Livingstone Range School Division
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Mental Health Grant for Pilot Program

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Livingstone Range School Division has been awarded an Alberta Education Mental Health in Schools grant of $630,900. Working along with Certified Therapist Kent Hollingsworth,  Registered Psychologist Dr. Kendra Massie, Holy Spirit School Division, and Palliser School Division, the partnership and grant funding will provide a new student mental health pilot program over the next two years.

“As a Board of Trustees, we are thrilled with this grant that will directly benefit students,” says Lacey Poytress, Board of Trustees Chair. “For many years our Board has tirelessly advocated for increased mental health funding for schools, particularly for rural areas where the need is so great. We are confident that the grant dollars and our partnerships will have a great positive impact on the lives of our students.” 

The grant comes from a Mental Health in Schools Pilot Program designed to provide school jurisdictions with funding for new and innovative approaches to addressing many of the mental health needs of Alberta students. In rural southern Alberta, these needs are intensified by a lack of appropriate community mental health resources. The LRSD partnership grant application proposed a pilot program that addresses this issue by making access to mental health services available in our schools and communities.

With a goal to enhance the mental health, well-being, resiliency, and thus learning and achievement of students with notable and concerning mental health and addiction needs, our partnership of school divisions and mental health professionals will:

  1. Provide research-informed professional development and consultation by our therapist and registered psychologist to the three school divisions’ staff.
  2. Provide clinical service by our therapist and registered psychologist for students, parents, and families in ways that reflect student and family needs and preferences such as virtual, in-home, in-school, and in-community sessions.
  3. Hire and supervise two sufficiently trained mental health therapists to provide necessary specialized clinical services such as diagnostic assessment and therapy for students who have notable mental health and/or addiction needs and have been unable to access needed community-based services.

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid, who has been an advocate alongside the LRSD Board of Trustees for rural students, is pleased with the mental health grant. 

“Ensuring that there are adequate supports in place for our students today is a crucial factor in creating a strong Alberta of tomorrow,” says Mr. Reid. “This is part of the reason I am so glad our government is introducing the funding for this mental health pilot project. Access to mental health supports for rural students has always been a challenge. Our students have faced additional challenges over the past couple of years and I understand how much this can impact their ability to learn in addition to their overall well-being. I hope that this pilot project is able to create an environment where students feel supported and are able to reach their highest potential”.

Richard Feller, LRSD Associate Superintendent of Human and Learning Services sees the impact this provincial funding will have, “We’re extremely appreciative of the resources provided to us to support the multiple challenges our students face on a daily basis,” says Richard. “Our ability to influence change for the good has dramatically increased with this opportunity.”

This pilot program will be in effect until December 2024. Students and families can talk with their school Family School Liaison Counsellor for more information and/or referrals.

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