Mental Health and Well-Being Snapshot: June 2022
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Looking after ourselves and others this summer
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Make a plan for well-being this summer

In some ways, the relaxed pace of summer break can support positive mental health. We also know that school comes with its own set of stressors at any age level, and so for some students, a break from those stresses is very welcome. At the same time, the unstructured nature of summer, a lack of scheduled physical activity, and irregular bedtimes can all impact well-being in negative ways. Further, for some students, school or other regular routines can provide a comfort zone of predictability and trusted relationships, and time away from those can be stressful. This is not to mention the stress that sometimes falls on families as parents now try to juggle parenting and workplace priorities during the day.

Whether summer break is a net positive for you and your child or not can depend on how it is structured. This last snapshot of the 2022-23 school year will focus on just that - ways to structure your summer and supports that can be accessed to support mental health and well-being over the break.

Get sleep back on track

We know there are some key factors that can impact well-being during the summer. High on that list is sleep dysregulation. Looser schedules and longer daylight hours are part of the reason staying on a sleep schedule can be so difficult, but research shows it pays off to maintain a sleep schedule over the summer. 

A key strategy is to set a schedule and stick to it, every day. Research shows that consistency is vital to getting a good sleep. This article from Psychology Today lists some other ways we can get a good rest over the summer, including:

Limit evening light exposure
(But take advantage of morning sunlight)
Go camping to reset circadian rhythms
Get outside regularly
Chip away at sleep debt with small consistent chunks of time

Get active

The school year often comes with built-in activity opportunities for children and youth - PHE classes and extracurricular sports at school, and community classes and leagues also tend to follow the school year. Because physical activity is a vital supportive strategy for positive mental health, finding ways to maintain activity over the summer break is important.

PHE Canada has put together a summer activity guide to support parents wanting to facilitate physical and health education opportunities at home. The guides are organized by grade level to provide age appropriate activities, and encourage daily physical activity, mindfulness, healthy eating, and reflection on healthy habits.

Summer Activities for K-3
Summer Activities for 4-6
Summer Activities for 7-12

Manage screen time

A recent study of youth in Ontario found that pandemic restrictions had led to significantly increased screen time, and that once established, patterns of increased use are difficult to walk back.

However, that same study offered some practical tips for families working on managing screen time (listed below):
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This is also a good time to revisit the recommendations for a health tech “diet” proposed by Dr. Shimi Kang. Dr. Kang proposes that "toxic tech" that is addictive or creates hidden stress be cut out of tech diets completely; mindless entertainment or "junk tech" should be limited and monitored; and most of the tech time be spent on healthy tech that gives opportunities to create, connect, or take care of yourself.
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Summer Opportunities and Supports for Students

Every Body is a Beach Body

This virtual workshop and panel addresses body image and diet culture for youth aged 12-24. From their website:
Does the upcoming summer season bring a sense of stress, discomfort, dread and fear? Are you feeling the pressure to change your body/eating patterns or feel overwhelmed by the increase of diet talk? Join the Foundry June 8th for a workshop and panel featuring Foundry Virtual service providers and Registered Dietitians Ali Eberhardt and Hannah Robinson from St. Paul’s Hospital’s Eating Disorder Program. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions to panelists and learn tips/tricks on navigating diet culture pressures as we enter summer. 

Can't make it to the workshop but curious about this topic? Ali and Hannah also host the Let Us Eat Cake podcast (@eatcakepod), a podcast dedicated to ditching diet culture and taking fatphobia head on! Check them out and have a listen!

Recreation Centres and Youth Drop-in

Recreation centres such as Panorama Recreation and Saanich Commonwealth Place offer a range of child and youth-friendly programming including camps, lessons, and drop-in activities. Saanich parks and Panorama both also offer Youth Centre/Teen Lounge options for youth over 11 years old.

Living Life to the Full virtual course

This virtual course offered through CMHA BC equips youth aged 13-18 with skills to manage mood, stress, and anxiety. From their website:

Living Life to the full is a mental health promotion program and it is for everyone! Whether you are just curious or are dealing with anxiety, you can benefit from the tools the program offers. The course is a variation of the standard adult Living Life to the Full course, and was adapted in consultation with a diverse group of youth from British Columbia. Group-based and led by a youth-certified facilitator, it equips youth 13-18 with the skills they need to face challenges in life. The course includes fun activities and group challenges to help youth practise and develop their skills.

Online courses start on June 30th and July 5th. Click the link for more information or register here.

Youth Clinics

These two local youth clinics offer mental health and medical care, and can include doctors and other supportive professionals within the same building such as counsellors or youth workers.

Foundry Victoria offers a range of wellness services for young people ages 12-24, including physical and mental health care, substance use supports, social services and peer support. Foundry is located in downtown Victoria and operates 5 days a week. They also offer a virtual service.

The Peninsula Youth Clinic offers a similar model on a smaller scale. The clinic is open from 5:30-7:30PM on Thursday nights, and operates out of the Shoreline Medical Clinic in Sidney.

Summer Reading Club

We've pointed out the wellness benefits that reading can bring in previous snapshots. Your local libraries are offering a program to help your child keep up that healthy habit over the summer break and enter into next school year feeling great about their reading skills.

Starting June 13 (at GVPL) and June 21 (at VIRL), children aged 12 and under (or their parent or caregiver) can visit a branch to collect a 2022 BC Summer Reading Club package. The package provides incentives for daily reading and helps children strengthen their connection to the local resource of libraries!

VIRL is also offering a free "kick off" to summer reading club with Haida author and storyteller Kung Jaadee.

Summer Opportunities and Supports for Parents

Art Exploration for Caregivers (virtual)

Foundry had launched a new virtual drop-in group for caregivers. From their website:

Join Brenda, a family peer supporter with Foundry Virtual BC, as we use art to experience mindfulness, self-care, community, and focus on exploring our values and personal identity. This virtual group will support caregivers of youth ages 12-24 gain skills to explore their own caregiving values and self-care in a safe and creative environment. No previous art skills are required! Attend one-off sessions, or join us for all!

Dates: July 7, 14, 21, 28 August 4, 11, 18, 25
Time: Thursdays, 6:30-8:00pm

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BGC Parenting Programs

Boys and Girls Club is offering some of their parenting groups virtually throughout the summer. These can be great ways to learn strategies to support your children or connect with other parents facing similar challenges.

Parents Together (13-19yrs)
Sometimes parenting challenges can feel overwhelming. This program for parents of teens provides ongoing support. A manual and materials are provided to participants. Parents may stay in the group as long as they feel they need support and help in their daily parenting. Guest speakers may be invited for specific topics.

Parenting Without Power Struggles (9-12yrs)
Aimed for parents of preteens, this popular 10-12 week program encourages parents to build on their family strengths, gain confidence in parenting an emerging teen, and discover practical ideas on how to prepare for the transition from preteen to teen. Our professionally-facilitated programs offer an opportunity to connect with other parents while learning new skills and knowledge that help parents feel better equipped to parent their preteens.


FamilySmart Workshops

FamilySmart offers monthly workshops and panels to support parents. June's topic is "What to say to kids (and teens) when nothing seems to work."

This is a video of a live presentation by Dr. Ashley Miller, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Family Therapist and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Miller will share quick and effective strategies to help your child and you weather difficult moments in a way that strengthens resilience and relationships. 

Come together with other families to watch this video presentation and stay for a facilitated discussion by a FamilySmart Parent Peer Support Worker.

June 9th, 13th, and 16th 
**Check the link in July and August for updated offerings!

EASE at Home

EASE at Home is a set of free activities and tools for parents that complements the Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators program that your child may have encountered at school. From the EASE website:

It can be hard for adults to know what to say or do to ease a child’s worries, especially during times of change and uncertainty. As the most important big people in their world, parents and caregivers can help children feel safer and soften the sharp edges of whatever is making their worries grow.

To help support learning across environments, EASE K–7 lessons have been adapted for use by parents and caregivers to help children manage worries and everyday anxiety at home.
Summer Opportunities and Supports for Educators

Teach Mental Health

In this free course, educators will learn how to apply a classroom-ready, web-based, modular mental health curriculum resource as well as develop their own mental health literacy. Educators can then use this resource designed to be delivered to regular classrooms to successfully address mental health-related curriculum outcomes to students aged 12 to 19.


Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators is a free online course for educators and a collection of evidence-informed, curriculum-aligned classroom resources for teaching K–12 students effective everyday anxiety management skills. EASE includes strategies for students to help them cope with everyday anxiety while contributing to the mental health literacy of educators. There are EASE programs for K-7 and 8-12.


UBC Social Justice Professional Institutes

Last month's snapshot focused on equity and anti-racism, and a previous snapshot focused on Inclusivity in education. UBC has some multi-day seminars and institutes this summer that can support further learning in these areas of social justice. Two online institutes are on anti-racism and sustainability in the classroom. There are also two in-person seminars on Inclusive Ed and Indigenous Ways of Knowing and being.

Starling Minds

Summer can give us the time and space to learn new ways of managing some of the stressors of daily life. Starling Minds is an online mental health and wellness toolkit, designed for teachers, that provides education and training to manage stress and prevent anxiety and depression. It's free to access for BCTF teachers, and provides personalized support and training, mental health assessments, and CBT tools that help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.


SD63's Mental Wellness Hub updated every month

This site compiles both local and online mental health and wellness resources for families and educators, and is updated monthly with new resources.
SD63's Mental Wellness Hub