Student Mental Health Advisors Added to the Team

Molly and Kaelyn welcomed as the first Student Mental Health Advisors
Posted on 11/18/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Molly and Kaelyn welcomed as the first Student Mental Health AdvisorsStudent Mental Health Advisors

Kenora Catholic’s Mental Health Department is excited to welcome two students to the team as Student Mental Health Advisors. The new initiative, which started in September, aims to add student voice to help guide programming and ensure student input is embedded in mental health conversations and initiatives in the classroom and throughout the Board.

Sue Devlin, Mental Health Clinical Lead, talks about why the new Student Mental Health Advisors are important.

“Student voice has been missing from mental health programming at Kenora Catholic,” says Devlin. “We know that students are the experts when it comes to their own lives, so having their ideas and knowledge embedded in our programming is a key ingredient to successful mental health programming.”

Grade 10 students from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Molly Hendy and Kaelyn Stasus were selected as the Student Mental Health Advisors. The students have been meeting regularly with Sue Devlin to talk about ideas and share tips on prompting student mental health in the classroom.

“We are meeting on a regular basis on their lunch hour, and they are sharing helpful tips for teachers that promote student mental health, providing key things to look for when students might be struggling and just sharing their overall knowledge on what brings Kenora Catholic students joy,” says Devlin.

Some of the ideas brought forward by the students include starting class with a serotonin vibe with a 5-minute dance or going for a brisk walk around the school together as a class. They would also like to see students put their phones down during breaks and engage in games or activities to help build community and relationships.

Molly Hendy talks about why she wants to help. “We would like to help teachers learn more about their student’s mental health so they can improve it in the classroom and their students can have better learning success.”

The Student Mental Health Advisors presented at the November 16 Board Meeting, along with Sue Devlin, to talk about the new initiative. The students created a series of short videos explaining the program.

In one of the videos, Kaelyn Stasus talks about why she got involved. “I decided to apply to be one of the first student mental health advisory members so I can give my perspective to help the school with their student's mental health. I want to ensure students focus on themselves and no longer feel the need to put their own mental health second after grades in their classes. I believe life is more than grades, jobs and money, and I want everyone to see the miracle that life is.”

Sue Devlin explained that as the program grows, the vision for new Student Mental Health Advisors is to help students and teachers value mental health and make the school a better place for students who struggle with their mental health.

“I am so thrilled to have Molly and Kaelyn work alongside us, they are a wealth of knowledge, and I look forward to our journey together,” said Devlin.
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