Northland School Division (NSD) is thrilled to have been awarded a mental health grant from Alberta Education. The funding is part of a grant program that will support 60 mental health pilots across Alberta.
With the funding in place, NSD will begin recruiting two new mental health therapists and implementing a whole-school approach to becoming more trauma-informed. To facilitate this trauma-informed approach, current mental health staff will be trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) by a registered psychologist. EMDR enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are a result of traumatic events. Mental health staff will utilize this knowledge to educate staff on trauma. Staff will have a better understanding of how to be supportive of trauma and the various impacts it has on NSD students and their families.
“If we want students to achieve academic success, we need to ensure they are healthy,” says Cathy Wanyandie, Board Chair. “Inter-generational trauma, the after-effects of wildfires/flooding, and the impacts of COVID-19 are just some of the challenges students and families face. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank Alberta Education for supporting NSD and making mental health a priority.”
“Northland supports trauma-informed approaches with the understanding of healing together through the strengths of holistic cultural practices and resiliency for community wellness,” says Dr. Nancy Spencer-Poitras, Superintendent of Schools/CEO. “As part of advancing the Truth and Reconciliation action, Northland School Division is focused on supporting students, their families, and the communities we serve. The additional mental health staff and utilizing an evidence-based approach to support trauma will make a difference in supporting mental health with students and the communities we serve.”
Funding for mental health pilots will be in place until December 2024.
Editor’s note: Details on High Prairie School Division and Living Waters School Division mental health funding has been reported earlier.