Red Deer schools taking part in Bell Let’s Talk Day

Public school district is calling on Red Deerians to join in on social media platforms

Kim Falls, Secretary at G.W. Smith Elementary School, holds up a speech bubble with a positive message about mental health: Photo submitted.

The Red Deer Public School District and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools will be joining communities across Canada Wednesday in Bell Let’s Talk Day, an annual event that’s become the largest conversation about mental health in the world.

Last Fall, the public school district launched a program called Valuing Mental Health because mental health and wellness have become growing issues for students, staff and families in the community, reads a District press release.

On Jan. 30th, social media channels will be full of inspirational messages to help increase awareness and reduce the stigma of mental health.

“We’re doing our own push around social media, which Bell Let’s Talk is all about,” said Bruce Buruma, Director of Community Relations with the District. “We are upping our efforts to support that particular campaign by using a variety of positive messages to support understanding and appreciation of mental health and awareness.”

As part of the initiative, Bell donates five cents towards mental health initiatives for every text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of their Facebook frame or Snapchat filter.

The District is encouraging Red Deerians to follow the conversations on social media platforms and retweet and share its messages.

Messages will be tweeted from former Red Deer Public alumni who are playing sports at a college or university level on Superintendent Stu Henry’s account, @SuperStuRDPSD.

Messages from staff and students across the District will be posted on @rdpschools.

Each initiative offers powerful words of encouragement when it comes to raising awareness and reducing the stigma of mental health.

Activities will also take place at Father Henri Voisin School and St. Patrick’s Community School.

Father Henri Voisin Guidance Counsellor and Teacher Steve Jackson said students will be writing mental health messages into speech bubbles and learning about the importance of reaching out for help.

“It will give them the idea that there is no stigma attached to mental health and it is something we want to be talking about,” he said. “Rising awareness that we need to look after our mental health and giving the kids some strategies for dealing with it.”

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-With files from Red Deer Public Schools