B.C. students benefit from $2 million mental health investment

Mental health grant for SD23

British Columbia has made another $2 million investment to support the promotion of positive mental health in schools, in the hopes it will help children feel safer and more connected.

It’s the second round of grants distributed to schools for mental health-focused capacity building, as part of a wider $8.87 million investment being made by the province.

School District 23 (Central Okanagan) is among the 60 school districts receiving a portion of the funds to establish new, and enhance existing, programs focused on prevention, wellness promotion and early intervention. 

School districts will individually determine how they spend the grant based on their specific needs, but are asked to focus on initiatives related to mental health literacy, managing trauma, social and emotional learning and prevention of problematic substance use.

"We are supporting schools to create better access to mental health supports for students," said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. "We are ensuring no matter where students live in B.C., they have access to effective and community-based preventative programming that will set them on positive paths to mental health and wellness.”

Each school district is required to submit an action plan report detailing what they spent the grant money on and the outcomes by Jan. 20 next year. 

From the last round of mental health-focused capacity building grants issued to school districts, which also saw $2 million distributed throughout the province, SD 23 used its share of the funds to offer training for 20 teachers in Stan Kutcher’s Mental Health Literacy curriculum implementation, and also training for parents.

B.C. School Superintendents Association president Chris van Der Mark says he is very grateful for the funding.

"Positive mental health is foundational for student success and is vital to the creation of the educated citizen to contribute to society. Many initiatives are already underway in all of our school districts, and this funding will allow us to continue to collaborate with our partners and rights holders to expand the scope and impact for all members of the school community.” 

In addition to supporting school districts and individual schools, the provincial funding will also support professional development and the 2020 School Community Mental Health Conference. 

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