More Students to Benefit from Mental Health Capacity Building in Saskatchewan Schools

Logan D Suza

A program that promotes positive mental health in students is expanding. Five schools will be added to the Mental Health Capacity Building initiative this fall, following a successful pilot project.

The provincial government has invested an additional $800,000 in 2022-23 for Mental Health Capacity Building, bringing yearly funding to $2 million.

This expansion brings the number of schools taking part in the Mental Health Capacity Building initiative to 10. The initiative promotes positive mental health in children, youth, families and people in the community who interact with children by focusing on prevention and mental health promotion, early identification and intervention. It also helps young people better manage their feelings and increase awareness of where they can find help.

“We are very pleased with the success of the pilot and want to provide further support by expanding the program to five more schools across the province,” Seniors, and Rural and Remote Minister Everett Hindley said. “We have heard how impactful this program has been on the mental health of children and youth, and we want to see this grow across Saskatchewan.”

The five schools selected for the program’s expansion are: Churchill Community High School in La Ronge, Prince Albert Collegiate Institute in Prince Albert, St. John Community School in Prince Albert, Weyburn Comprehensive High School in Weyburn, and Dr. Brass School in Yorkton.

They join the five schools that were pilot sites for the initiative: Dr. Martin LeBoldus Catholic High School in Regina; Hector Thiboutot School in Sandy Bay; North Battleford Comprehensive High School and 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.

“We are pleased to expand this successful initiative into additional Saskatchewan schools, reaching more students in our province,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Providing additional mental health support in our schools is essential to provide a positive learning environment for our youth.”

“We are fully supportive of this Mental Health Capacity Building initiative and are pleased that the ministries of Health and Education can support this program which is being led by the Saskatchewan Health Authority,” Saskatchewan Rivers Board Chair Barry Hollick said. “The program guidelines and its inclusion of professional staff will provide our students and school communities the opportunity to benefit from this valuable program.”

The Mental Health Capacity Building initiative addresses recommendations outlined in Saskatchewan’s Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan. This school-based prevention and promotion program was recommended by the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth, and helps build resilience in youth, families and communities.

The Mental Health Capacity Building program is led by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) with support from the Ministries of Health and Education. School divisions receive funding from the SHA to hire Mental Health Capacity Building staff, including a school coordinator and wellness promoter, to work in the schools. Staff members are responsible for delivering mental health promotion and prevention programming; building capacity in others who work with children, youth and families; and supporting students through connection to community resources and supports.

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