Province announces mental health funding

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The provincial government announced May 7 it would provide $5 million in additional funding to support mental health resources in Alberta’s schools.

“We’ve heard from concerned parents and educators of a growing need for counselling and other mental health programming. Making sure kids receive these supports is key to setting them up for future success,” said Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, during a press conference May 7 in Edmonton. “Our government has made mental health a priority, and I’m proud we’re acting on that commitment and making life better for Alberta families.”

The Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools Initiative delivers mental health services and programs and also provides information and early intervention and treatment services in schools. Approximately 65,000 kindergarten to Grade 12 students currently receive support from 37 existing school-based programs. The newly-announced funding will allow for 15 additional programs and lead to more than 100,000 students benefiting from the initiative, according to Hoffman.

“Our government is working to make life better for children and young Albertans struggling with mental health issues,” said David Eggen, Minister of Education.

“I’m so pleased to see this new funding going to such an important cause that will truly make a difference for students across this province.”

According to Hoffman, the funding will allow schools to hire additional staff to deliver programs for students struggling with issues including anxiety, depression and healthy relationships.

Schools will be required to apply for the additional funding. The application process is in development and will become available to schools in the summer.

Currently, a total of six Rocky View Schools (RVS) schools provide students with the Stepping Stones to Mental Health program through funding received from this initiative. The program offers students one-on-one access to success coaches, mental health education and referrals to various mental health resources.

“I think it’s great that government is continuing to invest money for mental health in schools across Alberta,” said RVS Superintendent of Schools Greg Luterbach.

“RVS is lucky to have had a project already with our Stepping Stones to Mental Health, so it’s great that government will continue to invest – not only in Rocky View, but in other schools and around the province. Supporting mental health is certainly a need we see and have locally.”

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