Meet our Student Wellness Companions
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Mental Health in School’s Pilot Project:
The Southwest Collaborative Support Services in partnership/consultation with Addictions & Mental Health – South Zone and multiple school divisions in the SW Region of Alberta, continue
to identify a significant need to bridge the gap between both rural and urban school and community mental health supports. Once school divisions have exhausted their in-house resources, they bring forward a case consultation to the Complex Case Team.
In order to provide effective tier 3 support for these consultations and ensure the needs of children, youth, and families are being met, we are were successful in receiving grant funding for 2.0 FTE Student Wellness Companions.
In the southwest region, the core partners are committed to continuing to work together to address the needs of children/youth and families with the resources available. The Southwest Collaborative Support Services is a framework intended to strengthen the ability of families, schools, service providers and community partners to understand and to respond to the needs of children and youth in a timely, inclusive and equitable manner.
The Student Wellness Companions (SWC) will provide students/families of tier 3 Complex Case Consultations equitable access and ongoing connection to mental health resources in the region; thus, bridging the gap between school and community. The Student Wellness Companion will have a desire to improve and identify the pathways for students and families to access necessary community resources.
Duties and Responsibilities:
● provide leadership, direction and structure to support the overall vision, goals and objectives on the Mental Health in Schools Pilot Project within the Southwest Region
● bridge connection and sustainability through assessing, planning and collaborating with community and cultural partners to support students/families in navigating available system services.
● Develop and implement a plan for a Mental Health Resource Bank that can be updated regularly and shared within the southwest region
● Ensure timely submission of financial, statistical and narrative reports as required
● Liaise with school administration, community partners, cultural partners and other stakeholders
● Attend by-weekly Complex Case Reviews (virtual and in-person)
● Liaise with the Complex Case Team throughout the school-year to set appropriate support plans throughout the summer months.
● Collaborate with multi-ministry community partners to identify sustainable community support and identify and connect families to effective mental health resources
Prior to joining the SWCSS team, Colton worked with Children’s Services as a Child and Youth Care Counselor at Sifton Campus Based Treatment Centre for over 6 years. Colton has training and experience working with youth and families with traumatic backgrounds, developmental disabilities, addictions, and difficulties with emotional regulation. He has helped facilitate an equine assisted learning program, and is a certified BrainWise™ Trainer and Instructor to teach youth critical thinking and emotional regulation skills. Colton enjoys collaborating with families, teachers, psychologists, cultural supports, medical professionals, and community supports to
figure out the best ways to support families. As well, he has become a mental health advocate for youth, families, his coworkers, and takes a therapeutic approach to his practice. In Colton’s free time he enjoys golfing, fishing, hunting, skiing, basketball, and watching hockey games (Go Oilers!).
Email: [email protected]
Elizabeth recently completed a Bachelor of Social Work degree at The University of Calgary and is a registered Social Worker. She works from a person-centered, trauma-informed approach to care that has been shaped by her diverse experiences within the Human Services field. During her undergraduate degree, she was able to work with families in collaboration with Children’s Services, with the goal of reunification. She was also able to participate in a project-based role that involved delivering programming about stress and resilience to front-line staff members at long-term care facilities. Elizabeth is looking forward to bringing her experience and passion for providing high-quality care into her role of connecting students and their families to mental health resources. In her free time, she enjoys reading, travelling, and spending time with friends and family.
Email: [email protected]
Kara-lyn joins SWCSS after working in the Lethbridge community for over six years in various roles focusing on mental health. Most recently, Kara-lyn has been working as an Addiction Counsellor for Alberta Health Services. Kara-lyn graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelors of Health Sciences and then went on to finishing her Master’s of Education from the University of Calgary. Kara-lyn values expanding her knowledge and is working towards a Master of Social Work Degree. Working from a trauma-informed and person-centered perspective, Kara-lyn is passionate about supporting children, youth, and families from all backgrounds in a collaborative and supportive way.
Email: [email protected]