Students finding mental health support at high school (Online published Article)


Students finding mental health support at high school (Online published Article)

Kim Wood and Michelle Richard talking in the Youth Health Centre with grade 11 students

High school is a huge part of any teenager’s life. It takes up more than a thousand hours each year — learning in the classroom, playing sports, creating art, socializing, and thinking about the future. It’s an exciting time. But for some, it can be more challenging. For everyone, it’s a time to grow and learn about yourself.

It’s important for young people to find ways to navigate this world — and for parents and loved ones to know how to help them.

Amherst Regional High School is helping young people learn to navigate through what can come at this intense time in their lives.

The school offers a Youth Health Centre that offers programs and services to support student health needs — from sexual health, medical advice, counseling and more. It is staffed full time by a public health Youth Health Centre coordinator and has a physician available every two weeks.


Michelle, Youth Health Centre Coordinator, meets with grade 11 student.

“Youth aren’t always comfortable accessing health services,” said Michelle Richard, Youth Health Centre Coordinator at Amherst Regional High School. “Having this based within the school, an environment where they already feel safe, makes them more likely to reach out for the services they need for their physical and mental health.”

Outside of working with the students one on one, Michelle works with SchoolsPlus at Amherst Regional on programs and events, including two main projects. Voices is an empowerment program for girls in grades 7 to 12 that includes 18 sessions on topics ranging from addictions, relationships, families and preparing for their future. The Cumberland HEADSTRONG Summit brings students together to hear speakers share their stories of hope and recovery and engage students in activities to challenge their thinking. The summit aims to reduce stigma and improve mental health literacy in high schools across Cumberland County.


Kim Wood is the facilitator with Amherst SchoolsPlus

SchoolsPlus and the Youth Health Centre complement each other. We can support students with accessing services to meet their needs. This is particularly important for those with complex challenges that require bringing several agencies together,” said Kim Wood, facilitator with Amherst SchoolsPlus. “Sometimes there are barriers for families to get the help they need, like transportation or economic issues. SchoolsPlus promotes non-government and government programs working together and make services more accessible for students, particularly those that are more vulnerable.”

Kim and Michelle also completed Go-To training, along with the school’s guidance counselor. In 2013, Dr. Stan Kutcher developed Go-To training which gives teachers in secondary schools the skills and knowledge to identify when students are struggling with mental health. “Because of Go-To, there is now consistent language in the school around mental health. It’s about knowing the difference between a mental health problem and a mental illness, and when a student should be referred to supports and services.”

Both Kim and Michelle want students and their families to know that these programs are there for them, whenever they are needed.

“Seeing the students grow is an amazing experience. I love what I do,” said Michelle. “By giving our youth the tools they need to deal with the challenges they face, we can help them reach a happier, healthier future.”

For more information about SchoolsPlus, visit .


The HTT12 students and their teacher, Mr. K. Gould, decided it was important to do something with the leftover wood after building their shed.  The result--planter tables and chairs.  Below you can see the fun chair that was built.


June 11, 2015 -- Drs. Rachna Minocha and Rick Mckenney have been great supporters of Amherst.  In 2014 they, along with their hard working organizing committee, decided to take things a step further by organizing an annual Valentine Run in an effort to support local running/health promotion throughout the year. 

In both 2014 and again in 2015, ARHS was awarded a $500 grant to help promote sports.  This money is awarded to youth who wish to be involved with sport but may be having some financial difficulty.  All ARHS youth who may have a financial need are encouraged to speak with your coach, the Athletic Director or an administrator in the office.  Never say never.  There is help available. 

ARHS thanks the Valentine Run Coordinating committee and all of the volunteers (ARHS youth and staff included) who helped make the run possible.  Your time, energy and talent has created something quite special in our community.  Thank you for thinking of us. 



une10, 2015 -- 2014-2015 was another eventful year made special for many reasons; especially because another fantastic group of International students selected Amherst as their destination of choice for their academic year.  On Wednesday, participating students were awarded their NS Cerficates by Principal, Pamela Hoar, and their Faculty Advisor, Mr. Stephen Blum.  We are proud to have a welcoming school where all international students help to enrich our "global classrooms" while they are being enriched by our school, community and province.     

Thank you for making ARHS your home for the past year/semester.  While you were learning, we were learning.  Safe travels.  [Photos to come.]


Wednesday, June 10, 2015 -- The ARHS Sports' Banquet had a special addition this year.  Our CEP 10 students with the support and expertise of their shop teacher, Mr. Fred Gould, made the plaques (see example below) which were given out to our talented athletes.  We applaud the CEP students for the great contribution they have made to a very special evening.



June 11, 2015 -- ARHS Staff would like to congratulate all of our athletes who had the opportunity to celebrate their year of success at the Sports' Banquet last evening.  You have made your parents, your coaches and our staff proud.   Coongratulations


June 10, 2015 -- The Sports Banquet is under way. Thanks goes out to Mr. Jim Ripley who gave an inspirational speech.



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