Written By CMHO CEO, Kim Moran
I want to encourage parents to contribute to the development of the new health curriculum, as a key subject is mental health. Schools are a critical element of a mental health system that spans from building kids skills, to reducing mental health issues, to treatment of kids with the most serious and life-long issues. The research is clear that when evidence-based practices in mental health promotion and prevention are practiced in schools, that students have improved mental health.
In Ontario, publicly funded School Mental Health ASSIST is doing extremely important work to support teachers, administrators, schools and school boards to develop high quality school mental health practices. And curriculum is an important tool to teach kids about mental health.
We also should think about the need to support and educate vulnerable kids like LGBTQ+ and transgender kids, who have suicide rates way above the average. Educating kids will also reduce the risk for these groups.
Another component that we need to consider including in curriculum is additional education regarding cannabis as it is legalized this fall. Too often we see kids using cannabis because they feel anxious and so teaching about mental health and cannabis is important foundational learning for today’s kids.
Last year’s curriculum had important mental health components and we need to ensure that the new curriculum does too. Make sure you share your priorities in the important parent consultation in the fall. We’ll send a reminder out when the process is posted.