May 5th, 2022
As we continue to celebrate Mental Health Week, the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) recognizes the need to be mindful and intentional in creating space to highlight the disparity of resources for our most vulnerable students and families to access mental health services.
The pandemic has played a dominant role in our mental well-being. It has presented the reality of the lack of access to mental health services and resources for the Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC), 2SLGTQIA+ and neurodivergent students and families. They continually experience unequal access to mental health resources and supports, and when they are made available, they often do not provide culturally-relevant, identity practices that reflect the needs of this population.
With that in mind, today’s theme is support for BIPOC, Neurodivergent and 2SLGBTQIA+ youth.
Theme: Support for BIPOC, Neurodivergent and 2SLGBTQIA+ youth
Mental health affects us all and while we continue to navigate this pandemic, it is especially important to recognize that not everyone has experienced the pandemic in the same way.
Vulnerable and marginalized communities are experiencing a disproportionately negative impact, which has profound mental health implications. The on-going racism and hate – interpersonal and systemic, both locally and around the word – further contributes to a decrease in overall wellness and has a negative impact on these communities.
While the events of the past year have been extremely negative, the outcome has been an increase in information in services for these groups, emerging both locally and globally. Please refer to the following resources, which are just a few of the supports available to racialized and marginalized communities within Waterloo Region.
- Black Youth Helpline serves all youth and specifically responds to the need for a Black youth specific service, positioned and resourced to promote access to professional, culturally appropriate support for youth, families and schools.
- Kind Minds Family Wellness is an organization made up of 15 Black professionals that provide culturally relevant, identity affirming support to our community. They specialize in Afrocentric/culturally grounded counselling, education, employment and research advocacy.
- Coalition of Muslim Women is an organization that provides opportunities for personal and professional growth, and leadership and skills development for women, while addressing issues of gender-based violence, racism, discrimination and Islamophobia.
- Muslim Social Services Waterloo Region is an organization that offers spiritually and culturally sensitive humanitarian and social services to the Muslim and non-Muslim communities of the Waterloo Region.
- OK2BME.ca is operated by KW Counselling Services. This program provides supportive services for 2LGBTQIA+ identified children, teens and their families.
- Spectrum is an organization that serves, affirms, and supports the well-being of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals in Waterloo Region and the community.
- Trans Lifeline is a grassroots hotline run by and for trans people. Trans Lifeline offers direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community.
- White Owl Native Ancestry Association is dedicated to innovative Indigenous Wholistic practice with a commitment to whole person development within the family and community. They offer individual, couple and family counselling as well as outreach programs along with land based teachings and programs.
- Qualia Counselling offers a variety of mental health therapies for children and families. They also provide culturally responsive counselling of varying identities and cultural contexts.
- Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) provides a range of wellness services to First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in Southwestern Ontario, including traditional healing, mental health and addiction services and clinical services.
- Sunbeam Developmental Resource Centre offers a range of services for individuals of all ages with developmental disability and or an autism spectrum disorder.
Need immediate help?
Here 24/7 is your front door to the addictions, mental health, and crisis services provided by 11 agencies across Waterloo Wellington. They do the intake, assessment, referral, crisis, waitlist and appointment booking work for these important programs. In Crisis or Need Support? Call 1-844-HERE247 (1-844-437-3247) anytime.
Front Door works with parents/caregivers, children and youth (up to their 18th birthday) who are struggling with life’s challenges such as emotions, behaviours, relationships and mental health.
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to kids, teens and young adults in English and French. Start a confidential conversation with a real person you can trust by calling 1-800-668-6868 or texting 686868.
If your matter is urgent, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Missed the previous Mental Health Week messages?
- WRDSB participates in Mental Health Week, May 2 to 6, 2022
- Mental Health Week – Day 1: Pandemic
- Mental Health Week – Day 2: Burnout
- Mental Health Week – Day 3: Self-Compassion