H.U.G. Program


Helping Us Grow (HUG) is part of the provincial Mental Health Capacity Building Initiative, that works to promote positive mental health in children, youth, families, and individuals in the community who interact with children and youth.  The funding for this program comes from Alberta Health Services Provincial Addiction and Mental Health. 

We have been in operation since 2007 and we provide prevention and promotion services to all schools in the Medicine Hat Public School Division. 

  • Our program follows an evidence-based logic model and developmental framework based in an ecological context to guide programming. 
  • The MHCB program helps promote resiliency and increase protective factors.  Everyone can benefit from efforts to promote mental health and prevent mental illness, where mental health refers to our ability to manage our life, attain goals, cope with life stressors and be able to bounce back from setbacks. 
  • The type of programming we offer includes skill development, such as coping, dealing with stress, communication, relationship building, self-care, and empathy building, among other important life competencies. 
  • Specific techniques include mindfulness, relaxation, emotional self-regulation and information on how the brain works. 
  • All of our work helps to increase awareness, reduce stigma and promote help seeking behavior when or before life or stress hits a tipping point. 
  • With one in five Alberta children and youth affected by substance use or mental illness, it’s vital that prevention and access to early mental health intervention or supports are available at an early age. 

We meet our mandate by: 

  • Delivering 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 addressing risk factors; 
  • Building capacity in others who work with children, youth and families, to deliver wellness presentations and programming; 
  • Organizing and facilitating school and community-wide mental health events and awareness campaigns; 
  • Facilitating our community partners to have access to students to promote their services and share their expertise  
  • 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. 

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Together we can begin to help students and families start to identify various ways to manage stress and build resiliency. 

Program Managers contact information: 

April Welshman
HUG/MyPlace SD#76
Office located at Southview Community School

403 526-4495 extension 5824 


Jill Forsythe

Success Coach

HUG and My Place Program

Mental Health Capacity Building Program

Medicine Hat School Division

George Davison School and Crescent Heights High School


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