NOT necessary!
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health

 

 

COVID-19 and Anxiousness

Tips to manage mental health during COVID-19
In the wake of COVID-19, Canadians are facing a new reality of social distancing, self-quarantining and isolation in order to protect public health and safety.  These new circumstances may lead individuals with mental health concerns into heightened symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In what may be a difficult time for many, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is offering some basic tips to help people remain calm and balanced as this public health situation unfolds.

Considering the level of attention and seriousness being paid to COVID-19, it’s normal to feel anxious. Try not to avoid, ignore or suppress anxious thoughts. Instead, be aware of your anxiety and accept that you’re feeling anxious in this situation. Try to keep things in perspective; notice and challenge your thoughts that may be extreme or unhelpful.

Self-care is critically important at this time, as worries can be made worse if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Lean on social supports, try to get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise and engage in enjoyable activities. Do the things you would typically do to support your health, and be sure to use caution and follow health and safety guidelines while doing them.

Seek information from reliable news sources only. Limit checking in on the latest news to short, defined periods, and refrain from setting related push notifications on your device. Appropriate information consumption may be calming and can lessen the sense of danger.

Take the recommended precautions as outlined by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and other credible health agencies. Remain focused on the factors within your control, such as washing hands, covering your mouth during coughs and sneezes, avoiding non-essential travel, etc.

If you’re noticing that your symptoms of anxiety (in association with COVID-19 or otherwise) are causing you significant distress or are interfering with your ability to function normally, reach out to your school counsellor and we will help connect you to the most appropriate community resource.

Adapted from https://windsoressex.cmha.ca

Web-Based Resources

ANXIETY CANADA

www.anxietycanada.com
Anxiety Canada is a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase awareness and promote the education of anxiety disorders.  There is an entire section dedicated to youth, tips for parents of all ages, and a wealth of helpful information!  Topics include: Anxiety 101      How to Chill, Facing Fears      Healthy Habits, Thinking Right, Common Problems (test anxiety, fear of needles, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, etc.)

BC Children’s Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre

https://keltymentalhealth.ca/ 
Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre helps families navigate the mental health system, listens and offers peer support, and connects them to resources and tools. ​Check out the website for lots of supports.

MyGrief.ca

https://mygrief.azurewebsites.net/

Losing someone is hard. Mygrief.ca will help you understand and work through your grief. It was developed by families and grief experts and there are stories from people who have “been there.” BC programs and services also linked to this website

Family Smart

Toll free 1-(855)-887-8004
www.familysmart.ca
email: info@familysmart.ca
Helps families and youth navigate mental health support systems in our community.

APP based resources

These resources are APPS that you can download Apps onto your personal device

  • DESTRESSIFY APP (stress relief app)
    Addresses 5 areas of stress prevention: Practices for calming the mind, emotional balance, relaxation, energizing exercises, and achieving joy.
  • HEADSPACE APP (mindfulness)
    Meditation has been shown to help people stress less, focus more and even sleep better. Headspace is meditation made simple. We’ll teach you the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day.
  • INSIGHT TIMER APP
    Home to thousands of free guided meditations on topics such as self-compassion, nature and stress.
  • MINDSHIFT APP
    This App is from Anxiety BC and is the #1 psycho-educational app in the WORLD right now! Designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety.  This App includes strategies to help you take charge of your anxiety.

24 Hour Crisis Supports

  • Indigenous Supports:
    • IMMEDIATE Help: Kuu-us Crisis Response Services: toll-free 1-800-588-8717, provides 24/7
    culturally-aware crisis support to Indigenous people in B.C.
    Hope for Wellness Help Line: toll-free 1-855-242-3310, offers 24/7 counselling and crisis
    intervention by phone or online chat. Available in French, English, Cree, Ojibway, and
    Inuktitut.
    Metis Crisis Line: 1-833-638-4722, provides 24/7 mental health support, including crisis
    intervention and access to crisis programs.
  • Helpline for Youth: 310-1234  (no area code required)
  • Vernon Crisis Line: 1-888-353-CARE  (2273)
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • Crisis Text Line: (text HOME to 686868)
  • Mental Health Support: 310-6789  (no area code required)
  • Suicide: 1-800-SUICIDE  (784-2433)
  • Youth in BC: 1-866-661-3311
  • youthinbc.com for live chat
  • Child Welfare Worker 24hrs: 1-800-663-9122 (in need of shelter/food)