ESQUIMALT -- 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.

"Our district is committed to investing in the mental health and well-being of our students, educators and families," said Jordan Watters, board chair of the Greater Victoria School District 61 in a release.

"It is critical that our students and staff are equipped with the knowledge and resources they need to understand their own mental health, as well as the social and emotional wellness of others."

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.

"As a student of Esquimalt High school, it truly means a lot to be able to access these resources and provide our classmates with quality mental health resources,” said Lassah Johnson, a student of Esquimalt High school in a release.