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Ontario Launching New Mental Health Learning and Increasing Funding

Arafat Rahman

Province introducing new mandatory learning on mental health starting this upcoming school year

Following a movement in the council by Natalie Pierre, Individual from Common Parliament for Burlington, to reinforce psychological well-being learning and supports in the homeroom, the Ontario government is refreshing the Grade 10 Vocation Review educational program and is presenting obligatory assets for educators and understudies on psychological well-being proficiency in Grades 7 and 8. Students would be aided in achieving their goals and preparing for the next steps in their lives by these resources, which were developed in collaboration with experts.

Stephen Lecce, Clergyman of Instruction, and MPP Pierre likewise declared an extra $12 million this year and $14 million one year from now to give psychological wellness administrations over the late spring months. In response to a crucial recommendation from families and student trustees, this funding will expand students’ access to school-based mental health professionals and services throughout the year. The goal is to provide students with consistent and dependable support.

We are aware that enhancing the curriculum’s requirement for mental health literacy is the right thing to do. Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, stated, “Natalie Pierre is a strong advocate and MPP, but most of all she is a mother who is driven to ensure that we prevent tragedies and save lives.” For that reason it is basic to the point that all understudies learn sound survival techniques, stress the board and better acknowledgment of the early signs. We want children to always know that they are not alone and to have the confidence and tools they need to succeed in the classroom.

Reported toward the beginning of Public Psychological well-being Week and proposed for presentation in schools in the following school year, the new required emotional wellness proficiency assets will include:

  • New learning materials for Grade 7 and 8 students that are aligned with the Health and Physical Education curriculum. This includes important tools like student activities, videos and interactive programming and information that 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.
  • Mandatory learning on mental health literacy for Grade 10 students will start in fall 2024 and will include how to recognize signs of being overwhelmed or struggling, as well as where to find help locally when needed. This will be included in the Career Studies course.

Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, stated, “Improving mental health literacy in schools is a critical part of building the resiliency skills that our children and youth need to grow up to be happy and healthy adults.” Without mental health, there is no health. By giving schools these assets, we can bring down disgrace and further develop associations with the local area where understudies and their families can get to Ontario’s continuum of care.”

In addition, the Ontario government is announcing a record increase in school funding for mental health care to $114 million in 2023-2024, a 500 percent increase from 2018.

This comprises:

  • $50.4 million to help school boards meet local needs and priorities related to mental health, including professional development, student engagement, wellness promotion and mental health professionals
  • $26.5 million to hire permanent mental health workers in secondary schools
  • $10.8 million for mental health leaders in school boards who collaborate with community partners to provide integrated student mental health services
  • $6.5 million to School Mental Health Ontario to provide clinical expertise, resources and practical tools for educators, and the delivery of professional learning to school-based mental health clinicians
  • $3.75 million towards mental health supports for racialized and marginalized students
  • $2 million to increase awareness for parents and guardians on student mental health
  • $2 million to support emerging student mental health needs, including initiatives that promote healthy behaviours such as the prevention and awareness of substance use and addiction.

The new mental health education is in line with the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum, which was updated in 2019 and is the best in the country. It includes mental health literacy instruction in every grade.

As part of the Roadmap to Wellness, more than $525 million has been given to improve the quality and accessibility of mental health supports, reduce wait times, and close service gaps. This incorporates more than $130 million for kid and youth psychological well-being administrations and supports. Our government has also significantly increased the number of Youth Wellness Hubs across the province to make it faster and easier for youth to connect with primary care, mental health and substance use support, social services, and other services. In addition, the “One Stop Talk” virtual counseling program for youth and their families has been launched.

In order to discuss ways to further enhance supports for students’ mental health, the government met with educators, parent and student groups, community-based child and youth mental health organizations, and school-based mental health professionals in the fall. In order to ensure that students have access to the appropriate mental health services they require, Ontario will continue to collaborate with partners in the community to construct a more robust care continuum.

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