FREDERICTON (GNB) – The seventh annual Ring A Bell Campaign takes place from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1.

“Helping our children and youth by fostering mental health is essential to ensuring their well-being and success,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny. “Your government is proud to support the Ring A Bell Campaign and initiatives like the Integrated Service Delivery Program in order to raise awareness and support the mental health needs of New Brunswick’s youth. I encourage everyone to take a moment to ring a bell on Dec. 1 to show support for the mental health of our children.”

The campaign is co-ordinated jointly by Dots NB / Partners For Youth Inc., the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Bell Aliant.

Mental health lesson plans will be introduced in classrooms across the province as part of the campaign. This awareness effort will culminate as students in K-8 classrooms across the province are invited to show their support by ringing bells for one minute. On Friday, Dec. 1, Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau will join students at the main event at Barkers Point Elementary School in sounding a bell for one minute. This activity is meant to draw attention to the importance of ensuring the mental health needs of children are met and their voices are heard.

“Bell Aliant is proud to continue our support of mental health initiatives across our New Brunswick communities, in addition to raising awareness nationally through initiatives such as the Bell Let’s Talk campaign,” said Glen LeBlanc, chief financial officer at Bell and vice-chair at Bell Aliant. “We applaud Dots NB/Partners for Youth and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development for their ongoing efforts in advancing this through school curriculums and government programs to the benefit of child and youth mental health in this province.”

“The Ring A Bell campaign is more than a conversation about mental health,” said Cindy Miles, interim CEO of Partners For Youth Inc. “It’s about New Brunswick youth, families, and communities coming together to shed light on something that touches us all. By uniting together to reflect and converse on this subject, we aim to show youth and families throughout the province that we are here for them, and that we recognize we all have a role to play in breaking down the stigma and silence that are often barriers to getting help. Promoting positive mental health in our youth, families, and communities is of utmost importance and the Ring A Bell Campaign gives that sense of importance a collective voice.”

In September of 2016, the government expanded the Integrated Service Delivery model for providing mental health, addiction, intervention and social services to children and youth to all schools across the province. Offered at the community level, it ties together services from the departments of Education and Early Childhood Development, Social Development, Health, and Justice and Public Safety. Children and youth may access the program through their school or another community service.

Improving mental health services for children and youth is a component of the government’s 10-year education plans, strategies for crime reduction and harm prevention, and the Mental Health Action Plan. Supporting people with mental health challenges is also one of the seven priority areas of the New Brunswick Family Plan framework.