The Foothills School Division wants the community to know about all the mental health supports available.

Superintendent Chris Fuzessy says they reached out to their partners earlier this year to decide the best way for them to work together after what's been a very difficult year for everyone.

"Through the course of the school year and dating back to last March we recognized the pandemic, as would any crisis, can have an effect on staff and students and family wellness and well being and so we undertook some work, probably in December or January to start reaching out to our different partners and asking how we could work differently together to ensure our community is aware of all the supports that are available and build mechanisms for us to be able to support them through accessing those supports," Fuzessy says.

The school division is working with Alberta Health, the Foothills Children's Wellness Network, and the Calgary Rural Primary Care Network.

While they are all different organizations they're also very similar to one another, according to Fuzessy, so there's a need for continuity of support to meet the needs but also addresses the gaps that may be present in the community.

"I think we can all agree that mental health is dependent on a variety of factors in someone's life and so, for example, the social isolation that we've lived as a result of this can lead to impacts on mental health but it can also lead to a lag in learning, it can also lead to developing anxiety and so the primary focus right now is supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our community but we're also working with Allied Health to see if we can include some of those other supports such as occupational therapy or speech and language, those types of things that provide kind of a whole child or a whole individual model of support throughout the community."

The groups are developing a strategy map and will consult with the Students Matter committee and the Staff Advisory Council in the Fall while Alberta Health does its own consultations, and from there they'll start identifying gaps in service and working to fill those gaps.


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