With an investment of $500,000 over the next five years, the Mental Health Foundation has proudly invested in a program called All In For Youth. Our collaboration on the initiative is part of our strategy to support prevention and early interventions for children and youth.
All in for Youth provides wraparound services for at-risk children and youth. Broadly, this means supplementing areas in a young person’s life that present an obstacle to their success in school. Says United Ways’ Community Investment Specialist Annette Malin:
By addressing the barriers in their lives, we aim to support students to stay engaged so that they can complete their education, and set their course for a life free from poverty.
When it comes to mental health, there are three types of full time staff that All in for Youth provides to help address the full range and degree of student needs. The staff all come from another project partner, The Family Centre, and are on the ground daily building relationships with the children and youth in the schools they serve. The word we hear Annette use a lot is intentional. Program staff work incredibly hard to deliver individualized care with a purpose.
In other words, as Annette Malin terms their work, “counselling-lite.” If a young person is feeling down or like their mood is interfering with their ability to participate in class, the student can leave class and go down the hall to spend time with a success coach until they feel they can be productive. Having a dedicated staff member for students to go to, and allowing students the freedom to seek help at any point in their school day, frees up teachers to dedicate class time to students who are ready to learn and is a valuable resource to ensure all needs are met.
Mental Health Therapists
The All in for Youth mental health therapists work with a smaller caseload of students who need extra attention to put them on the path to success. Many of the students that the therapists see have suffered trauma in the past. Research has shown us that trauma negatively impacts the developing brain and, without support, hardwires it for a life of physical, emotional and social problems. A therapist on site is valuable because they are present when their students become highly distressed or alarmed. Additionally, the program’s mental health therapists can offer resources for teachers who don’t have the training to know how to respond, or even to help teachers attend to their own self-care.
Roots and Wings
Research shows that family-centered care is essential for long-term success in mental health care pathways. Roots and Wings staff act as a bridge into the community, reaching out to families who seem to be struggling to help them establish a solid foundation from which their children can flourish. Roots and Wings provides in-home family support to Edmonton and area families struggling with parenting and family disruption due to poverty, mental health, or isolation. Their comprehensive approach helps prevent family breakdown and child mistreatment, while empowering family members to better cope with life’s challenges, and make decisions that promote health and wellness.
Learn more about the All in for Youth initiative here.