ESQUIMALT, B.C. - The B.C. government is offering up $8.87 million to school districts and independent schools for mental health and wellness programs over the next three years.

The money will be used to give individual grants to help support children with mental health difficulties or substance use challenges.

Education Minister Rob Fleming says the government knows students who struggle with mental health challenges aren't as successful at school and the funding will ensure they are able to get the help they need.

Those applying for grants should focus on initiatives related to mental health literacy, programs that respond to the effects of trauma, and social and emotional learning.

The government says in a news release that the grants can be used for different programs and supports, such as staff training, family information nights or the development of new resource materials for educators and families.