At Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting, Darryl Fillmore shared with Trustees details of his role as Algoma District School Board’s Mental Health Lead and some of the mental health strategies the Board is implementing.
The Mental Health Lead is the first point of contact for Sault Area Hospital (SAH) regarding Mental Health Crisis and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) Unit Admissions. He organizes Transition Case Conferences with schools upon discharge of students from these facilities, ensuring that the emotional and mental health needs of and educational supports for these students is met. The Mental Health Lead also supports ongoing evidence-based mental health practices and programming in order to promote the mental health and well-being of all students.
Darryl shared that, as part of the Algoma Model and within community partnerships, ADSB aligns their services along a continuum of three tiers from young JK students all the way through to Adult Education programs.
- Supports for all are things such as Family Engagement, Student Voice, Positive School and Classroom Climate. Starting in JK and working through to high school the Board has infused social and emotional learning along with mentorship and well-being initiatives. Al’s Pals and Project ABCD are two examples of these types of supports.
- Supports for some are targeted supports for students needing additional help at school. For instance, ADSB has School and Attendance Counsellors who are assigned to every school in the Board, available to see students regularly and as needed to help develop positive coping strategies and to access community resources. The Board has trained staff in every school to facilitate restorative conversations to address conflict and assist in problem resolution. This is a partnership that has been developed with Sault Ste. Marie Police Services and the John Howard Society. These are two examples of “supports for some”.
- Supports for few are interventions or strategies for a much smaller percentage of students. These programs and services, for students experiencing significant challenges, rely heavily on ADSB’s strong community partnerships with, for instance, SAH, the CAP Unit and School Police Liaison Officers. Algoma District School Board also has trained staff in all schools to help detect when a student is in need of supports and specific pathways to access resources to help the student and situation.
Darryl recognized that the Algoma District School Board and partner agencies are “getting it right”. The number of partners that are now at the table to assist, support and transition a student continues to grow. The Board is very proud to be part of this positive trend, helping to develop protocols with community hospitals and sharing resources provincially and district-wide.