Specialist High Skills Major Health and Wellness Student Conference

The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario hosted the inaugural CDSBEO Health and Wellness Student Conference on Tuesday, April 21. The event was an opportunity to bring together senior students registered in the Specialist High Skills Major Health and Wellness Program, with community partners for an unprecedented day of learning.

Keynote speaker Patrick Dion, Vice Chair, Board of Directors for the Mental Health Commission of Canada, opened the morning with an inspiring keynote regarding the importance of mental health awareness, and stigma.

“The stigma of mental illness is bigotry by any definition. And who should stand for bigotry? Not I, and certainly, not you,” Mr. Dion explained.

“Mental illness dashes the dreams of many, but particularly the dreams of young Canadians who must adjust to coping with their harsh new reality… but one must remember that strength of character, and the unwavering support of family can undoubtedly help overcome even the most difficult of life’s challenges.”

Following Mr. Dion, the CHEO YouthNet Team delivered an informative and interactive presentation which draws on research data to engage students in a discussion about healthy coping strategies and positive mental health. A collective discussion around stigma, as well as various other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety helped students become familiar with some common mental health topics. The discussion encouraged future action within the community and in potential career pathways.

During the conference, a volunteer, career, and post-secondary fair was available for students to explore opportunities for graduates in Eastern Ontario. For the afternoon, students were able to attend two breakout sessions, which delivered a variety of hands-on experiential learning and certification/training options that meet many of the diploma requirements for the Health and Wellness Program. Sessions included topics such as athletic taping, sign language, coaching principles, body image and nutrition, infection control, managing stress, suicide awareness, patient transfer, fitness, and yoga, among others.

The event offered an outstanding array of learning opportunities for those in attendance, and helped to support the larger mental health initiatives currently happening in the CDSBEO.


Patrick Dion, Vice Chair, Board of Directors for the Mental Health Commission of Canada presents to the students at the CDSBEO Health and Wellness Student Conference.

Health and Wellness 1















The CHEO YouthNet Team educates the group about mental health, and discusses health coping strategies.

Youth Net Team