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RVS’ Stepping Stones to Mental Health receives funding extension

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 12:23 pm

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Stepping Stones for Mental Health, a mental health capacity building project that is part of Rocky View Schools (RVS) overall integrated mental health delivery system, has been granted a three-year extension by Alberta Health Services (AHS).

As reported in the Jan. 21, edition of Rocky View Weekly, funding for the program was set to come to an end in June.

“The project has been extended for three years,” said RVS Lead Psychologist Chris Pawluk, “but the funding is just year-by-year.”

However, he said he suspects the year-by-year funding will not have a major impact on the program and will require RVS to apply for funding on a yearly basis. He added he thinks the yearly application project will result in the same level of funding the program is receiving now.

“It’s great we can keep providing that mental health capacity building we’ve been doing,” he said.

Stepping Stones provides students with one-on-one success coaches (currently working out of Bert Church High School, George McDougall High School and Chestermere High School), mental health education and referrals to various mental health resources.

“We want to now just expand as much as we can to provide mental health capacity building across the whole division,” Pawluk said.

He said though the success coaches are currently only at three schools they provide services to a number of other schools in the division by referring services and Pawluk said he hopes there will be face-to-face interaction at all the 10 high school in the division. He added they are also working toward increasing community activities such as the speaker the program brought to Springbank to do a presentation on eating disorders.

“Everybody has mental health and we want to be able to give people skills so that they are better able to address mental health issues,” he said.

He likened the program to washing your hands to prevent the spread of physical illness. Just like that physical health recommendation, Stepping Stones wants students to be able to identify their own stressors and manage them in effective ways before they become a bigger issue.

“Our mental health fluctuates from day to day (and we want to show) here are some ways to manage that,” he said.

Stepping Stones is one of 37 provincial mental health capacity building projects and is lead by AHS in partnership with Alberta Education.

The program is in its sixth year at RVS and is funded through AHS grants.

“This is one piece of all the (mental health capacity building) stuff we do at RVS,” Pawluk said

For more information, visit rockyview.ab.ca and search for Stepping Stones.


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