Healthy schools and communities grant


author: taylor balfour | news writer


finding a balance between funding and health credit via flickr


SAYCW grant provides opportunity to educate youth in sexual, mental, physical health

The mental, physical, sexual, and emotional health of youth is extremely important in today’s world. Plenty of groups, organizations, fundraisers and events have been placed to help draw attention and support to such an issue. One of the many groups offering their support is the Saskatchewan Alliance for Youth and Communities Well-being (or SAYCW).

Since their creation in 2011, SAYCW has had a goal to help improve the health and – as the name indicates – the well-being of citizens province wide. According to their website, they consider themselves to be an “alliance of health, education and other community stakeholders dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the Saskatchewan population.” So far, they have been doing exactly that in a brilliant new way.

As part of their mission, SAYCW has put together a grant that Saskatchewan citizens are able to apply for, entitled as the “Healthy Schools and Communities Grant,” which is to keep exactly that – schools and youth healthy. When applying, one is able to apply for grants ranging anywhere between $250 and $10,000 and potentially beyond, but what exactly is such a grant for? What does the money go to? The answer is simple, to support the mental, sexual and physical health of youth.

Last year, SAYCW released a survey for schools and communities asking for input from youth in regard to how they felt or what they knew on topics such as self-harm, substance abuse, mental health, sexual health, sleeping and eating patterns, amongst other subjects. After being completed, the results were then sent back to their respective schools for them to handle and use at their own accord.

For many, SAYCW is taking a huge step forward in the conversation surrounding health, especially mental health. Such a topic, especially to youth, is one that needs to be taught and spoken about. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, it has been reported that “10-20 per cent of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder” and that “the total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.”

Even worse, “suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24-year-old Canadians,” which means “4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.” This is a severe problem in Canada. Mental illness is a topic that affects youth everywhere, and asking the important questions on how it affects students and how much they know is extremely important in getting the conversation moving.

Upon applying for said grant, the money a school or community would gain goes toward providing support and knowledge as a location sees fit. The survey and results were to provide schools with the information they need as to what to tackle and where to focus. SAYCW has more than $230,000 to give out in grants, and every penny will go toward helping a community grow in it’s knowledge on how to keep youth happy and healthy, in every sense of the word.

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