To kick-off Mental Health Week, we are excited to announce additional mental health resources to support educators and students. With the support of Alberta Health Services, the CBE has hired a mental health advisor who will organize and provide ongoing “Go-to” Educator training for CBE teachers at all CBE schools. They will also provide curriculum guide training to junior high “go to” educators. This training will focus on improving student knowledge on mental health issues, increasing awareness of mental illness, decreasing stigma, and providing the language to discuss their own and others mental health.
The CBE has been actively promoting The “Go-to” Educator Training since (2013). The program, developed by Dr. Stan Kutcher, Sun Life Chair in Adolescent Mental Health, equips staff in schools with information to help identify students that may be struggling with mental health problems. The staff member is a person who students naturally “go-to” when they need to talk about their problems. Through this training staff members are able to facilitate referrals to appropriate health and mental health resources within the school or community.
During the 2017-18 school year, the CBE has initiated the Trauma-Informed Practice Learning Collaborative to help high schools more effectively meet the needs of students impacted by trauma. Research shows that childhood trauma can affect brain development, social and emotional learning and executive skills development. It is imperative that school staff understand the importance of creating safe environments and helping students to build resilience skills. Staff should also consider developmental skills when addressing academic programming or responding to discipline incidents. The Learning Collaborative allows high school leaders to share their challenges, innovative ideas and experiences in working with students that have a broad spectrum of mental health issues. Throughout the year, the members of the collaborative have added to their collective knowledge and understanding of trauma, mental health and toxic stress.
The CBE wants all students to be successful in their learning, and we recognize that positive mental health enables students to fully participate in their learning. When teachers identify students who appear to be struggling with mental health and well-being, we work with community partners to refer and suggest resources for students and their families. Supporting student mental health and well-being takes a village: students, families, Alberta Health Services, community supports and school staff all play a role. Visit our Roles in Supporting Student Mental Health webpage to find out how you can help.