One in five Ontario children and youth has a mental health problem – that’s about 500,000 kids. Because of the strong link between mental health and student achievement some of these students will not achieve their full academic potential. In addition, 80 per cent of students will not receive appropriate treatment because of various barriers, including stigma.
The York Catholic District School Board recognizes the importance of increasing awareness of the early signs of child and youth mental health problems; decreasing stigma; and understanding that help is available. We are strongly committed to promoting Mental Well-Being in all our students.
As part of Ontario’s Open Mind, Healthy Mind comprehensive mental health and addiction strategy, the York Catholic District School Board is currently working actively with the tri-ministerial initiative, School Mental Health ASSIST, devoted to supporting schools in addressing mental health and addiction issues in children and youth.
The overall objective is to achieve better mental health and academic outcomes for all of our students. The goals of the initiative are:
- Building resiliency and social emotional learning skills
- Reducing stigma of mental health and addiction
- Early identification and intervention
- Building pathways to care
- Closing critical service gaps
- Providing fast access to high quality services for our students
During the 2013 -2014 academic school year, we began the implementation of our comprehensive Mental Health and Addiction Strategy and with our focus on: 1) building optimal organizational conditions to support mental health and well being; and 2) building staff capacity in the understanding and awareness of mental health and addiction issues.
In building capacity with all our staff, we will be using two guides that have been recently released:
- Supporting Minds: An Educator’s Guide to Promoting Students’ Mental Health and Well-being, developed by the Ministry
- Leading Mentally Healthy Schools: A Vision for Mental Health and Well-being in Ontario Schools, developed by the School Mental Health Assist Group (This guide is a companion to the Educator’s Guide and is intended to support Administrators in their roles)
If you have general concerns about your child, the York Catholic District School Board Mental Health Workers are available for assistance. Please contact your child’s school principal.