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Kamloops-Thompson school district gets funding for mental-health education

Barriere Star Journal - 12/31/2019

School District 73 will receive $26,000 from the provincial government to enhance its mental-health education.

In November, the government announced $2-million funding provincewide for school-based student mental-health services, giving school districts until Jan. 20, 2020, to submit action plans on how they plan to spend their share.

Vessy Mochikas, the school district's incoming director of instruction, told KTW the plan is still being developed, but noted the grant will be used to enhance three areas: social-emotional learning, trauma-informed practice and mental-health literacy.

Mochikas said a portion of those funds will be used to train additional teachers and counsellors in the area of mental-health literacy.

Some funds will also be put toward SD73's Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators (EASE) program, buying additional books teachers can use in their classrooms.

"The professional development has been well received and we've developed kits for educators, but they are popular, so we'll add resources," Mochikas said.

Other dollars will go toward Stop Wondering, Start Knowing — a curriculum SD73 is using in its intermediate grades.

Mochikas said some of that money will go toward paying substitute teachers so others can engage in professional development.

Mochikas said having the additional funds for mental health is important as the school district strives to build lifelong skills that promote positive well-being in their students.

"We're trying to really educate students, educators and then support our parents and caregivers," Mochikas said.

Each of the province's 60 school districts will receive a portion of the funds to support new and enhance existing school-based mental-health programs focused on prevention, wellness promotion and early intervention.