We are thrilled to announce that Ms. Oneil is stepping into a new role as a Social Emotional Counsellor at Meadowridge. After many years of teaching PHE classes, she will share her expertise in health in a new way by supporting students and their mental wellness on campus. In celebration of her new role and World Mental Health Day on October 10, we sat down with Ms. Oneil to learn more about her new role and the importance of mental well-being.
What will you be doing in this new role? What will this mean for students?
- My hope in this new role is multifaceted. I intend to be a resource for students, teachers, and parents in supporting the emotional and social development of our students. I hope to help break down the stigma around mental health and create a safe environment for self-exploration, discovery, and growth. Not only will I provide support and resources to the community, but I also intend to connect students and families with external services and resources that may better fit their needs and further build their network of support.
What made you decide to take on this new role?
- I am passionate about all areas of wellness – physical, social, and emotional, and found that pursuing a career in Counselling would allow me to tap into these dimensions of health from a new lens. I am currently in the process of finishing my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. This education will not only further equip me with the necessary tools and skills needed for this role, but will also allow me to seek certification as a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.
With World Mental Health Day coming up on October 10, what advice would you give to students, staff, or parents hoping to improve their mental health? How can we all support each other’s mental health?
- I think it’s important to note that nurturing and taking care of our mental health is a journey, not a destination. For individuals hoping to improve their mental health, I’d encourage them to get back to the basics. Take care of yourself through proper exercise, nutrition, and sleep. If that feels insurmountable, focus on social connections and re-engaging in activities that you previously found enjoyable. Build a village of support around you the best you can. Reach out for help and check in on the well-being of others as well. I’d also encourage individuals to reach out to a counsellor or other mental health professional for support.
Why is it important for us to recognize World Mental Health Day?
- In my experience, mental health impacts us all, whether personally or to someone close to us. Recognizing and supporting World Mental Health Day is important as it allows us to make a small yet important step toward raising awareness and breaking down the social stigma that exists around mental health. It also allows us to be advocates for better access worldwide.
For those interested in connecting with you for support, what’s the best way they can get in touch?
- If you are hoping to connect or are in need of support, feel free to pop by my office in the library, send me an email, or connect with your teacher or principal and they will help us connect!