Sudbury High School program helps students manage their mental health

Sudbury High School has launched a new pilot project to help students deal with anxiety and mental health issues.

Social worker Christine McInnes developed the My Best Self program and teamed up with teacher Marika Louws to bring it to teens at the school. It started in the fall.

“We’ve developed a program where kids have the opportunity to focus on their fitness, how well they eat, how well they sleep,” McInnes said. “We will have segments on financial literacy and mindfulness techniques.”

The program includes yoga sessions, fitness classes with a YMCA personal trainer, and sessions that teach anger management and conflict resolution techniques.

The Greater Sudbury Police Service has partnered with Sudbury High School’s My Best Self program. (Provided by Christine McInnes)

“Each person has experienced something life-changing or traumatic,” said Louws, the teacher who runs the program. “So it’s necessary to have these coping strategies to help them in their daily life at school, but also to have strategies to work with in the future.”

The pilot program was made possible thanks to more than $16,000 in donations from several community organizations.

McInnes said it would be great to expand the program to other schools, but that would depend on sufficient financial support.

She said the program showed a real commitment to mental health on the part of the Rainbow District School Board.

“With this program, what really impresses me is that it is a credit-generating program and it is very exciting for me as a social worker to know that as an education system , our Rainbow Board sees the great benefit of having mental health as a key part of the well-being of our students,” said McInnes.