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VICTORIA, B.C. – The Government of B.C. has made a one-time investment to expand mental health programs and services within schools.

The funding of $5 million builds on the $15.9 million investment in mental health programs and services over four years.

“While we know families and students are looking forward to being back at school, we recognize there is some anxiety about what it will look like. We need to have programs and services for students and staff,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education.

“We know British Columbians have faced new and unique challenges over the course of the pandemic. These new funds will help school districts to support student and staff mental health in ways that are tailored to their communities.”

Schools are able to use the one-time, pandemic-related funding for various programs and supports that will help build resilience and emotional, physical, and mental well-being for students and staff.

In May, the Ministry of Education created a Mental Health School Start-up Working Group, which included the BC Centre of Disease Control, BC Teachers Federation, First Nations Education Steering Committee, Doctors of BC, and WorkSafeBC.  The groups worked together to identify what the pandemic impacts were and what the best practices were to address them in schools.  This lead to creating the Key Principles and Strategies for K-12 Mental health Promotions in Schools.

Earlier this week, the Province launched Wellbeing, a website focused on supporting and showcasing resources for mental health and well-being.

“The pandemic has been so hard on the mental health of B.C. students and educational staff,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“As we prepare for the beginning of the school year, we are expanding mental health supports so that B.C. schools have the resources they need to foster well-being. We are directing funding to local programs, so schools and districts can better provide the supports students and their educators need most.”

 

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