School districts in British Columbia to receive extra mental health funding

A photo of Minister Judy Darcy announces additional funding for mental health programs for school districts in British Columbia
Minister Judy Darcy announces additional funding for mental health programs for school districts in British Columbia. Photo courtesy of the Province of British Columbia.
Lisa Cordasco - CHLY - NanaimoBC | 02-09-2020
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COVID-19 infections continue spike

COVID-19 infections continue to spike in BC, with 104 new cases confirmed since yesterday. Three new infections are in the Island Health Region. Some of the new infections are the result of an outbreak at Surrey Memorial Hospital. There are 1,127 active COVID-19 cases in BC and more than twice as many people are under public health monitoring because of their close contact with a known case.

School districts to receive extra funding this year for mental health programs

School districts in BC will get an extra $2-million dollars this year, to enhance mental health programs. The minister of mental health and addictions says because children are returning to school during uncertain times, it is important that students can get extra support to help with anxiety or depression. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy says it is up to each school board to decide how to spend the money.

"It really about the school district looking at what their needs are because the mental health programs at the school might vary widely. So some might have certain programs but not others so there might be a gap they will want to fill. But this is very much about expanding programs that will support students and families and staff around the anxieties especially around COVID-19," said Darcy.

The funding is a one time increase to the three year $8.8 million investment in school district mental health programs that was initiated last year. This school year, the Nanaimo Ladysmith School District will receive three and three quarters of a million dollars to promote mental wellness.

SD-68 School Trustee Chair expects many questions regarding preparedness for new school year

The chair of the Nanaimo school board expects to be peppered with questions from parents at tonight's meeting. Tonight's agenda includes more than a dozen letters from parents, calling on the board to mandate masks, delay school openings and create hybrid learning programs. Tonight's livestream is another opportunity to ask questions. SD-68 School Trustee Chair Charlene McKay says it's the board's job to respond.

"Parents have just been waiting for answers. You know, what is the ministry going to say? What is the ministry going to ask for and then what is our board going to do about it? So it's not necessarily a specific question that they've been asking so much as I think that they are going to get into the specific questions now that they know that back to school is going to look different than it did in June," said McKay.

Tonight's meeting is just getting underway now. You can watch by going to the district's website. Scroll down the right side under "Board News Bulletins" and select Online Meeting.