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Nunavut school counsellors get grief training, following suicide inquest

Nunavut's education department is developing two training courses for school counsellors, to help them deal with students’ emotions. The courses stem from the coroner's inquest on suicide.

Courses focus on grief and dealing with students' emotions

Nunavut's education department is developing two training courses for school counsellors to help them deal with students' emotions.

One course is aimed at supporting children who are grieving; the other will focus on helping students who are feeling lost with their thoughts and feelings.

"The course on children's grief explains the usual process of grief and how it is different for children and youth," said Education Minister Paul Quassa in the legislature yesterday.

"It will help the counsellors understand those losses for children and youth that may cause special problems. The course will help them develop and practice skills needed to support children and youth who are grieving."

"The course on children's thoughts, feelings and behaviour explains how feelings and thoughts lead to ways of behaving in children and youth," he said.

'The course on children's thoughts, feelings and behaviour explains how feelings and thoughts lead to ways of behaving in children and youth,' said Paul Quassa, minister of education.

School counsellors will receive the training in February 2016 at regional conferences in Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit.

Quassa said his department is also developing a handbook for school counsellors to give them "more guidance and direction" to help students' mental health.

"Within in our schools, it's very important to ensure that our children and youth are well-informed, are well-educated and this is the whole purpose of this handbook that we will be making."

Training stems from coroner's inquest

Quassa said the new training stems from the coroner's inquest on suicide.

"There were a lot of recommendations made at the suicide inquest and certainly in our department, we want to ensure that we're following on a lot of those recommendations."

The education department is part of the special cabinet committee on quality of life, which is reviewing the long list of recommendations from the inquest and seeing which can be implemented.

David Joanasie, the MLA for South Baffin, is happy the government is already moving ahead on the recommendations, and people are opening up about suicide.

"Bottling up our emotions doesn't help," Joanasie said. "And we need to find different people in the community, your friends, could be a school counsellor, a teacher, someone you can talk to and help deal with your challenges, your emotions."

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