WINNIPEG - The provincial government says it’s injecting $1 million of additional funding for student and school staff mental health supports to supplement the $2.5 million in funding announced last year to support students’ mental health during COVID-19.
Acknowledging the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on the mental health and wellness of Manitobans of all ages, Mental Health, Wellness, and Recovery Minister Audrey Gordon says the education community will face unique situations going into the new school year. Gordon says the additional funding will help students and educators in several ways.
- an additional $380,000 will go to the Canadian Mental Health Association to support educators, including through a peer wellness coaching program;
- an additional $100,000 will go toward further expanding Sources of Strength peer programming;
- $40,000 will go toward SafeTalk training on suicide prevention and resources;
- $80,000 will go toward professional development to help people address the long-term impacts of stress on those around them; and
- $150,000 will fund projects that support well-being by involving elders and knowledge keepers in schools.
Canadian Mental Health Association of Manitoba CEO Marion Cooper says supporting school staff is an important part of ensuring student wellness. The CMHA plans to collaborate with schools, school divisions, and stakeholders to develop mental health and well-being resources for staff in Manitoba’s education system.
The province says mental health is one of its key priorities for the new school year, in addition to health and safety measures like ventilation system upgrades and personal protective equipment. The province has announced $58 million toward a safe reopening of schools, on top of the $185 million allocated last year.
Gordon says $50 million has been spent on 34 mental health and addictions initiatives since October 2019.