The Mental Health and Addictions Strategic Plan of the Niagara Catholic District School Board recognizes the responsibility of the entire community to reach out in faith, hope and love to serve students and staff struggling with mental health and addiction challenges.

Through the Niagara Catholic District School Board’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, the annual System Priorities, the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and the Niagara Catholic Mental Health and Addictions Plan, the Board is committed to providing resources, programs, professional development and training. Our multi-faceted plan is in co-operation with a variety of local community partners that support the physical, social, emotional and spiritual well-being of our students and staff.  Our multi-layered strategy brings a focused awareness of mental health issues to students, teachers, administrators and all support staff to assist in eliminating the negative stereotyping often associated with mental health disorders. These plans promote and sustain student and staff well-being and positive student behavior within our inclusive, safe and healthy learning and work environment at all Niagara Catholic District School Board sites.

In 2013, Niagara Catholic hired a Mental Health Lead, who created our Mental Health and Addiction Strategy, and is committed to the implementation and follow through of our plan. Throughout 2013-2015; Niagara Catholic’s administrators, managers,  senior staff, Child and Youth Workers, Chaplaincy Leaders, Guidance and Success Staff participated in the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) program, which is designed to recognize and intervene with students or colleagues who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Educational Assistants, Child and Youth Workers, grade seven and eight teachers, and grade nine religion teachers were trained in the safeTALK program, which allows staff to understand and recognize students that are struggling with suicidal ideation.

In September 2014, Niagara Catholic opened the Pope Francis Centre in Fonthill, which is designed to assist student-parents, students with mental health issues and students who require an alternative learning location to complete their education. In March, 2015, Niagara Catholic’s Board of Trustees approved our Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. We also have a strong partnership with Pathstone Mental Health, the Niagara Health System, Contact Niagara and multiple other organizations which assist young people living with mental health challenges.

Niagara Catholic is committed to ensuring all of our schools are safe and accepting, and we have been recognized by the Province of Ontario with five Premier’s Award for Accepting Schools.

We continue to make mental health a priority throughout Niagara Catholic. Throughout 2015-2016, staff will monitor the new Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and we will also implement Safe and Accepting Schools initiatives provide resources to create Safe and Accepting School Teams in all of our schools.

Read Niagara Catholic’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy here.

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