Catholic schools’ mental health program receives funding boost

Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation provides $10,000

The Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation has raised $10,000 towards a “mental health first aid” program at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

The money will help finance a training course that helps staff support to students that could be developing mental health problems. It’s based on the first aid model which seeks to preserve life, prevent deterioration, and promote healing.

Since education is key to inspiring change, “we are pleased to offer the funds as our first initiative… We know Lindsey would be proud of this,” said Rick More, who started the foundation to help others after his depressed daughter, Lindsey, committed suicide.

Many Catholic schools staff have already trained in the on-going program, and find it valuable in helping detect possible signs of mental illness in students. Principal Gary Gylander, of Holy Family School, also found the training useful in implementing “preventative” measures to try to reduce mental health problems from starting.

Principal Jodi Smith, of École Mother Teresa Catholic School, gained a better understanding of how to support students in their time of need — as well as friends who may effectively be “caregivers” to troubled buddies, overlooking their own needs.

The region’s mental health consultant Carmen Baumgarten hopes people will talk about mental health the way they talk about physical health. “We need to break the stigma…and make it part of everyday conversation.”

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