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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

WHERE ARE THE financial resources for providing direct assistance to students in need of support for depression, stress, and anxiety, along with other mental health issues?

On Wednesday Judy Darcy, the Minister responsible for Mental Health and Addictions, announced schools in British Columbia will now have access to enhanced wellness supports and programs with $8.87 million being invested over the next three years.

 “Students need a safe place to say, ‘I’m not ok’, whether they’re struggling with anxiety or depression or any mental health issue”, said Darcy.

This investment will help provide students, parents and educators with the tools they need to support mental well-being for students across BC for years to come.”

Funding will be used to provide individual grants to all 60 school districts, as well as independent schools, to help them better support mental health for all children and for those with substance-use challenges.

While I agree fully with the need for resources to help students with mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress, and depression, can our NDP government truly say this financial injection will indeed ... support mental well-being for students across BC for years to come.

According to a news story in the Vancouver Sun on August 26th, there are 1,578 public schools in the province, as well as 364 independent schools – that comes to just under two thousand schools -- 1,942.

BC’s Education Minister Rob Fleming indicated that, “We know there is a gap in student success for those who struggle with mental health challenges in BC”.

With this funding, we want to ensure all students – no matter where they live or the size of their school – are able to get the quality help they need, when they need it”, he continued.

Again, I fully agree with the need for the resources to provide supports for students with mental health issues, but how can this possibly be enough to really and truly do the job?

The funding announcement of $8.87 million dollars is for a three-year period – that means $2.956 million per year.

As noted by the Vancouver Sun, there are 1,942 public and private schools in the province – which means that if EACH SCHOOL received an equal portion of that funding, it would amount to just $1,500 per year.

That $1,500 per year, per school, is then to be used to ... focus on initiatives related to mental health literacy, programs and supports ... to ensure planning of all activities are culturally safe and meet the needs of Indigenous youth ... to support the professional development of educators ... and for engagement with school leadership organizations, partner organizations, families and students.

NOT ONLY THAT HOWEVER, according to Wednesday’s government media release, those funds will also be required to help support the 2020 School Community Mental Health Conference in Vancouver. 

This conference is to bring together approximately 500 representatives of public, independent and First Nations schools, police, health authorities, and child and youth mental health workers, who are focused on improving mental health and addictions services for all BC students. 

All of this in an expensive city where accommodations, meeting space, meals, travel requirements, and more will eat up tens of thousands of dollars.

Training ... conferences ... programs ... supports ... 

BUT WHERE ARE THE financial resources for providing direct assistance to the students in need of support for depression, stress, and anxiety, along with other mental health issues?
That is certainly where the money should be going, however there is no possible way that $1,500 per school can possibly do what Darcy and Fleming are indicating will happen – it just can’t be done.


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