Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) hosted three presentations by Kristin Buhr, a registered psychologist and the director of the North Shore Stress and Anxiety Clinic.
The first two were presented to the student body split up between the Grade 9/10 and Grade 11/12 classes and the third presentation was in the evening and attended by roughly 40 parents and members of the public.
“What really stuck out for me was; she made the point of providing people with strategies for taking care of yourself when it comes to anxiety,” said Shawn Meville, vice principal of PSO. “It was very practical and very grounded.”
Buhr’s presentations are geared towards dealing with mental health issues using positive self-talk, getting enough sleep, exercise and deep breathing.
The high school has seen a rise in students experiencing mental health issues and the school has been trying to address it and make the school culture more empathetic and understanding.
“We are just in the first few steps of that journey but on the other end of that is if people are not empathetic or compassionate or sympathetic to others people will have anxiety about coming into the building, being around other people and functioning well academically and socially,” said Melville. “For us, it’s not necessarily about anxiety on its own as something we are trying to address but anxiety is a part of the bigger picture. It’s one more part to the puzzle that we’re trying to provide students with some tools so that they can be a little more resilient and function a little better in not just school but life in general.”
Meville said he has been getting student feedback from teachers after they took the class back to their rooms after the presentations. According to them, the student body has found the presentations favourable and some of the things the vice-principal has heard was the students found Buhr’s strategies helpful in dealing with anxiety in any situation.
The presentations were organised by PSO’s Parents Advisory Committee (PAC).