The Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation has committed $10,000 in funding that will go towards a Mental Health First Aid program at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS).
This training course will continue to help staff provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.
It is based on the model of medical first aid, which seeks to preserve life, prevent deterioration, injury or illness, promote healing and provide comfort to the ill or injured.
“We really felt, for our first major donation, because Lindsey (More) suffered during her high school years, and she kind of slipped through the cracks like many do, we figured this would be our inaugural donation to help those that are struggling in high school,” said Rick More, father of Lindsey, his late daughter. “We really believe that through education, that’s the way we can change the stigma.”
Many staff members have already been trained in the Mental Health First Aid Program, and the district plans to continue this training for many years to come.
“My hope for the future is that people talk about mental health the way we talk about physical health. We need to break the stigma of mental health and make it a part of everyday conversation,” said RDCRS’ Mental Health Consultant, Carmen Baumgarten. “As more and more complex issues fall our way, it is important that we are ready to support our school communities.”
RDCRS officials say they are responsive to Mental Health First Aid training and have a long-term plan to strategically train staff ensuring that teachers, administration and support staff receive the training.
“With mental health becoming a rising concern within our schools in the day-to-day lives of students, staff and parents, taking part in the training session was a priority for me to help effectively support my community as a school leader.
“The Mental Health First Aid program not only helped me learn to identify the symptoms of possible mental health problems but also increased my confidence in providing support and preventative measures to help reduce mental illness and problems when they arise within my school community,” said Principal Gary Gylander of Holy Family School.
Rick added the community support behind the initiative has been incredible.
“The commitment to helping improve student mental health at RDCRS is impressive. Education is such a key component to inspire change. We are pleased to offer the funds as our first initiative of the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation. We know Lindsey would be proud of this.”