Blog

Counsellor’s Update – October 2019

I hope you all enjoyed some family time over the long weekend! Over the past month I have had several parents reach out to me with concerns about the mental health of their child. My first suggestion is always to have a doctor’s visit for assessment so that you can confirm whether your child is dealing with a diagnosable mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression (amongst others) or if they are experiencing a situational emotional responses (having anxious thoughts because they are overwhelmed by school work, grief, etc.). 
 
Secondly, if your child is given a diagnosis, and you feel comfortable, please let me know so that I can do my best to support them at school. I also strongly suggest outside counseling so that they have a counsellor who can ‘follow’ them for as long as they need support. Unfortunately, when it comes to school counseling, my ability to work with your student is limited to class time, Tuesday-Thursday during the school year. Having continued care for your child over the summer and the following years may be an asset to their wellness journey and thus outside counselling may be a better fit for long-term care while my role may be more focused on crisis intervention and situational support.
 
If you are looking for outside support, a great start is to check out our Wellness Matters at Monterey Website under ‘Mental Health Resources’ located here:
There you will find a list of counselling options (both with and without fees). If you have any other questions please feel free to reach out to myself or Sarah Wilson. Although we can provide you with some names of local counsellors who may be taking on new patients, we do not make specific referrals to outside (fee required) counsellors. 
 
If your child is experiencing some stress or having anxious thoughts, helping your child build resilience and foster grit is a fantastic way to help them learn the skills they need to manage in the future. If we don’t allow our children to struggle and overcome, they will never learn the skills they need to flourish. For example, although it may be hard to watch our children learn to swim, they can practice the skills they need safely while we teach them to hold their breath, float, and paddle. 
 
When it comes to resilience, children learn best through experience. Model how you make important choices in your life. For example, the next time you have to make a big decision, provide your child with a structure that you use for making decisions and walk them through your process. For example: 
A.           Write down your choices
B.           Research each choice (get as much info about each)
C.           Weigh the positives and negatives of each choice
D.           Who do these choices affect? How can I make the best one for all parties?
E.           Make an educated choice which is best for all involved.
 
Then, provide an opportunity for your child to work through this process regarding a decision that affects them and help them through your process. You could do this for decisions like: Where should we go for dinner? Where should our next vacation be? Whose house would you like to stay at for Christmas? 
 
By giving your child choices and allowing them to make their own decisions by providing them a structure in which to do so, your child will learn through their own experience and thus be more mindful when dealing with similar circumstances in the future. 
 
A fantastic resource I found is 9 Activities To Build Grit and Resilience in Children: 
https://bit.ly/35OOkHr. The activities listed are great for different ages and can be a good activity for ‘family time’ which is an excellent way for your child to feel supported and connected. In fact, I am a big fan of The Big Life Journal and if you sign up for their weekly Emails they will provide you with FREE downloads and activities to do with your children to help build their self-esteem, self-efficacy and emotional regulation skills. 
 
Additionally, the next month is full of some great workshops in our area that might benefit you, such as: 
 
The Impact of Screen Time, Social Media & Video Gaming on Today’s families – Wednesday, October 30th – Victoria Foundry ( Also November 19th) See Below 
  
Social media and video gaming is an ever-changing world. Presenter Shannon Husk will provide tips and strategies to help families manage their struggles around these concerns. Shannon provides free outreach and counselling to individuals, couples, and families who struggle with video gaming and gambling.  
 
Anxiety: An Occupational Therapists Approach – Thursday, November 14th – Victoria
 
Sean Boulet, an Occupational Therapist with Island Health, is back again to talk about anxiety, not only as it relates to teens, and younger children, but also parents will benefit from Sean’s perspective and experience. Youth and Service Providers are welcome to attend!  
 
The Impact of Screen Time, Social Media & Video Gaming on Today’s families Tuesday, November 19th –  Westshore
 
Social media and video gaming is an ever-changing world. Presenter Shannon Husk will provide tips and strategies to help families manage their struggles around these concerns.   
 
Learning Loss Support Group ages 13-18 for youth who have experienced death or loss of a family member, friend or pet, moving to a new community, divorce, illness, etc. Please contact David Segal 250-588-7214 or david@humannaturecounselling.ca for more info. 
 
Have a wonderful week,
Mary Klovance & Sarah Wilson

Counsellors’ Update – September 2019

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Hello from Monterey’s School Counselling team!

I hope everyone had a fantastic summer. I am so excited to be back at Monterey for my second year as the School Counsellor. Once again, I have the pleasure of working with my student counsellor, Sarah Wilson, who is also your student’s drama exploratory teacher. 

This year we have some exciting things planned and I wanted to share some of that with you!
If you have any suggestions on what we can do to make our website more applicable and helpful, please feel free to respond to this E-mail and let me know!

As the school counsellor I also have the opportunity to teach your child during our Mash Up exploratory rotation on Fridays. Some of the topics we may cover in that course are:

  • Stress Management
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Exploring healthy relationships
  • Drugs & Alcohol
  • Mental Health Disorders
  • Time Management/Study Skills

Additionally, I will be running a brainstorm called Peer Helpers where student volunteers can learn how to support their peers and foster lasting relationships, while building self-esteem and self-efficacy. I understand that some students may also want to participate in other Brainstorms so we will also meet weekly (week day TBA). 

If you, or your student would like to meet with myself or Sarah, please E-mail me and let me know when you’re available so we can sort out a time and date. For students, they may come to my office at anytime. If I am busy, there is a schedule posted outside my door on the wall and they can put their initials and DIV # during the day/time they would like to come chat and come back during that block. 

Additionally, I will be coordinating some games during nutrition break so new and old students can get to know each other better.

The following presentation may be of interest to you this month:

Wednesday Sept 25th: Need2 Suicide Prevention

In this presentation we will discuss suicidality in youth and help parents understand how they can best guide their children who might be thinking or talking about suicide, and what services exist in the community.

Presenter:

Liz Radermacher from NEED2 Suicide Prevention

Date & Time: Wednesday Sept. 25th, 6:00pm – 8:00 pm

Location:  Foundry Victoria

RSVP: https://bit.ly/2Z4iL8b 

I look forward to getting to know you and your students this year, and I hope your start to the school year has gone smoothly.

Mary & Sarah

Counsellor’s Update – April

Hello Monterey Parents and Guardians,
As it has been a while since we’ve sent one of our counselling emails out to you all, we wanted to give you an update on some exciting things we have been doing at Monterey this spring!
Our Peer Helpers program is in full swing, with volunteers helping to introduce new students to the school, tutoring kids from younger grades, and overall being social ambassadors to foster an inclusive and connected school community. We even have a team of passionate students who are working to bring a presentation to Monterey classrooms on raising awareness about Autism. As the school counsellor, Mary is working hard to bring Autism awareness and education to all our students at Monterey, and our teaching staff. We have provided some resources below for you to take a look at on the subject; our students on the Autism Spectrum are valuable members of our school community at Monterey and we are proud to help spread education for Autism Awareness month. Some talking points to touch base with your kids over the weekend are asking questions like, “Do you know what Autism is?”, “Do you know anybody who is on the Autism Spectrum?”, and “What are some things you could do next week to connect with someone on the Autism Spectrum?” Here are some of the basics you can chat about with your kids:
​Even though each person on the Autism Spectrum is unique, there are some common factors for how we can understand what you might notice in peers with Autism. It is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities, so someone on the Autism Spectrum might be especially sensitive to things like light, touch, and sound. This is why you might see someone wearing noise-cancelling headphones in a busy classroom. Eye contact can also be very difficult for someone with Autism, as well as they might have more difficulties picking up on social cues. Thinking about these conditions, how might that influence how you make a connection with someone on the Autism Spectrum?
Some exciting news is that the two of us will be attending Mindfulness training for school counsellors in June, with the plan to bring a Mindfulness program to Monterey in the fall. Keep an eye out for our June email for some great relaxation tips we’ll pass along your way, to help you and your children prepare for the stress of the end of the year!

Also, there is an amazing opportunity to take part in a free online Positive Parenting Conference! The conference runs from May 7th-14th, but you can reserve your free ticket now at the link below:

https://afineparent.com/positive-parenting-conference​

Thank you for your continued support; wishing you and your families a happy and relaxing weekend!

Counsellor’s Update February

Here are some upcoming resources and opportunities for students and parents or guardians during the month of February. 
Grief and Loss Support Group for Students: The organization Learning Through Loss is currently accepting referrals to their 8-week community group program for students between the ages of 13-18. The program runs form April 9th – May 28th at the Burnside Gorge Community Centre. Eligible students will have experienced grief in response to loss or other changes in their lives, including (but not limited to) death of a loved one, divorce, moving, mental health challenges, or peer alienation. Please see the attached forms for more information and registration. 
Parenting in the Digital Age: ​A free opportunity for parents and guardians of children or teens. Happening on February 20th from 6pm-8pm, through Pacific Centre Family Services. Please see attached poster for the Eventbrite link for registration. 
“Teens and School… what adults can do to help” Presentation: Secondary School is an important time in a teen’s life, and for teen’s struggling with mental health and/or substance use challenges, it can be a tough time. This video presentation brings together a principal and a parent to discuss what they have done as adults to support things going well for teens in secondary school. Date & Time: Feb 19th, 6:30pm-8:30pm @ Military Family Resource Centre. RSVP: https://bit.ly/2MQEQm1
“Self-Care: When you’re a parent of a child with challenging behaviour” Presentation: This presentation will focus on the importance of taking care of ourselves as parents, learning and understanding how the stress of dealing with behaviour can impact our minds and bodies, as well as strategies to help in practicing self-care. Date & Time: Feb 21st, 7:00pm-9:00pm @ Saanich Neighbourhood Place. RSVP: https://bit.ly/2HSdRry
Something we as educators notice, is that this time of year can be especially difficult for student moods, with the holidays behind us and spring not yet upon us. It might be a good time to take a moment to talk with your child about the kinds of things they can do to make themselves feel good when they are feeling down. What are some hobbies they can engage in? How can they help others to boost their own moods? Giving kids tangible strategies to take ownership of their own happiness can really help get through darker days and colder weather… until those cherry blossoms return!

Counsellor’s Update Jan 10th

Good morning Parents/Guardians,

Happy New Year and welcome back! As we head into a new year and a new term, it is a chance for fresh starts, but also potential new anxieties and challenges. There are some useful programs available for you and your children coming up in the near future that I wanted to let you know about to help youth with anxiety.

Teen Mindfulness groups for teens ages 13-17. The necessary criteria to be eligible for this group is that your child must be experiencing anxiety, stress, and/or worrying (no formal diagnosis required), have an ability to attend an Information Session as well as all 6 group sessions, and must not currently be experiencing moderate to severe mental health symptoms. The next information sessions are January 16th and 23rd, from 4:30-6:30pm at the Downtown YMCA, located at 851 Broughton St. Attending an information session is mandatory prior to participating in the program. Register for an upcoming information session by emailing us at mindfulness@vancouverislandy.ca. Or for more information call: 250-386-7511 ext. 413.Information Sessions: Downtown Victoria Y – January 16th & 23rd, 2019, 4:30-6:30pm. Program Sessions: Downtown Victoria Y – February 6th to March 13th, 2019 (weekly on Wednesdays from 4:30-6pm)

First FamilySmart Meeting of 2019 is Thursday January17th  – Anxiety: An Occupational Therapist’s Approach. Sean Boulet, an Occupational Therapist with Island Health, is back again to talk about anxiety, not only as it relates to teens, and younger children, but also parents will benefit from Sean’s perspective and experience. Youth and Service Providers are welcome to attend! What will you learn: – Physical, Psychological, Behaviour and Emotion Signs of Anxiety – Strategies to calm and regulate – Exposure Therapy Date & Time: Thursday January 17th,  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Location : Saanich Neighbourhood Place ( Inside Pearkes Rec. Center ) RSVP: https://bit.ly/2Tug8Kr

A great free resource for you to sign up for is Big Life Journal: https://biglifejournal.com/ where if you click on the “Free Printables” red tab at the right of the page, you can sign up to get fun activities focusing on Growth Mindset emailed to you every Friday!

I would also like to take this opportunity at the start of this year to introduce Sarah Wilson to you, who will be my School Counselling internship student here at Monterey for the next two years. Some of you may already know Sarah as our school’s drama teacher, and I am excited to have her take on this additional role at Monterey. One of the projects she will be working on during this time is keeping our school’s counselling website updated with resources for you and your children on anything to do with counsellor-related topics. Continue reading “Counsellor’s Update Jan 10th”

Counsellor Update Nov 4 2018

Good Afternoon parents,

As we head into the holiday season this can often be a stressful time for both children and their families. I wanted to bring up how supporting your child’s problem solving skills can help them build their confidence and self-efficacy which can decrease feelings of stress and anxiety and can help build their resiliency and foster their success.

Problem Solving

When I speak to students who share that they are feeling stressed or anxious, once we get to the cause of the problem, it is often due to their lack of confidence in their own problem solving skills. For example, some issues such as planning when to do homework and when to play, how to deal with conflict, how to apologize, how to share their feelings, etc. In the end, this all links to their ability to think through a process which can help them to get the resolution they want. Therefore, it can be very helpful to talk to kids about this issues, ask them what they would do, and how they think others would respond do their actions. Another option is to allow children to be a part of family problem solving, for example, how do you choose what to make for dinner? How do you choose who gets to watch their show when there are two shows on at once? What does the process look like when you are choosing whether to buy something or not? Allowing children to engage in these problem solving skills at home, with the support of a caring family member can help them build their confidence and resiliency when they are faced with an issue on their own. My hope is that students will have the chance to practice their skills with guidance and then be able to use those skills independently. Here are some guiding questions you can use with your child:

 

What would you do if I didn’t show up when I was supposed to pick you up friend school/a friend’s house/etc.? What would you do if you didn’t have a phone? What would you do if there were no phones available? What would you do next? Then what?

 

When someone says something hurtful to you, what would you do? What would you say? Then what? How do you think they would react?

 

If you had a problem that you couldn’t handle, and you were unable to reach me, what would you do (at school/at home/at a friend’s house)? (You can also consider giving them a specific example of what the problem might be)

 

If you had to do your homework, and nobody was around to help you, how would you get started? What materials would you need? How could you get help if I wasn’t here?

 

Feel free to make up any situation you think your child may encounter in their real life. The more catered-to-them the example is the better as they will be motivated to work through the issue with you.

 

Also, I have some new resources for you that I thought might be helpful so please read the attached documents as well as the opportunities below:

 

Computer/Gaming Addiction

Shannon Husk, please E-mail me for details

Prevention and Community Engagement Service Provider

https://www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca

 

Thursday Dec

ember 6th: Networking and Parent Support Meeting

This month we are having a very different type of parent meeting. Since it is December we are having a combination of parent networking and support.

Here are the details:

Join us for an opportunity to meet other parents who have challenging kids. We will not have a presentation for this meeting. This is one of the few opportunities to come and just get together with other parents. Talk about the good things and the not so good things, the funny things and the hard things.

There will be Christmas snacks and Tea.

Date & Time: Thursday Dec. 6th, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Location: Saanich Neighbourhood Place ( Inside Pearkes Rec. Centre)

RSVP: https://bit.ly/2DxU6Sb

 

DISCOVERY

Youth & Family Substance Use Services

See Attached Brochure

2nd Floor – 530 Fraser Street

Victoria, BC V9A 6H7

Phone:  250- 519-5313

Fax:  250 -519-5314

Email:  discovery.southisland@viha.ca