An empty classroom. (Wokandapix, pixabay.com)
Students and staff throughout the province will be heading back to school with more mental health support resources.
B.C is boosting funds immediately for school-based wellness programs and supports by $2 million, topping up the $8.8-million investment over three years that was announced last September.
This means that for the 2020-21 school year, school districts and independent school authorities will receive a total of $3.75 million to promote mental wellness and provide additional supports for students, families and educators as they work together to get through this challenging time.
“Now more than ever, we must actively support student mental health and wellness,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.
“This added investment will help us deliver immediate resources to schools, students and families so that our students can get the help they need to reach their full potential, now and into their bright futures.”
Individual school districts throughout the province will determine how funds are used based on their individual needs and may include enhanced staff training, student workshops, family information nights or developing new resource materials for educators and families.
Mental health programs will also be expanded this year to include staff well-being, in addition to a focus on trauma-informed practices that build capacity for good mental health now and for years to come.
Free and low-cost counselling services are also available online, by video and phone through programs such as BounceBack, Living Life to the Full, Here2Talk, Foundry’s virtual services and more, for anyone who needs someone to talk to.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the province has invested $6 million to expand existing mental health programs and launch new services in response to the extraordinary situation.