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Community-funded mental health literacy program to expand to elementary schools

With construction of the new Centre for Child & Adolescent Mental Health ramping up, we continue to support efforts to help families reduce the need for it in the first place. Thanks to a pilot project funded by the community through the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, our specialists have become national leaders in providing mental health literacy programs in junior high and high schools. The programs were so well received by students and teachers that AHS agreed to fund the project over the long term and expand it beyond Calgary to schools across the province.

With that program well underway, teachers in elementary schools have expressed a keen interest in providing the same kind of support to their younger students. Donations to the #BuildThemUp campaign will enable the team to address that demand by developing and tailoring materials for use in grade four, five and six classrooms. The work on this project is just beginning and will be developed jointly with education partners, parents, youth and mental health professionals.

Given Alberta’s leadership in developing and delivering a provincial program, the award-winning psychiatrist and author of the mental health literacy curriculum has now chosen to gift the intellectual property of his broader work to Alberta Health Services. Dr. Stan Kutcher has entrusted the team who led the pilot with the honour and responsibility of carrying on his professional legacy, much of which can be accessed here. This website receives more than five million hits every year internationally, evidence of mental health as a global issue. The site will serve as the perfect avenue through which the new mental health knowledge and resources — including the elementary school curriculum —can be shared free of charge to help young people and families around the world.

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