Stakeholders recommend implementation of intersectoral mental health strategy
Manitoba is investing more than $1 million dollars to provide school staff and students with the mental health supports that they need to support their return in-person education.
“The impacts of the pandemic are far reaching and continue to be a critical issue for schools, families and communities as students return to school this fall,” said Cliff Cullen, minister of education. “These supports are in addition to the $2.5 million dollars announced last year that was invested to support Manitoba students’ mental health during COVID-19.”
The new funding includes:
- an additional $380,000 to the Canadian Mental Health Association to provide supports to the education workforce, including service-navigation specialists, online resources in French and English, and a peer wellness coaching team;
- an additional $100,000 for Sources of Strength in to allow further expansion such as French translation of materials and provide peer-programming training for 50 more educators as well as expanding the number of secondary schools offering the program;
- $40,000 to provide SafeTalk training for 50 educators, who then train students age 15 and over, teachers and parents in suicide prevention and intervention, and also provide for a centralized SafeTalk registry for easy access and resource deployment;
- $80,000 to provide further professional development for educators and leaders that is trauma-informed and culturally relevant to address the effects of long-term trauma caused by the pandemic; and
- $150,000 for pilot projects to support and enhance well-being through the engagement of elders and knowledge keepers in schools.
“Supporting the well-being of the education workforce is an important part of creating and strengthening student and school wellness,” said Marion Cooper, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association for Manitoba. “Through this additional investment we will work in partnership with school and division leaders and stakeholders to co-design tailored mental health resources that will be available to enhance the resilience and well-being of the employees of the education system in Manitoba.”
Previously, Manitoba announced it is investing $428,000 to support counselling and expand mobile withdrawal management services at the Klinic Community Health Centre as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Also, the Commission on K-12 Education and the Better Education Starts Today (BEST) strategy recommended the implementation of an intersectoral mental health strategy, addressing the needs of educators and students. The new Manitoba Mental Health in Schools Strategy will be implemented in partnership with school divisions and stakeholders to support school-wide strategies including:
- talking about mental health;
- training for teachers and school staff;
- teaching supports for mental health;
- ensuring appropriate tools and supports are available for students; and
- supports for teachers and school staff.