The Hanover School Division is seeing great results from mental health and addictions support that is offered to high school students. 

In 2019, Hanover was one of three Manitoba divisions selected for this pilot program, Enhanced Mental Health and Addictions Team. Brandon and Portage are the other two divisions running this program. 

“Having this kind of comprehensive, wrap-around kind of support, now at least we feel that this team can develop more supports not only in school but also after school, providing supports to the family,” says Rod Kehler, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services in Hanover. “It just is a much more efficient way of serving these students.” 

The team consists of a Hanover School Social Worker, a Shared Health Rehabilitation Counsellor, and a Southern Health Psychiatric Nurse. Kehler says this pilot was put in place to bring the mental health and addictions support services together to improve efficiency in services. 

He notes it is extremely rewarding for everyone involved to see the gains students make in life, becoming stronger and more resilient. 

“It really is a team effort,” Kehler says. 

With encouraging results since 2019, this program is no longer considered a pilot. 

“We’ve been able to show significant success, along with Brandon and Portage, even though the models might look a little bit different as they flex to meet the needs of the individual school divisions,” Kehler explains. “The province informed us just last spring that this program will continue to move forward on a year-to-year basis, but that it’s no longer really considered a pilot.”

Rod KehlerRod Kehler is the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services in the Hanover School Division. (Photo Submitted)

Currently, the Hanover team carries a caseload of approximately 12 students and their families. 

“And like Curtis Kulpa, our school social worker that’s on the team, emphasized to me, the real stars in this whole process are really the students and their families, because they're the ones that are putting in all of the hard work and displaying courage when working through a lot of these very challenging situations,” he says. 

Kehler addresses the stigma attached to mental health/illness and addictions. 

“It's important for everyone to recognize that we all deal with mental health challenges on some level. And it's always about the supports that we have available to us, and some of us have more supports available to us than others, and some families have more supports available to them than others. It's just really important to recognize that,” he says. “This team works really hard to combat the stigma of mental health. Recognizing that we all have these challenges and that we really need each other, and we need support from each other.

“I do want to give a special shout out to the team. As I mentioned Curtis Culpa as the school social worker and he's an employee of Hanover School Division, Ken Krahn is a psych nurse with Southern Health and Shannon Patterson is the addictions counselor with Shared Health. And as a team, I'm just so impressed with how well they work together and how they serve our schools, our staff, our families and especially the students.” 

Click here to learn more about the services available through the Hanover School Division for students and their families. 


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