A $ 325,000 Trilluim Grant will go to teaching elementary school kids about mental health
Thanks to a Trillium Foundation grant worth $ 325,000 over the next three years, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Grey Bruce Chapter, will be doing more work in elementary schools.
Spokesperson Jackie Ralph says until this grant money came along, they did their best to visit the elementary schools but it was just sporadic.
Ralph says at best, she was spending 45-minutes in a school during any given school year.
She says the Trillium money will allow them to hire additional personnel so that they could visit classes in elementary schools for 45 minutes every month during the school year.
Ralph says they will cover every class in a given school.
She says their goal is to talk to the students, in layman’s terms, about mental health issues in the hopes of erasing the stigma that comes with it.
Ralph says having a mental health checkup should be just as normal as going to the dentist.
She says if they can get students to buy into that concept, it will go a long towards dealing with mental health issues in our schools.
Ralph says they will expand on programs already in the schools so that more people are touched more often.
She says they talk to kids in Grades 1 to 5, using puppets to talk about children’s feelings; how to deal with anger and how to manage bullies.
Ralph says in the past, they’d go into the school and cover the subjects but would never have any follow-up.
The Trillium funding will allow counsellors to visit the same classrooms every month and expand on the topics being discussed.
According to studies, about 20 per cent or 1 in every 5 people will experience a mental health issue during their lifetime.
Canada has one of the highest suicide rates of children and youth under 21 in the world.
70 per cent of mental health problems begin during childhood and adolescence.
In Canada, only 1 in 5 children who need mental health services will receive them.