Lake Country Health Planning Society is one of five partner agencies within the Central Okanagan that has the privilege of launching this project. Developed in response to the steadily increasing population of older adults, Wise & Well was created to help seniors maintain a good quality of life. As people age, they often experience a variety of changes, including retirement, possibly reduced social circles, changes in their physical and/or cognitive abilities, as well as possible emotional changes. Wise & Well aims to address any isolation, feelings of loneliness, or possible mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, by helping connect older adults with local people and community resources. Volunteers are matched up with participants, meet with them once a week and help them become involved and connected in their own community. Activities are based on participant interests and have the ability to expand as the volunteer and the senior get to know each other. Activities may include going for coffee or lunch, attending local plays, trips to the Seniors Centre or group outings with other Wise & Well participants. We are currently recruiting seniors for this program. We welcome all referrals, so call our office today! 778-215-5247. All calls are confidential. Office hours are Monday to Thursday, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
What is bullying exactly? According to the CRAYS Report (Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey) done by the University of Waterloo [for full report go to: https://osis.uwaterloo.ca/ Login: georgel786 password: Canada] bullying is a form of abuse that is repeated over time, from a person in a position of power, targeted at a specific victim. Repeated victimization by a bully decreases the victim’s power and increases the bully’s power.
The CRAYS report states that there are 5 common types of bullying. See picture below for most common types:
This stat comes directly from GESS, meaning that students report verbal attacks as the most common way they get bullied. The CRAYS report also found that of students who bully, this is the most common way they bully others.
Another interesting fact that the report found is that those who bully and those who get bullied report the highest levels of substance abuse.
Here are the stats from George Elliot on who is being bullied and who is being the bully:
We can see by these stats that a total of 34% of students report being bullied in the last month, whereas only 18% of students admit to bullying others in the last month. Whether this is a case of not wanting to admit to being a bully or of not recognizing their actions as bullying is up for debate and should be looked further into.
We can also see that more females seem to be being bullied than males and that they are also more likely to be the perpetrators of bullying.
What can we do to provide safe environments and address bullying at GESS? The CRAYS report makes the following recommendations:
It seems appropriate with school back in session and kids taking on new routines and schedules to talk about mental wellness and how we can work together as parents, teachers and the community to support kids and help prepare them for challenges they may face this year.
This 3rd article from the Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey (CRAYS), done by the University of Waterloo here at George Elliot Secondary School, looks at the results on mental wellness and connectedness in our school [for full report go to: https://osis.uwaterloo.ca/ Login: georgel786 password: Canada].
It states that mental wellness is “the ability to think, feel, and act in ways that strengthen our capacity to enjoy life and deal with challenges as they arise”. It is measured by positive social connections (relatedness), feelings of success (competence) and perception of personal freedom (autonomy). See the chart below for stats at GESS:
Essentially the report says is that if we cultivate mental wellness in our children we lay the foundation to them making healthy behaviour choices and having academic success. Those who feel they are connected to the school and feel their teachers are supportive of them are more likely to have better results during high school and are more likely to graduate. They are also less likely to engage in unhealthy/risky behaviours such as drinking, smoking and trying marijuana. Have a look at how our school compares to others across BC and Canada:
As you can see, 88% strongly agree or agree that they feel safe at GESS, which is close to the national average. 74% strongly agree or agree that they feel happy at the school and 74% also feel a part of the school. This indicates that our levels are just a bit lower than other schools across BC and Canada in most areas.
What can we do to support a stronger culture of wellness at GESS? The article outlines many different strategies, suggesting that school connectedness begins with a positive school atmosphere, promoting a united school community and having kids and teachers take pride in the physical and social environment of their school. A culture of wellness may start at the school but is ideally supported through partnering with parents and the wider community.
More specifically we can promote and cultivate mental wellness by encouraging kids to get involved in their community, do some volunteering, help them learn to appreciate what they have, encourage them to recognize and share their personal gifts, help them express emotions, help them learn how to deal in a positive manner with negative thoughts, and support their hobbies and personal interests.
Last year, the University of Waterloo conducted a Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey (CRAYS) at George Elliot Secondary (GES) in Lake Country. The Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey, funded by the Canadian Cancer Society, is a pan-Canadian survey of students in grades 9 to 12. The survey looked at 5 interconnected issues facing students that impact their wellbeing – mental health, bullying, tobacco use, nutrition, UV exposure and school connectedness.
The CRAYS report provides parents, schools and the community in general, with some very interesting and relevant information about the health and well-being of our youth. The survey was completed by 460 students at GES
To access the full report online go to www.osis.uwaterloo.ca and enter the following information:
As part of the Health Communities Capacity Building Grant (Stream One)) that LCHPS recently received, the Society will be reviewing these findings and looking for opportunities to take action on them. LCHPS is also conducting its own Youth Survey and will compile these results, along with other research such as that found in the CRAYS report, into a Community Health and Wellness plan.