NWO Be Well Passport taking students, families on well-being journey
Tim Brody - Editor
May 3 to 9 is Mental Health week and the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) has partnered with Evolution Mine, Kenora Catholic, The Northwest Catholic and Rainy River District School Boards to introduce the Northwestern Ontario (NWO) Be Well Passport.
Other partners include FIREFLY, jack.org, Ontario Provincial Police, Tikinagan Child and Family Services and the Red Lake Indian Friendship Centre.
This week, families are invited to print the NWO Be Well Passport at nwobewell.ca and take part in activities outlined in the passport.
Once activities are completed, they can be checked off and families who submit an email of the activities they have completed have a chance to win a prize.
Email submissions should be sent to [email protected].
Candice Kerkermeier, Mental Health Leader at KPDSB said that anyone can access and complete the passport.
“The passport takes participants on a well-being journey. It was created using the perspective of the First Nations continuum framework. There’s a number of activities that are broken down into spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness. We feel it’s a really important time for families to be focusing on mental health and well-being, and so families are encouraged to participate, but the passport can also be done independently as well,” she said.
The passport also includes several outreach numbers individuals can call if they need someone to talk to about their mental health.
Asked about the impact of the pandemic on student’s mental health and well-being, Kerkermeier shared, “We’ve noticed an increase in mental health concerns from many of our students and we know that the pandemic has really impacted our students in various ways. Unfortunately students and adults have been disconnected from their friends and family and social activities and we know that has a direct impact on mental health and well-being.”
However she said, “We’ve also noticed our students have demonstrated a lot of resilience throughout the pandemic, they follow guidelines and they’re really doing their best to keep attending school… we know this has been a difficult time, so the passport is one way that we feel like we can give back and really encourage our students and also our communities to be mentally well and to take care of themselves.”