Our Prairie Valley "Just Think" Team has developed an initiative to focus on mental health and substance abuse prevention supports for schools. The feedback we received last year from staff, parents, and community stakeholders was to consider substance abuse prevention education to younger students. We have created materials that align with our provincial health education curriculum and that will support teachers and social workers in their mental health and substance abuse prevention efforts.
Our "Just Think" Team this year is comprised of social workers/ counselors, Tammy Wagner, Alisha Davis, and Jody Hyndman, as well as Kyla Christiansen, the Health and Wellness Consultant.
Mental health and substance abuse among Saskatchewan children and youth is a continuing priority. As you know, youth who struggle with mental health issues are more likely to use substances, engage in risky forms of use, and experience harms from using that can negatively impact their physical and mental health, safety, academic success, and future goals (Canadian Center on Substance Abuse, 2009).
Students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend school consistently. Not only do academics suffer, students who regularly miss classes are more likely to get into trouble with the law and cause problems in their communities.
Poor attendance, beginning in kindergarten, is also linked to higher dropout rates.
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