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Moose Jaw Express February 27, 2019

Standing Up Against Bullying

A rosy hue around Saskatchewan would be a good thing Wednesday, February 27, Red Cross Pink Day. Pink Day began when two boys chose to take action against bullying by encouraging their peers to wear pink. Pink Day is now recognized nationally to prevent bullying in all its forms. Everyone is urged to wear pink on February 27 to help raise awareness about bullying issues and to encourage speaking up when bullying occurs. Hopefully, we can exceed last year’s count of more than 56,000 people in Saskatchewan participating in Pink Day.

The Canadian Red Cross has provided a lot of leadership to address bullying, particularly educational resources for schools and organizations serving our youth. Positive partnerships have developed with the Ministry of Education, SaskTel and other organizations. Thank you to K+S Potash Canada for joining with the Red Cross to present 2019 K+S Pink Day in Saskatchewan.

The Ministry of Education and SaskTel work together through a joint campaign to prevent bullying and cyberbullying. The goal is to engage all members of the community while empowering the youth of Saskatchewan to realize their potential to directly influence change in their own schools, communities and online. SaskTel and the Ministry of Education believe that the answers to solving the issues of bullying and cyberbullying lie in the hearts and minds of the youth of today. To empower youth to take their ideas and turn them into positive action that can influence social change in schools, communities and online, grants of up to $1,000 are awarded for youth-led initiatives that promote kindness.

Online at iamstronger.ca, students will find information on how they can get help. They can also anonymously report bullying from a smartphone, tablet or computer. There are also resources on bullying prevention for youth, families and educators.

Bullying of course does not only affect youth. It can happen to adults in the workplace and in their relationships. Experiencing bullying at any age can have a serious negative effect on one’s mental health. We look toward the day when bullying will no longer happen, however in the meantime mental health supports are required.

Investment in mental health continues to be a priority for our government as we move toward closing some of the gaps that exist in mental health services. A new Community Recovery Team in Moose Jaw is providing more intensive supports for people living with complex, persistent mental health challenges.

The 10-person Moose Jaw Community Recovery Team uses a holistic and team-based approach to help clients manage symptoms, achieve goals, avoid hospitalization, and thrive. Community Recovery Teams have also been put in place in seven other Saskatchewan communities. Funding comes through the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Funding Agreement announced in January 2017.

Mental illness is experienced by 1 in 3 Canadians during their lifetime. Too many are experiencing bullying. No one should feel that they must struggle alone. Individuals can contact Mental Health and Addiction Services at 306-691-6464 during business hours. Healthline 811 has Psychiatric Nurses to provide mental health and addictions support. The local Canadian Mental Health Association also has many useful resources.

Thank you to the Red Cross, SaskTel, K+S, school leadership, and everyone who works to promote ‘respect’ and eliminate bullying from our communities. I am planning wear pink on February 27 – I hope you are too.