The pair will be tasked with providing culturally appropriate and evidence-informed practices in crisis intervention, assessment, referral and intervention services for students and their families. Additionally, they may support consultation and professional development activities within LRSD.
Students and their families can access this service through a referral process with a school’s family-school liaison counsellor.
Through this process, the counsellor determines if the student and caregiver will be best served seeing an LRSD mental health therapist.
If it is determined to be the best course of action, a referral will be made and the mental health therapist will reach out to initiate the service moving forward.
Colette, who is Métis, will be working as the Indigenous mental health therapist for the division. Her focus will be primarily on the Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek areas, given their significant Indigenous populations.
Colette previously worked within the school division as the family-school liaison counsellor at Livingstone School in Lundbreck.
She provided support to students and families experiencing hardships while acting as a liaison between families and the school system.
Holding a bachelor’s degree in psychiatric nursing from Brandon University and a master’s in counselling psychology from Yorkville University, Colette has the experience and education to excel in this role.
“I am extremely pleased to be chosen to fill this new role and look forward to gaining knowledge and sharing experiences with individuals and families in the Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod area,” Colette said in a press release from LRSD.
Kristen will work in the northern and western corridors of LRSD. This includes schools in Nanton, Stavely, Claresholm, Granum, Lundbreck and Crowsnest Pass.
Kristen previously spent over 10 years working predominantly for community agencies and Alberta Health Services.
She holds a diploma in social work from Mount Royal University, on top of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Calgary.
With a diverse education background and an affinity for helping others, Kristen is excited for this new challenge.
“I am looking forward to seeing the world through a student’s lens and helping support and nurture healthy and meaningful relationships in the process,” said Kristen in the same media release.
The mental health therapist positions are temporary roles made possible through the Alberta government’s Mental Health in Schools Pilot Grant.
LRSD recognizes the importance of having therapists available to its students and felt this was an opportunity the division could not pass up.
“Oftentimes the ability to access these supports may prove difficult due to travel logistics or financial barriers,” says Holly Stewart, clinical team lead with LRSD, in the press release.
“Having Colette and Kristen join our division and be able to provide these essential services directly and in a flexible, timely manner to our students and their caregivers in the school setting is truly exciting.”
Colette and Kristen will hold these positions until Dec. 31, 2024, barring any changes.