During the past year, staff members in the Hanover School Division have noticed a "marked increase in the need for mental health support for youth in our communities." 

As students begin their winter break, superintendent Shelley Amos encourages adults to be mindful of the mental health support that children may need during the holiday season. 

“At times, it can also be stressful for those children who have previously or are currently struggling with mental health issues or challenging life circumstances. Changes in daily routine (winter break) can increase anxiety in some children and may further worsen feelings of depression or loneliness.” 

For those children who have recently experienced tragedy, Amos says this may also be a time when grief becomes overwhelming. 

Amos says to watch for significant or unusual changes in behaviour, and to frequently check in on their well-being. 

The superintendent sent an email yesterday to parents, offering details on where to get support. 

“We encourage families to reach out for help if needed. When school is in session, parents/caregivers may access support at their child’s school through the School Counselor Department.” 

Amos also provided information on how the division plans to address the increasing need for mental health support for youth. 

“With a new year on the horizon, HSD is committed to seeking additional opportunities and ways to support the youth in our community. We intend to further collaborate with Manitoba Health, RCMP, local partner organizations, and formal and informal community leaders. Our aim is to host an initial meeting early in the new year and work together with a vision to provide enhanced, coordinated, and robust support to the youth in our community who hold the future in their hands.” 

The email includes contact information for additional supports that are available anytime from the following community resources: 

  • Backstage Youth Drop-in Centre (204-326-4366) 

  • Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868 or Text TALK to 686868) 

  • Klinic Crisis Lines (204-786-8686) 

  • Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support line (1-877-435-7170) 

  • Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support website https://reasontolive.ca/