Dear Members of the Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin community:
Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin is a broad geographic area, but when a tragedy occurs in one area, it affects us all. Recent tragic suicides in the Centre Wellington community remind us of this — that we all mourn the loss and need to care for each other during this time.
Some of our young people may be deeply affected by these tragedies. School staff have been briefed on how to identify students who may be distressed or want to talk, and they are here to support your child/youth. In addition to staff in classrooms, Child and Youth Counsellors/Workers, Psychologists and Social Workers, Guidance Teachers, and Chaplains at the Catholic Board are available to support students. Over the following weeks, we will monitor classes closely and respond to needs as they are identified.
Today and over the coming weeks, you may be concerned about your child/youth’s reaction or changes in behaviour. Your child/youth might find it hard to concentrate and complete school work, or might be unusually quiet, or show displays of anger. Some children might show very few reactions. These are all normal reactions.
Normal grief reactions can be very intense for children and adolescents and can be quite different at different ages. Young children may need more comfort and reassurance, middle-aged children might have a need to talk and ask many, possibly difficult questions. Adolescents can be profoundly affected, even if not personally connected to the people involved in the events. Most often, adolescents seek out the support of friends but will still need adult help and will benefit from your support and listening when needed.
Below, please find an information sheet that might be helpful in understanding what your child/youth might be feeling and might need at this time. Should you have any concerns about how your child is dealing with this situation, please feel free to contact the school or access any of the emergency resources listed below.
In addition to caring for our children and youth, we must be aware that we, too, can be deeply affected and need support. If you or someone you know needs help, do not hesitate to reach out. In Guelph and Wellington County, you can call Here 24/7 (1-844-437-3247), a 24-hour crisis and support line for children, youth and adults; in Dufferin County, you can contact Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) at 519-941-1530 for children and youth. You can find more information on these websites:
- Wellington Catholic District School Board
- Upper Grand District School Board
- Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington
Martha Rogers, Director of Education
Upper Grand District School Board
Tamara Nugent, Director of Education
Wellington Catholic District School Board
Fred Wagner, Executive Director
Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHAWW)