SMECA celebrates Mental Health Week with C.O.R.E. Day

St. Mary’s Healthy Active Lifestyle Team (HALT) which was established in 2005 has been very active in the promotion of Health and Wellness among their student body. Presenters and activities were organized by this group of students until 2010 when St. Mary’s held their first Mental Health Day, since renamed C.O.R.E. Day (COPE WITH AN OPEN MIND, RELAX, ESCAPE THE STIGMA) This day is held annually in the spring during Mental Health Week with guidance from Health Nurse; Jen Lukeman, in which the HALT Team organizes and executes the day for the student body from grades seven to twelve. In 2016 a Healthy Mind, Healthy Me Day dedicated to the promotion of mental health for students grades primary to six was held and will also become an annual event.

This day involves initiatives aimed at increasing mental health awareness and decreasing stigmas, within the school community and community at large. It is dedicated to promoting positive well being in a way that youth can relate and creates an opportunity for HALT to partner with other groups, including both peers and adults, creating positive therapeutic relationships, partnerships, and important networks. This collaboration includes School administration, staff, community partners, and other school groups such as Student Council, GSA, and the JACK Chapter. The Guysborough Community Health Board is instrumental in the success of CORE Day. This day not only starts the conversations among youth to help break down barriers but also creates a safe environment in which to have these discussions. Such youth led initiatives contribute to the development of strong leadership skills, essential to both school and home environments. Youth contribute to daily conversations in the classroom and encourage positive mental health for themselves and others. CORE Day empowers youth and encourages them to be leaders in the fight to decrease mental health stigmas.

CORE Day 2017 took place May 3rd and included presentations by mental health advocate Michelle MacDonald, JACK Talk Speakers Julissa Stewart and Lacey Koughan, as well as NSHA Mental Health and Addictions Clinician, Meghan Mulcahy. Breakout sessions including physical activities, art, music, nutrition, and self-care, were incorporated into the day, aimed at promoting well-being and positive mental health.