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Burlington Council Wants Mental Health Studies Added To Curriculum



Burlington Council Wants Mental Health Studies Added To Curriculum

Burlington City Council has passed a unanimous resolution to lobby the higher levels of government to include education in mental health as part of the post-secondary curriculum. 

Council says it has passed the resolution along to all Halton municipalities, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and all Halton MPs and MPPs.

According to a report by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, “Mental health problems and illnesses will continue to cost the economy at least $50 billion per year if Canada does not begin to invest more aggressively to improve mental health outcomes and generate the cost savings”.

Council says they’ve also received the back of both Halton school boards.

“Teaching mental health education is part of our school curriculum is long overdue,” said council in their official motion Monday. “If everyone in our schools is empowered with knowledge, and dialogue is encouraged, students will have the freedom to open up about what they are going through and know where and how to get the support they need.”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third-highest in the industrialized world.

Key findings from Children’s Mental Health Ontario (sources provided in the link):

  • 1/2 of Ontario parents report having ever had concerns about their child’s level of anxiety

  • 1/3 of Ontario parents have had a child miss school due to anxiety

  • 1/4 of Ontario parents have missed work to care for a child with anxiety. This is significantly higher among parents who have had concerns about their child’s anxiety.

  • 62% of Ontario youth report ever having had concerns about their level of anxiety; only 3 in 10 (32%) have spoken to a mental health care professional about anxiety.

  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.

  • 36% of Ontario parents have sought help for their child; of those who did, 4 in 10 didn’t receive the help they needed or are still waiting for treatment.

  • Ontario’s per capita investment in health care was found to be $1,361 versus just $16.45 for mental health.

  • Improving a child’s mental health from moderate to high can lead to lifetime savings of $140,000.

  • 73% of teachers agreed that anxiety disorders were a pressing concern.

  • Despite a 17% increase in psychiatrists in Ontario between 2003 and 2013, the growth in demand for psychiatric services still outpaced the growth in supply.

  • In the last 30 years, hospitalizations for eating disorders have increased by 34% among young women under 15.

  • Black youth are significantly under-represented in mental health and treatment-oriented services and overrepresented in containment-focused facilities.

  • First Nations youth die by suicide about 5 to 6 times more often than non-Aboriginal youth.

  • LGBTQ youth face approximately 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than heterosexual peers.

  • Youth living in the lowest-income neighbourhoods had the highest rates of suicide, emergency department visits for deliberate self-harm, acute care mental health service use, treated prevalence of schizophrenia.

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