White Rock officer supports youth mental health

White Rock, B.C., Lower Mainland District

2024-01-24 09:02 PST

Photo: Left to right Corey Hirshe, Cst. Chantal Sears, and Mme. Yalpani talking to students

Constable Chantal Sears, the White Rock RCMP’s Community Response Constable, has dedicated her time to supporting the youth in her community. She was inspired to take on a project to help support youth mental health after co-teaching mental health classes at École Peace Arch throughout the school year, aimed at 6th and 7th graders.

Throughout my policing career, I have seen mental health-related calls increase substantially. I hope that by engaging students with this topic, they will have the skills and know the resources available to seek help if they (or a friend or loved one) are struggling with anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue, said Cst. Sears.

Sears wanted to build stronger relationships with the youth in the community so she approached the local schools about doing youth engagement training. Mme. Yalpani at École Peace Arch immediately invited her into her class to co-teach the mental health curriculum.
The growth I have seen from the students has been amazing. My relationship with them has developed and they know that I can be a support if they are or someone they know is struggling, said Cst. Sears.

Cst. Sears also brought in guest speakers from the Vancouver Giants and the Vancouver Canucks Alumni to discuss mental health issues.

The Giants introduced their ‘Be a Giant’ program, with some players and management working with the class in November. The players even continued their relationship with the youth, said Cst. Sears.

This program was just the beginning for the youth, as Cst. Sears was able to have Corey Hirsch, a Vancouver Canucks Alumni, attend the school and talk with the students on January 16th.

The students were so excited to meet Corey, who really inspired and encouraged kids to talk openly about mental health issues, said Cst. Sears.

Photo: Corey Hirsch signing autographs

Hirsch spoke to the youth about his struggles with his own mental health as a professional athlete. He has been a leader in advocating for mental health supports and removing the stigma from having a mental disorder. He told students about his own diagnosis of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and how he has learned to live with it and prosper.

Hirsch urged the students to be kind to themselves, stating that life is about helping others and that social media should only be used for good.

The students really connected with Hirsch and were inspired by his words. He inspired me, too, and my desire to keep helping students, said Cst. Sears.

Matteo Mclaughlin in grade 7, said, Corey was really interactive and had a lot of helpful information. He was really kind and inclusive to everyone. He was willing to talk about his hard personal stuff.

Another student, Harrison Yanicki, grade 6 said, It was really cool and a good experience (having a presentation from Corey Hirsch). I learned that you should get help if you are struggling with mental health. I want to thank him for coming and presenting to us. It was a once in a lifetime super cool experience.

Photo: Student’s Bell Let’s Talk bubbles and artwork

Cst. Sears was so proud of the strides she has seen from the students throughout the classes. She says that through our mental health conversations and presentations, I know these students will do better in their classroom, at school and our community. I will be continuing my work with youth to keep helping the next generation be open about mental health struggles.

Released by:

Cpl. Brett Urano
Division Media Relations Officer
BC RCMP Communication Services
14200 Green Timbers Way, Surrey, BC V3T 6P3 - Mailstop #1608
Office: 778-290-4006
Cell: 250-402-3746

Email: brett.urano@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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