What started as one family's journey has turned into a movement engaging 23,000 students
FREDERICTON, Dec. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Today Dots NB, a non-profit organization focused on kids' mental health in New Brunswick, is bringing together 23,000 students in grades 6, 7, and 8 in Anglophone and Francophone districts to ring bells at noon for one minute to raise awareness of kids' mental health. An event at George Street Middle School in Fredericton will take place at 11:30 a.m., where students, Bell Aliant and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will ring bells to show their support. Church bells across the province will also ring out at noon.
What started out as one family's personal story to find help for their daughter's mental health challenges has turned into a provincial movement for change. Maureen Bilerman co-founded Dots NB two years ago, having experienced firsthand the need for improved treatment and services when her teenage daughter Sarah developed a serious mental illness.
Working with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Dots NB helped implement a mental health component into the curriculum that was taught in all schools leading up to this event. The curriculum focused on topics such as stigma, disorders, symptoms and accessing help. The general public can access the online resource provided to students and show their support by ringing a virtual bell at www.dotsnb.ca.
"Promoting positive mental health for our children is a priority for our government," said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr. "We are proud to be a partner in presenting this campaign and we look forward to continuing to work with all our stakeholders in New Brunswick to ensure every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential."
"By putting a spotlight on kids' mental health and by engaging the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and community partners such as Bell Aliant we are helping kids and parents understand this issue and empowering them to be part of the movement toward better treatments and services in New Brunswick," said Bilerman.
Mental health is a focus of Bell Aliant's community program. Since 2011, Bell Aliant has given more than $1 million to support local programs that reduce stigma and increase access to care, including a $10,000 contribution to Dots NB.
"Bell Aliant is proud to support a cause that affects one in five Canadians," said Lisa Merrithew, Bell Aliant's Vice President, Corporate Affairs. "We are pleased to partner with Dots NB to fuel this unique youth-led movement and raise awareness of kids' mental health issues with students, parents and teachers."
Staff and students at George Street Middle School have taken a leadership role and formed a Dot Squad, committed to creating and supporting opportunities for mental health awareness at their school while encouraging other schools to do the same. Click here to view the classroom video.
About Dots NB
Dots NB is a New Brunswick not-for-profit organization committed to excellence in kids' mental health through youth, family and community empowerment.
About Bell Aliant
Bell Aliant (TSX: BA) is one of North America's largest regional communications providers and the first company in Canada to cover an entire city with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology with its FibreOP™ services. Through its operating entities, it serves customers in six Canadian provinces with innovative information, communication and technology services including voice, data, Internet, video and value-added business solutions. Bell Aliant's employees deliver the highest quality customer service, choice and convenience.
SOURCE: BELL ALIANT INC.
For further information:
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director, Dots NB
Communications, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Bell Aliant Corporate Affairs