Where do you turn when your child is in crisis? A school community in Eastern Ontario has committed to ensuring kids and parents have access to services and information, and they’re talking about mental health year round.

In the last 10 years, 42 school communities in the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) in Kemptville have made the pledge to break down the stigma of mental health, raising funds for local agencies and mental health teams.

“I’m not an expert with formal training in mental health. But what I want is to provide resources and information for people,” said Bill Gartland, director of education for CDSBEO. “There’s just not enough resources for people in the community. Parents are waiting six months to get their children in to see a counsellor.”

Thanks to the CDSBEO, community members now have better resources, funds and access to mental health and wellness tools.

The board’s multiple achievements include that it:

  • Is the first board in Canada to put the Canadian Mental Health Standards in its board policy.
  • Has members who wrote and published an employee guidebook to mental health called “Finding Direction.”
  • Launched an app for students, providing a hotline for kids to tell administration about a peer in potential crisis, while offering resources for where students can go for help.
  • Established an ongoing partnership with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, hosting yearly events in each school for students to Move for Mental Health, and raising money for mental health agencies in their local community.

The board’s impact doesn’t end there. Last year, the board raised nearly $15,000 for organizations like the Kids Help Phone and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Do you know an outstanding board in Ontario like the CDSBEO? Share your story with us today, and help us celebrate Ontario’s Catholic schools.

Together, we are building communities of faith.