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Expanding mental health supports in schools

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Minister Hoffman is joined by MLA Carson, staff and students at Jasper Place High School and the Chair of the Edmonton Public School Board to announce funding for additional mental health programs in Alberta's schools.

Minister Hoffman is joined by MLA Carson, staff and students at Jasper Place High School and the Chair of the Edmonton Public School Board to announce funding for additional mental health programs in Alberta's schools.

Thousands more students will receive counselling and emotional supports with new programs to reach youth in schools across the province.

A new $5-million provincial grant will be used to hire staff and build new school-based community mental health programs. More than 100,000 students at schools across Alberta will receive these school-based mental health resources.

“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. 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.”

Sarah HoffmanMinister of Health

“Our government is working to make life better for children and young Albertans struggling with mental health issues. 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.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

New mental health staff will be hired to work with schools to deliver supports for children and youth struggling with a range of conditions, including anxiety, depression, self-esteem and relationships. They will also act as crucial links to additional mental health resources in the health-care system.

“Schools and our partners play an important role in nurturing students’ positive mental health and well-being. Mental health concerns impact a student’s ability to learn and succeed in school. We’ve seen the positive impact funding can have and are grateful to the province for providing additional funding for mental health supports for students across Alberta.”

Michelle Draper, chair, Edmonton Public School Board

“After my mom passed away during the summer before high school, I was connected with a success coach through my school’s mental health progam. My success coach helped get me through a very difficult time and learn ways to cope with my anxiety. Knowing she was just a phone call or text away made all the difference to my success in school and after graduation.”

Claire Allen, Jasper Place High School graduate

“The mental health of children, youth and their families affects us all. The Mental Health Capacity Building initiative is based on research and best practices that demonstrate that mental and emotional well-being can be developed, nurtured and supported through promotion and prevention efforts. This funding allows us to expand and improve the mental health services young Albertans need.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, president & CEO, Alberta Health Services

Increasing mental health supports for children and families was identified as a priority in the Valuing Mental Health review. The application process for schools wishing to develop or expand mental health programming will get underway this summer.

Quick facts

  • The Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools Initiative uses schools as community hubs to deliver mental health services and programs and to provide information and early intervention and treatment services.
  • The program helps reduce stigma and increase child and youth resiliency so they are better able to manage stress and any challenges they may experience that could increase their risk for future substance use and mental health issues.
  • The initiative currently supports 37 school-based mental health programs, used by approximately 65,000 K-12 students. The additional investment allows for the development of up to 15 new programs, expanding the reach to more than 100,000 students across the province.