Clearview committed to supporting student mental health

Clearview committed to supporting student mental health
Student Mental Health

Improving mental health has been on the minds of Clearview's leaders this month. With the recognition of "Mental Illness Awareness Week" in October, Clearview is reflecting on the importance of its work to promote and strengthen student mental health. Clearview is pleased with the efforts staff are making with students in this area, and is committed to ongoing support for mental wellness in Clearview's schools.

"Mental health is critical for student success," says Grant Gosse, Director of Inclusive Learning at Clearview Public Schools, "and Clearview is making some excellent strides forward with supports for students that focus on social and emotional skills, build awareness, and reduce stigma. We also provide strong one-on-one supports for students when they need more help."

Clearview schools are helping students strengthen their mental health through classroom activities and education provided primarily by the "CARS" - Caring and Resilient Students - program. CARS is funded through the provincial Mental Health and Capacity Building (MHCB) program. The work of CARS includes group or community presentations, weekly mental health programs and targeted group work. CARS asserts that mental health education and literacy can improve early identification, the development of coping skills, and ideally improve outcomes.

Penny Warford, CARS Program Manager, says, "According to The Mental Health Commission of Canada every $1 spent on school-based mental health prevention and promotion programs saves about $11 in intervention and treatment. Even more important than the money is the well being of each child. We strive to make a difference for each Clearview student through programs that promote social emotional learning, human connection, building resiliency skills, and reducing stigma."

Warford is excited about new programs in schools this year that include "Worry Woos" for elementary students, "My Owl mental health literacy program for junior high utilizing a novel study of Harry Potter, and "A Little SPOT of Emotion". CARS is on Facebook @ClearviewCARS.

When students have an even greater need for support, schools turn to the Family School Liaison Workers (FSL). FSL professionals work with students, their parents / guardians and staff. FSL's help to address issues such as self-esteem, anxiety, suicidality, family grief and loss, and behaviour regulation. There are seven FSL workers in Clearview, who each spend all of their time at a single larger school, or share their time between two or more smaller schools. Students can be referred to the program by themselves, by a teacher or a parent or guardian.

"The combination of our CARS programs and the support of FSL workers in our schools has been tremendous" says Gosse. "Students get amazing support and develop important skills by participating in programs offered through CARS. This frees up our FSL workers to focus on students who need extra support. This model has been highly effective in meeting the needs of our students."

Last year CARS offered 583 lessons to students in Clearview classrooms. Also in the 2020-21 school year FSL professionals worked with more than 750 Clearview students and, in some cases, their families.