Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,
Hats are not a typical part of my clothing ensemble. I generally don’t find them very comfortable and they make of a mess of what little hair I have. However, if I am wearing a hat I am likely trying to hide something, bed head. I probably have not taken the time to look presentable to the world and I use a hat to cover that up.
This upcoming week is recognized as Mental Health Week. One of the activities we will be doing as a school is called Hats On for Mental Health. Mental health can often be wrapped up in stigmas that we try to hide. Much like when I wear my hat, we try to cover up how we are feeling as we may perceive we have to present a certain look to the rest of the world. We don’t want others to know how we may be feeling. Hats can be such a powerful visual reminder that we all have something going on underneath those hats.
Beyond Hats On for Mental Health, our teachers will be engaging students in developmentally appropriate conversations regarding wellness and feelings. Learning that we all experience emotions reduces stigmas and encourages empathy. Likewise, knowing strategies for how deal with emotions, as we are experiencing them, gives students tools for coping.
Research suggests talking about our feelings and mental health challenges can be one step in the healing process. I encourage families to take time this upcoming week to talk with their children about the feelings they keep under their hats. Normalize that feelings are okay to experience and continue to create home environments where children feel safe to express their emotions in a supportive atmosphere. For more information and resources on this topic you can go to a websites like the Canadian Mental Health Association and Mental Health Week.