Students in the Hanover School Division will soon have access to better mental health and addiction resources.
Minister of Education Kelvin Goertzen announced Monday that 4.4 million dollars from the provincial coffers will be put towards additional supports in three Manitoba school divisions. The sum will be split between Hanover, Portage La Prairie, and Brandon and spread out over a three-year pilot project.
The first step of this project, according to Goertzen, is instating three full-time roles in each respective division: a psychiatric nurse, an Addictions Foundation Manitoba counsellor, and a health resources coordinator.
“We’ve been hearing across the province that there are more concerns when it comes to mental health and addictions and that is true in Hanover as well,” comments the minister, “as much as we might want to think that we are immune to this we are not.”
Goertzen says there is no shame in acknowledging these challenges as long as it stimulates action. And indeed, a challenge it is.
As Superintendent Randy Dueck explains, the rise of mental health problems among his students has not been gradual but disproportional in recent years.
“For whatever reason, and I think there are a lot of complex variables, the mental health needs of kids in our communities are increasing and they are increasing significantly.”
Considering this spike, Dueck says news of the funding was welcomed. He believes that having three professionally trained experts added to their team will only mean good things for the division. He hopes and expects the provincial funding will go a long way in helping students with moderate mental health concerns. The most severe cases, he says, will still be directed to specialized clinicians.