The government of Alberta is increasing financing to reduce learning gaps while also doubling its prior commitment to student mental health pilot programs.

The ability to manage one's emotions well is essential for academic success. It is crucial to promote student mental health as a component of Alberta's recovery-focused system of mental health and addiction care. Alberta Education is increasing the previously announced amount to $40 million in funding for mental health pilot programs.

“We are aware that as students continue to recover from learning disruptions, additional mental health supports are needed to ensure each individual is able to move forward and reach their fullest potential within the school system. This investment ensures that students across Alberta have adequate access to mental health resources and supports, which will result in a better chance of participating in meaningful learning and relationship building. Additionally, targeted programming for early elementary learners will support the objective of maintaining on-track development, which may have been previously lost due to interferences in school," stated Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education.

Nearly 60 mental health pilot initiatives will be supported by this investment over the following two years, enhancing the wellbeing of K–12 students. Alberta's government is also giving school administrators $10 million this year to support struggling students in getting back on track following the pandemic since learning success affects students' mental health.

Examples of the kinds of activities being piloted in these programs include:

  • Having a registered psychiatric nurse, a teacher with additional training in supporting mental health and behaviour, and a social worker readily available to classrooms;

  • Appointing a mental health navigator to become a point person for families seeking mental health information, supports or resources.

  • Giving students time and space to regulate, with the help of certified staff, when they are having difficulty managing their feelings. 

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