Sherwood Park, AB. — Staff and students throughout Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) are exploring positive relationship-building this Mental Health Week, which runs May 6 to 12. The 2024 theme: Compassion Connects.

“Compassion is a powerful tool to connect with one another,” says Marcus Reed, the Director of Specialized Supports at EIPS. “When we build each other up and cultivate those relationships, it creates an environment that’s safe for students and staff to be themselves. Mental Health Week is a great reminder of our priority to ensure learning and working environments are welcoming, caring, respectful, safe and foster student and staff well-being.”

The week’s theme focuses on amplifying the voices and spaces involved with mental health across Canada, especially at the community level through non-profit agencies and programs. Students will learn about community-based mental health care champions, programs and communities and how mental health care can be expressed and nurtured, such as through art, music and dance.

Throughout the week, various activities are taking place in schools across the Division. To feature a diverse group of voices, Next Step Sherwood Park is providing a Mental Health Week speaker series:

  • May 6: Tristen Sandersen, a local Indigenous, two-spirit tattoo artist
  • May 7: Success coaches Aley Kulbaba and Danielle Jeffery present Self Care 101
  • May 8: Kris Marks, a speaker from VIV Mental Health
  • May 9: MLA Janis Irwin (Edmonton Highlands-Norwood) and MLA Kyle Kasawski (Sherwood Park) are addressing resiliency and overcoming challenges
  • May 9: Empowering Parents Night: Kris Marks from VIV Mental Health
  • May 10: Success coaches Aley Kulbaba and Danielle Jeffery provide mental health porcupine map activities and challenges

Once again, many schools are participating in the “Hats On! For Mental Health Day” initiative taking place May 8. Participating schools will relax their hat rules and encourage students and staff to wear hats to school to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health.

Schools are also participating in Alberta Health Services’ initiative Move Your Mood. The goal is to increase awareness on the importance of mental health and how to improve mental health through healthy lifestyles practices. Schools are encouraged to have students read daily messages to the entire school and share one way to incorporate a healthy choice each day.

Other Mental Health Week activities include daily announcements, art projects, mental health trivia, outdoor games, self-regulation challenges, sidewalk chalk messages, social media promotion, wellness walks, spirit dress days, QR code scavenger hunts, Saffron presentations, family events and more.

In addition to school activities, students and staff can also share messages about their personal journey on various social media platforms using the hashtags #CompassionConnects and #MentalHealthWeek.


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,750 students in 42 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.


Mental Health Week 
Hats On! for Mental Health Day 
Alberta Health Services: Move Your Mood 
Alberta Health Services: Help in Tough Times 



For more information, media can contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902