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(Canada) SK school district adds "mental health programs" due to self-harm practices

Nov 29, 2018, Estevan (SK) Mercury: School division approves mental health curriculum The planning and process of introducing and implementing mental health programs within the South East Cornerstone Public School Division was explained to the board of trustees on Nov. 21 when they met in the school division’s conference room in Weyburn. Aaron Hiske, Cornerstone’s superintendent of education, made the presentation, explaining how the need was brought to the forefront due to a number of events that occurred in the region during the 2017-18 school year. Hiske said the age of the students who were affected was 12-18 years, and that regardless of grade configuration or location, all schools across the division were impacted, with one female student losing her life due to self-harm, as did four adults from school communities. Another 15 were hospitalized as a result of self-harming activities and “these are only the instances we are aware of,” Hiske said. As a result, a six-to-eight-hour program was established for delivery in Cornerstone classrooms and will be mandatory in the first year of delivery. The program has two levels, with one level aimed at younger students from early years to Grade 8 and the second level for those up to Grade 12…. … “We have partner agencies in social services, police and mental health professionals, so there is a systemic response to increase awareness.” … “Despite the great work of our counsellors and community support agencies, our students needed more,” said Hiske. The feedback that followed the development of a pilot teen mental health program last school year allowed administration to know more context was needed for teachers to deliver an eight-lesson curriculum. …

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