The B.C. government has announced funding of $2 million for school-based wellness programs and supports the week before K-12 students are set to return to school.
“The excitement that normally comes with back to school may feel more uncertain this year, as many families worry about COVID-19 and keeping everyone safe,” Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, said.
“These feelings are understandable. Nobody should have to face their worries alone, which is why we are investing in more mental health supports to help students, parents and educators navigate a safe return to school.”
The $2 million is on top of 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 for mental wellness and providing additional supports for students, families and educators during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now more than ever, we must actively support student mental health and wellness,” Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, said.
“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.”
School districts will determine how funds are used based on their individual needs to help students adjust to this year’s challenges. Funds may be used to enhance staff training, student workshops, family information nights or to develop 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.
Students are set to return to the class on Sept. 10. There are different back-to-school plans depending on the district.
More mental health information:
Free and low-cost mental health supports during COVID-19:
Here2Talk connects students with mental health support when they need it:
Find a Child and Youth Mental Health walk-in intake clinic nearby:
Erase services and resources for students, parents and teachers: www.erase.gov.bc.ca
A Pathway to Hope: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/