HPSD launches mental health pilot project

Richard Froese
South Peace News

High Prairie School Division has received a provincial grant to deal with mental health issues.
At its monthly meeting Dec. 20, the board learned HPSD received a grant from the provincial for a Mental Health in Schools pilot project, says an HPSD news release dated Dec. 21.
The grant is $88,510 per year for two years and allows HPSD to add a registered social worker with a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a major in trauma-informed practice, assistant Supt. Pam Heckbert says.
HPSD will partner with the Fort Vermilion School Division, which has a similar student-family context, to focus on trauma-informed practices as universal support in schools.
Heckbert explained the program to trustees.
“We will be providing regular training for teachers, support staff, service providers and administration through a workshop-provision style presentation,” she said.
“The grant will allow us to extend trauma-informed practices from classroom and school settings into the community.
“This will put tools into the hands of people to understand trauma and help others move to a state of better mental health to create and sustain healthier schools and great communities.”
HPSD is one of almost 60 mental health pilot projects in Alberta from now until December 2024.
Since the government announced the project in November 2022, original funding of $20 million was doubled to $40 million, the program website reports.
Projects will encourage student well-being through new and innovative approaches to providing supports and services like counselling, social and mental learning, student assessment, supports for families and parents and training for staff.
Students should be healthy so they can fully participate in school and community activities, the website states.
The Public Health Agency of Canada describes mental health as “the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face.
“It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.”
People who are mentally healthy:

  • Have a sense of contentment;
  • Can deal with stress and bounce back from adversity;
  • Have a sense of purpose and meaning;
  • Can build and maintain fulfilling relationships;
  • Are flexible and can adapt to change;
  • Balance work and play, rest and activity;
  • Have self-confidence and high self-esteem.

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