Mental Health Capacity Building (MHCB)

in Schools Initiative


On May 7, 2018 Alberta Health announced additional funding of $5 million dollars for the MHCB in Schools Initiative. This additional investment will allow for the development of up to 15 new programs, expanding the reach to more than 100,000 students across the province.The Call for Applications has now closed. AHS is in the evaluation phase to identify the 15 successful applicants. 

The Mental Health Capacity Building (MHCB) in Schools Initiative works to promote positive mental health in children, youth, families and support individuals in the community who interact with children and youth. The MHCB initiative is based on research and best practice literature that demonstrates that mental and emotional wellbeing can be developed, nurtured and supported through promotion and prevention efforts.

MHCB provides the staffing and support required to implement an integrated, school-based community mental health promotion and prevention program, and works with community partners to facilitate access to early intervention and treatment services for those who require it. The programs are locally planned, coordinated and implemented through collaboration with Alberta Health Services zone operations and existing partnerships, school jurisdictions, parents, community agencies and other regional service providers.

MHCB Mission

To promote positive mental health in children, youth, families and individuals in the community who interact with children and youth.


To promote positive mental health in children, youth, families and communities by raising awareness, increasing knowledge, building personal skills (such as self-care and self-regulation techniques), developing interpersonal skills and fostering positive community norms (such as support networks, physical and psychological safety).

To intervene early by facilitating access to early intervention and treatment services for children, youth, parents and/or caregivers who are at greatest risk of (or are currently experiencing) addiction and mental health issues. (This includes the use of screening as indicated by AHS).

Improve knowledge of and access to effective and innovative services across the mental health continuum through community collaborative networks with schools, health supports, and community agencies to coordinate and streamline existing services (while identifying and advocating for unmet needs)..

Quick Facts

  • The MHCB initiative serves children and youth under age 19, and their families.
  • The MHCB initiative was initially funded in 2006, beginning with 5 pilot sites around the province.
  • There are currently 37 projects in 85 communities and 182 schools with an outreach to 74 additional schools, throughout Alberta.
  • To see the communities where MHCB is available, view map.

The MHCB initiative is aligned with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services provincial strategies which emphasize promotion and prevention along with early identification and intervention. The diversity of approaches used by MHCB is based on research and best practice literature, and is reflective of the needs and resources of individual communities. This includes the engagement of traditionally under-served populations.

What it looks like:

The MHCB staffing model includes a full time Coordinator and several Success Coaches (also known as Wellness Coaches).

MHCB team members work within school settings to:

  • Deliver mental health promotion and prevention programming including presentations to students, staff, parents and/or other community members that increase wellbeing, resilience, protective factors, promote early identification of issues and address risk factors;
  • Build capacity in others, who work with children, youth and families, to deliver wellness presentations and programming;
  • Organize and facilitate school and community wide Mental Health events and awareness campaigns;
  • Facilitate access to students for other community partners (eg. school police liaison officers);
  • Connect students to community mental health supports and services;
  • Collaborate with service providers in the community to maximize service efficiencies and to advocate for unmet mental health needs for children and families;
  • Share and exchange knowledge and resources between MHCB Programs through the MHCB Community of Practices established across the province.


Serri Lasuik
Capacity and School Initiatives,
Provincial Addiction & Mental Health 
Telephone: 403-943-2302

MHCB Initiatives

North Zone

Teams for Success

Together We're Better

Central Zone

Vermilion Is Being Empowered

Wainwright On Wellness