The Surrey school district is receiving a little more than $21,000 for mental health programs.
The province is investing $2 million B.C.-wide in school-based student mental health programs that “will help ensure kids can access support when they need it and that they feel safe and connected at school.”
The 60 school districts throughout the province will each receive a portion of the funds, with the Surrey school district receiving $21,833, according to the Ministry of Education.
Surrey Board of Education trustee Terry Allen said the funding will be used to offset the district’s current program costs.
However, Allen said, “it is well below what we should have received,” adding that $50,000 would have made a “greater difference.”
The funding is allocated as a school capacity-building grant “to support new and enhance existing school-based mental health programs focused on prevention, wellness promotion and early intervention.”
“We are supporting schools to create better access to mental health supports for students,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.
“We are ensuring no matter where students live in B.C., they have access to effective and community-based preventative programming that will set them on positive paths to mental health and wellness.”
Each school district, according to the province, determines how the grants are spent based on the district’s individual needs.
“School districts are asked to focus on initiatives related to mental health literacy, programs and supports that recognize and respond to the effects of all types of trauma, social and emotional learning, and the prevention of problematic substance use,” the release reads.
The funding is part of $8.87 million being invested over the next three years “to better support student mental health in B.C. schools,” according to the ministry.
This $2 million is the second round of student mental health-focused grants issued to districts. The previous $2-million grant was announced at the 2019 School Community Mental Health Conference.
“Every young person deserves the best possible start in life,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“That’s why these grants are so important. They will allow school districts to make sure more students, teachers and caregivers have the tools they need to support physical, mental, emotional and social well-being during this critical time in a student’s life.”