Well-being teams coming to three more school families
Strengthening mental health services -
Hundreds more Prince Edward Island students will have access to health and well-being supports in the next school year.
Student well-being teams will be established in September to serve the Bluefield, Colonel Gray, and Morell-Souris families of schools along with the French first-language schools in these areas. Positive response to existing teams in the Montague and Westisle families of schools has the other families looking forward to having their own teams, Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Jordan Brown said.
“Westisle and Montague students now have more timely access to supports that help them succeed inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “Teachers in these schools really appreciate the assistance of dedicated specialized staff who are trained to identify and support student needs.”
Over the past year the well-being teams in Montague and Westisle have helped students with life stressors often associated with anxiety, emotional regulation, school engagement, social skills, student and parental stress reduction, and building empathy.
The 22 staff on the three new teams will include mental health clinicians, comprehensive school health nurses, school outreach workers, and an additional occupational therapist who will begin work in August. Some positions will require bilingual capacity and experience working with newcomer and Indigenous students.
The Bluefield team will be based out of Bluefield High School and team members will travel from school to school. The Colonel Gray team will be housed at St. Jean Elementary, and the Morell-Souris team will be located at Morell Regional High.
St. Jean Elementary Principal Tracy Ellsworth said the school is pleased to be able to house the Colonel Gray team.
“St. Jean is centrally located and close to all other schools in the Colonel Gray family,” she said. “We will be able to easily access the team and learn from their model of service, and we are hopeful the partnership will help our students and their families.”
Souris Regional Principal Sharon McIntosh said she hopes access to the team by the Souris Regional School – which is located in a small rural community -- will allow students and their families to more readily access mental health and well being supports.
“We are also hoping that the team members will enhance the work presently being done by our school based teams,” McIntosh said.
The five teams will be supported this year with funding of $3 million from three government departments.
“We are very happy to collaborate with our partners in health and justice to expand and enhance well-being supports for children and youth,” Minister Brown said. “We have a far better chance of reaching and staying connected with students and their families when we locate specialized services in schools where children are, and when we provide them with the support of a whole interdisciplinary team.”
Provincial lead Geoff MacDonald said learning from the first two families of schools will help with the implementation of the well-being teams in the three new families.
“The great work of our team members in Montague and Westisle and their feedback throughout the year has helped to create a sustainable program that will help school-aged children and their parents for years to come,” he said.
By September 2019 there will be teams in all eight families of schools, including Three Oaks, Kensington-Kinkora, and Charlottetown Rural.