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Ontario government makes a move to strengthen mental health education in the province

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: The Ontario government is adding more of a focus on mental health to the provincial curriculum.

“Following a motion in the legislature by Natalie Pierre, Member of Provincial Parliament for Burlington, to strengthen mental health learning and supports in the classroom, the Ontario government is updating the Grade 10 Career Studies curriculum and is introducing mandatory resources for teachers and students on mental health literacy in Grades 7 and 8,” an Ontario government press release, sent out on May 1st, explained.

At a press conference, Education Minister Stephen Lecce talked about the importance of strengthening the approach to mental health education.

“We recognize mental health is foundational to the success of a child. Yes, in academics, but [also] well beyond that. It’s why we have systematically stepped up our supports.”

The press release stated some of the resources announced include, “student activities, videos and interactive programming and information which will help students learn how to manage stress, understand the relationship between mental health and mental illness, recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health concern, counteract mental health stigma and know when and how to get help.”

There will also be “mandatory learning on mental health literacy for Grade 10 students” starting in autumn 2024.

“We know students today, more than ever, are facing real challenges when it comes to mental health. Eating disorders and depression [are] at a level we have not seen in our society. Self-doubt, anxiety and bullying, especially online, is facing so many kids,” Minister Lecce said.

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