BRUNO — A conference focused on mental health hosted by Bruno School aimed to teach students that it’s a subject that’s okay to talk about.
“We want to break that stigma of mental health, so that people can reach out for help and be brave,” Carla Julé, a student counselor with the Horizon School Division. “We need to treat mental illness like any other illness and not be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.”
The March 11 conference was hosted by the Bruno and St. Brieux School Headstrong groups. The group is a federal government program that aims to teach students to become mental health champions at their schools.
Around 120 students from 11 schools gathered at Bruno School for the conference, which began with a keynote from Megan Hodges of Better Together, an effort created in North Battleford to try to reduce the number of deaths by suicide. That was then followed by a panel discussion.
The students then went to breakout sessions where they heard personal stories from people who have lived with mental health crises and have gotten through it. They gave some tips to the students. The day then ended with the students discussing what kind of action they could do at their own schools.
The Bruno School Community Council also hosted Hodges for a talk aimed at adults that evening.
Julé said the idea from the conference came after the Bruno and St. Brieux School Headstrong groups attended a mental health conference in Melfort in October.
“That gave us the inspiration. We were like: you know what? I think we could do this at our own school. This would be awesome for our own schools and students to attend.”
Both teachers and students worked to make the conference a success.
“The Bruno School students were so helpful. There’s a Leadership 30 class here this semester and all of those students helped behind the scenes.”
Julé said the plan is to hold the conference annually.