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The BC School Counsellors Association, a provincial specialist association of the BC Teachers' Federation, will welcome Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy as the keynote speaker at their annual professional development conference on Friday, October 19, 2018 in Richmond. 

Dave MacKenzie, president of the BC School Counsellors Association, said they are expecting 300 school counsellors from across the province and that hearing from the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions is incredibly timely, given the increase in mental health problems facing students in our schools. 

“As school counsellors, we are often the first to identify and intervene when young people start to struggle,” said MacKenzie. “School counsellors are the educational professionals who often become the primary navigators for young people and their families when more intensive services and supports are required. As school counsellors, we are all doing what we can to raise awareness of the growing need for strategies and resources to support mental health in BC's schools. Whether it's supporting a student with anxiety, training other teachers in a mental health literacy program, or helping a family navigate difficult circumstances, our work is often done quietly behind the scenes and not always supported the way it should be by school districts.”

MacKenzie explained that more needs to be done to ensure students get the early interventions they need to improve and sustain mental health. 

“Having the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions come to the BC School Counsellors Association conference is unprecedented and a good sign that the government is serious about addressing about the growing problem facing BC schools.”

WHEN: Minister Darcy's keynote is from 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. on Friday, October 19
WHERE: Pacific Gateway Hotel, 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond. 

The BC School Counsellors Association conference is part of network of professional development events happening this week that are put on by the BCTF's provincial specialist associations

Media can reach Dave MacKenzie at vernondavemack@gmail.com or at 250-307-4499. 

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For more information, contact Rich Overgaard, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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