We recognize that mental health and wellness have become growing issues for students, staff and families across our community. Through discussions within the District, as well as engagement with our community, Red Deer Public Schools has developed and is implementing its VALUING MENTAL HEALTH initiative.
By enhancing the capacity of staff across the District, we are better able to meet the needs across our schools and District.
Our Staff Learning Day in February 2018 helped launch this initiative with a powerful presentation by Sheldon Kennedy. We learned more about the Respect In School program. Elementary staff were in-serviced on targeted mental health lessons that we are piloting this year.
Our plan focuses on the needs of students, staff and families in four key areas:
- Early Intervention
- Treatment and Follow up
The District has developed Mental Health and Wellness lessons covering a wide range of issues for students in Kindergarten to Grade 5. This year will see the development and piloting of lessons for Grades 6 to 8 and the program will expand to our high schools as well.
Targeted training will be provided to staff across the District through the Neufeld Institute and the following programs:
- Making Sense of Aggression - targeting schools serving Kindergarten to Grade 8
- Making Sense of Anxiety - targeting schools serving Grades 9 to 12.
Staff will also complete on-line training using the Respect In School program.
Red Deer Public Schools has also developed an innovative partnership with Alberta Health Services which will enhance Mental Health Therapists available to support students in our schools. This will complement the important work our School Counsellors and Community Liaison Workers are providing as well.
VALUING MENTAL HEALTH will be an important focus for Red Deer Public in 2018/19. Enhancing the capacity of all staff in this area will allow us to best respond to these important needs.