MHRC offers coping skills toolkit with help of EMSB students

Montreal - Friday, May 6, 2022

With another edition of Mental Health Awareness Week currently underway, let’s take a look back at a recent campaign which centred on coping skills.

In 2020, a Coping Skills Tool Kit was distributed, offering tips on how to deal with the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns of the time. English Montreal School Board (EMSB) students were invited to share their individual coping strategies, ones that had helped them overcome the challenges of the pandemic, with other fellow students across the EMSB.

The strategies were divided into six distinct sections:

Relax- students suggested taking time for oneself, by reading a good book, squeezing a stress ball, drinking a nice cup of hot tea, or cozying up on the couch with a good Netflix film.

Social Support- the importance of relying on others for support was noted, through a virtual hangout with friends, a friendly phone call to check in with a pal, or simply cuddling up with a pet, among others.

Exercise- physical activity was preached as a positive reinforcement towards coping with the pandemic, either via dancing, walking, running, stretching, biking or kickboxing.

Create- working one’s mind through creative art projects, drawing, writing, journaling, doodling, or playing an instrument were seen as having positive effects on one’s mental health.

Nutrition- nourishment by eating healthy and staying hydrated, all the while leaving some room for candy and other treats, were deemed essential in coping with the pandemic.

Positive Mind- mindfulness, as demonstrated through deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or even just plain old laughter, were vital tools students noted as they coped with the onset of the pandemic.

Students from LINKS High School, Lauren Hill Academy, John F. Kennedy High School, James Lyng, Royal West Academy, Vincent Massey Collegiate, and Lester B. Pearson High School all participated in the exercise.

The Coping Skills Toolkit is available in both PDF and pamphlet form on the MHRC website.

About the MHRC

The MHRC is made up of a multidisciplinary group of professionals from the Student Services Department. They aim to share their mental health knowledge and expertise with the EMSB community via school-based research. Prevention and intervention services are offered to students and staff in the form of drug abuse and violence prevention, crisis and trauma support, and behaviour management, among others. 

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 77 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at