Mental Health Services
Our Mental Health Services Team consists of: Mental Health Lead, Attendance Counsellors, Child Development Counsellors, Indigenous Youth and Family Outreach Workers, Behaviour Counsellors, Social Work Services and 2 Mental Health and Addictions Nurses that work directly in our schools. This team works directly with Educators, Students, Parents/Guardians and Community Partners to deliver mental health promotion, prevention, group services and brief intervention services within the school environments.
The services can be accessed through a centralized intake referral process in all schools. The needs of the student are matched with available resources and/or connected to a more appropriate community service. This team provides consultation to schools, early identification, direct social emotional skill teaching for identified students, evidenced-based group programs, screening for high risk students expressing thoughts of suicide, and outreach support to non-attending students and emotional/ problem solving support. Secondary students can access brief service counselling and parents and care givers can be supported through the social work service. This team also provides mental health awareness training and engages in mental health promotion activities to help reduce the stigma of mental health and to promote resiliency and the protective factors in our children.
Continuum of Service Options
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS AND SERVICES
Our Mental Health Team is a dedicated group of professionals that are available in the schools to respond to the mental health needs of students and provide support to parents and guardians. The NNDSB Team is made up of Child and Youth Counsellors; Mental Health Workers (Social Work and Psychotherapy); Brief Service Counsellors and Attendance Counsellors. We work alongside educators, Special Education staff, and community partnering agencies in creating circles of care around students in support of their academic achievement. We are providing direct confidential face-to-face counselling and virtual care by phone or a video connection for our at home learners following all the safety protocols during the pandemic.
Our Elementary Child Development Counsellors provide in-school supports such as social emotional skill teaching in targeted evidenced-based group programs that build skills in emotional regulation, anxiety reduction, coping, and stress management; mood management; problem solving, and peer relationships. Student wellness is the focus using strength-based approaches to build resiliency in all of our students. Resilient students are able to cope with life challenges, develop healthy relationships with peers and adults, and to stand up to bully behaviour. We ask parents and teachers to complete the Strength’s Difficulties Questionnaire a standardized instrument that assesses areas of need. Students are then matched to the program that would best address their needs. Some students are not suited to the group experience and are then provided with individual emotional coaching and skill teaching.
Our older students from Grade 7 to 12 can access walk-in counselling provided in all the high schools by our Youth Counsellors or can be referred to the Brief 4 session counselling service that focusses on teaching problem solving, stress, and mood management, developing a positive mind set and communication skills. The Youth Counsellors address a variety of concerns ranging from low mood, managing anxiety and stress, complying to parental and academic expectations, drug misuse and suicidal thoughts and urges to self-harm.
All of our counsellors are trained in screening for suicide risk and are well versed in pathways to additional care when required. We work in collaboration with community partners to create circles of care that surround and support the student. All of these services can be accessed directly through the school.
Our Social Work team is made up of regulated mental health professionals that provide individual counselling, psychotherapy, and group services for students in Grades 7 to 12. While the focus of the service is on the needs of the secondary students, consultation, case management, and individual treatment may be provided to the younger students when deemed appropriate. The social work team can support families, parents, and caregivers in accessing available community resources and services as well as providing parent education, support, and coaching in child management in relation to their success at school. The team is trained in a variety of evidenced-based approaches and design treatment plans based on the unique needs of each student. The main focus of the service is to address the barriers for academic achievement. These barriers maybe related to heightened anxiety, low mood and depression, thoughts of suicide and self-harming. relationship problems, substance misuse, adjusting to life crisis and the impact of social isolation.
HOW DO I ACCESS THESE SERVICES?
The first step in accessing services is to provide the team with your informed consent to provide mental health services for your child. All of our educators are trained in early identification of noticing any student wellness challenges and may bring this to the attention of the school leadership team. The team, usually the Resource teacher, will reach out to you to explain the area of concern and get your consent for service. You need to sign the form indicating the services you are consenting to and return to the school. Given the complications related to COVID, we can start the service with your verbal consent.
We are currently exploring ways to reduce paper going back-and-forth and if you are agreeable may ask for your email address to send documents electronically. You will also be asked to complete a standardized screening tool called the Strengths Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) that provides a quick snapshot of the areas your child may be struggling with. This helps determine the most suitable service and focus of the service for your child. Once these are received the service planning begins.
If you have concerns for your child that have NOT been identified by the school team, you may also refer directly to our services by contacting your child’s teacher or the Principal. If you would prefer, you may also contact the social work team directly outlining your request for service by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling us at 705-707-1606. Our emails are monitored from 8:30 to 4:30, Monday to Friday and you will be contacted by a counsellor to arrange for an appointment in the best method that suits your needs.
SECONDARY AND INTERMEDIATE STUDENTS (grade 7 to 12)
The main way to access service for our older students is through our walk-in counselling service offered in all high schools. The student would then need to sign a consent for service during that first visit. Principals, Vice Principals, Student Success teachers and Resources teachers may direct a student to counselling services when challenges with student well-being are noticed. Students can also be referred to our brief counselling service and is usually a recommendation after the first visit to a walk-in session. Cross referrals to all internal services are supported by the counsellors. Students can also request to see a counsellor and will be directed accordingly. If your child is reluctant to reach out in the school, they can also access services by emailing the Youth Counsellor directly in the school or send an email to email@example.com.
PARENTS AND GUARDIANS
Parents and Guardians can access parent support, through the Social Work team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 705-707-1606
Please note it is our goal to match the student to the right service at the right time. Our counsellors will recommend cross-referrals to other board services or to community partners should the needs exceed what the school board can provide. We can help you to make those connections.
If you have any questions about this service contact our Mental Health Lead at email@example.com.
MENTAL HEALTH TEAM CONTACT INFORMATION
Mental Health Lead: Susan Lessard M.S.W., RSW firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUTH COUNSELLORS – SECONDARY AND INTERMEDIATE SCHOOLS
- Chippewa Secondary School (7-12) email@example.com
- West Ferris Secondary School (7-12) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Northern & F. J. McElligott Secondary Schools (9-12) email@example.com (Beth)
- Almaguin Highlands Secondary School (9-12) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Parry Sound High School (7-12) email@example.com
ELEMENTARY CHILD DEVELOPMENT COUNSELLORS
Our elementary Child Development Counsellors serve a family of schools
- Phelps, E.W. Norman, E. T. Carmichael, Vincent Massey firstname.lastname@example.org
- M.T. Davidson, Alliance, Ferris Glen email@example.com
- Mattawa District, Whitewoods (Beth) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Silver Birches, Sunset Park, Woodland email@example.com
- Land of Lakes, Humphrey, Evergreen Heights firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sundridge, South River; Mapleridge email@example.com
- Argyle, South Shore, (vacant)
- Whitestone, MacTier, McDougall, Magnetawan, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Parry Sound Public, Nobel email@example.com
SOCIAL WORK TEAM
- Adrienne Thorpe M.A., B.Ed, B.A., Registered Psychotherapist firstname.lastname@example.org – Almaguin and East Region
- Steven Spack M.S.W., RSW email@example.com – North East - Mattawa
- Andrea Barton M.S.W., RSW firstname.lastname@example.org – North West – Sturgeon Falls
- Parry Sound West Region (vacant)
BRIEF COUNSELLOR TEAM
- email@example.com - West Ferris and board-wide
- firstname.lastname@example.org – Chippewa and board-wide
- email@example.com -Laurentian Learning Centre and board-wide
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Almaguin and Parry Sound Areas)
- email@example.com (North Bay and Area)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (North Bay and Area)
IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY
Please note that these services are not designed to be a crisis service and we do not operate on the weekends and beyond the school day. While we are committed to diligent monitoring of the email access routes, if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or substance use emergency, call 911 or go to your emergency department at your local hospital. Even in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, professionals are available to support you.
- If you are not sure if it is an emergency, or just need to talk through the situation, consider reaching out to Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, or the Hands Crisis Line at 1-844-287-9072.
- For youth 16 years and older, the Mobile Crisis North Bay City Police and North Bay Regional Health Centre are operating regular hours Monday-Friday 8-6, available through the non-emergency line of the police service 705-497-5555.
- Children and teens can speak with a counsellor 24/7 by calling Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or texting CONNECT to 686868.
- Connex Ontario is a central database for services available at Connexontario.ca or by telephone 1-866-531-2600.