MENTAL HEALTH CAPACITY BUILDING IN SCHOOLS INITIATIVE

In Alberta

QUICK FACTS

  • The MHCB initiative serves children and youth under age 19, and their families.

  • The MHCB initiative was initially funded in 2006, beginning with 5 pilot sites around the province.

  • There are currently 37 operational programs in 133 communities and 371 schools throughout Alberta. MHCB reached 1, 211, 755 students in 2018-2019

  • In 2018, Alberta Health Services announced additional funding which allowed for the development of expansion projects within the province

Black and White Star in Circle

Click here to see where in Alberta MHCB has programs.

PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATION AND HEALTH

The MHCB initiative is aligned with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services provincial strategies which emphasize promotion and prevention along with early identification and intervention. The diversity of approaches used by MHCB is based on research and best practice literature, and is reflective of the needs and resources of individual communities. This includes the engagement of traditionally under-served populations.

WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE

MHCB team members work within school settings to:

  • Deliver mental health promotion and prevention programming including presentations to students, staff, parents and/or other community members that increase wellbeing, resilience, protective factors, promote early identification of issues and address risk factors;

  • Build capacity in others, who work with children, youth and families, to deliver wellness presentations and programming;

  • Organize and facilitate school and community wide Mental Health events and awareness campaigns;

  • Facilitate access to students for other community partners (eg. school police liaison officers);

  • Connect students to community mental health supports and services;

  • Collaborate with service providers in the community to maximize service efficiencies and to advocate for unmet mental health needs for children and families;

  • Share and exchange knowledge and resources between MHCB Programs through the MHCB Community of Practices established across the province.

MENTAL HEALTH CAPACITY BUILDING IN LETHBRIDGE

The mental health capacity program in Lethbridge School Division works with school based wellness teams to develop and supports positive mental health and healthy relationships across 23 schools and the community as a whole. 

"Positive mental health is the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equality, social justice, interconnections, and personal dignity" (Government of Canada, 2014). Social and emotional learning supports a positive mental health and healthy relationships. 

The Mental Health Capacity Building Team in Lethbridge School Division is comprised of 1 full time program manger and 4 mental health capacity building wellness coaches.

OBJECTIVES OF MENTAL HEALTH CAPACITY BUILDING

To promote positive mental health in children, youth, families and communities by raising awareness, increasing knowledge, building personal skills (such as self-care and self-regulation techniques), developing interpersonal skills and fostering positive community norms (such as support networks, physical and psychological safety).
To intervene early by facilitating access to early intervention and treatment services for children, youth, parents and/or caregivers who are at greatest risk of (or are currently experiencing) addiction and mental health issues. (This includes the use of screening as indicated by AHS).
Improve knowledge of and access to effective and innovative services across the mental health continuum through community collaborative networks with schools, health supports, and community agencies to coordinate and streamline existing services (while identifying and advocating for unmet needs)..