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Holy Family Catholic School Division receives $374K grant for mental health pilot project

St. Stephens’s School in Valleyview students will be getting some additional mental health support as the school will be home to the Holy Family Catholic Regional School Division mental health and wellness project.

The pilot project is the result of the school board’s successful grant application to the province. Holy Family Catholic Regional Division Superintendent Betty Turpin says in the fall the Alberta Ministry of Education had put out a call to school boards to apply for a mental health support enhancement grant. Turpin explains the application they put forward was for a mental health capacity project at the K to 9 school in Valleyview.

“Our project is to expand our student capacity to understand and advocate and manage their mental health,” Turpin says. “We want to support the families so that they can assist their as well their children in detecting and managing any mental health difficulties they may see in their child.”

She adds the project will also help staff members understand the mental health needs of students.

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The $374,000 grant will be used to hire two full-time wellness workers for two years. These workers will be based out of the school and will directly be part of the students day to day lives. The head of the school division explains when you add someone to the school’s fabric above and beyond a teacher or educational assistant it overall strengthens the community.

“They build relationships, they build trust, they advocate for the students, and I think when you put those types of things in schools, where they are not coming just once a week or a month, they are there daily and they are a familiar face it just enhances the school.”

The program will also work with a local Psychiatrist Dr. James Dunn and his practice, to help those in the school community who may need more specific help or attention.



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