Mental Health Capacity Building Pilots Launched in Saskatchewan Schools
Saskatchewan is taking steps to improve the mental health and well-being of students. Indian Head-Milestone MLA Don McMorris on behalf of Health Minister Jim Reiter was today joined by students, teachers and school division administration at Greenall High School in Balgonie to launch a pilot project for student mental health in five Saskatchewan schools.
Mental Health Capacity Building promotes positive mental health in children, youth, families and people in the community who interact with children. The initiative focuses on prevention and mental health promotion, early identification and intervention and works to help children and youth better manage their feelings and overall mental health and to increase awareness on where to find help.
Five schools in Saskatchewan have been selected as pilot sites for the initiative: Dr. Martin LeBoldus Catholic High School in Regina; Hector Thiboutot School in Sandy Bay; North Battleford Comprehensive High School; John Paul II Collegiate in North Battleford; and Greenall High School in Balgonie. These schools serve as resource hubs, giving students access to a range of mental health promotion and programming through collaboration between schools, communities and health care providers.
“Our goal with this pilot is to set students on a path to wellness by giving them access to the information and skills they need to better handle mental health and life issues,” McMorris said. “Government, families, schools and communities need to work together to ensure the health and mental well-being of our province’s children and youth. I am proud of our government’s support of this pilot and look forward to seeing the benefits for our young residents.”
The Mental Health Capacity Building pilot addresses recommendations outlined in the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan. This school-based prevention and promotion program was recommended by the Children’s Advocate and helps build resiliency in youth, families and communities.
Mental Health Capacity Building is being led by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) with support from the Ministries of Health and Education.
School divisions have received funding from the SHA to hire Mental Health Capacity Building staff, including a School Co-ordinator and Wellness Promoter, to work in the pilot schools. These staff will be responsible for the delivery of mental health promotion and prevention programming; building capacity in others who work with children, youth and families; and supporting students to connect with community resources and supports.
The Government of Saskatchewan has invested $1.2 million in 2018-19 for the Mental Health Capacity Building pilot sites with $600,000 of this funding coming from the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Funding Agreement.