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Mental Health Week: How OISE profs “Get Loud” for mental health

Mental health issues affect 1.2 million Canadian youth 

Mental Health Week: How OISE profs “Get Loud” for mental health

For the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 65th Annual Mental Health Week, the organization is asking Canadians to GET LOUD for mental health. OISE is speaking up!

Getting loud means speaking up to end the discrimination and stigma often associated with mental illness. It means using our voices to raise awareness and support.

At the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), research and scholarship “actions” usually do the “shouting.” This week, some of OISE’s leading-edge scholars are also “getting loud” with their voices to support this year’s event.

Here’s how OISE professors make a difference by ‘getting loud’…

Michele Peterson-BadaliProfessor Michele Peterson-Badali

"As an educator and researcher, I 'get loud' about the importance of understanding and addressing the mental health needs of some of our most vulnerable youth  those in the justice system." 

Michel FerrariProfessor Michel Ferarri

"As an educator and researcher, I 'get loud' about mental health because students’ well-being and quality of life matters more than anything specific I might have to teach them." 

Esther GevaProfessor Esther Geva

"As an educator and researcher, I 'get loud' and teach, and preach whenever and wherever I can about the unmet educational and mental health needs of children and adolescents who come from linguistically and ethnically diverse backgrounds." 

Abby L. GoldsteinProfessor Abby L. Goldstein

"As an educator and researcher, I 'get loud' about mental health because students of all ages need to know that they are not alone and that asking for help  from teachers, professors, friends, family, professionals  is a sign of incredible strength." 

Jenny JenkinsProfessor Jenny Jenkins

"As an educator and researcher, I 'get loud' about what we know about children’s mental health trajectories from the time that children are 18 months old; and why we need to focus our attention on the preschool period to minimize and prevent the mental health problems of adolescence and adulthood." 

Suzanne StewartProfessor Suzanne Stewart

"As an educator and researcher, I 'get loud' about Canadians needing to understand colonial history and how it impacts Aboriginal mental health and education." 

Judith WienerProfessor Judith Wiener

"As an educator and psychologist who works with children and families, I get loud about the stress that parents experience because they typically do not have access to timely and effective mental health and special education interventions for their children’s mental health and learning challenges." 

Background: Mental health through education

Approximately 1.2 million, or 1 in 5, Canadian children and youth has a mental health challenge – and less than 20 percent will receive appropriate treatment.

Mental health difficulties contribute to problems with children’s educational achievement and create challenges for ensuring a safe and engaging classroom climate.

Emotional and behavioural difficulties are also major contributors to high school drop out rates, which in turn, has substantial negative economic and social consequences.

Adolescents who drop out of school have reduced lifetime earnings, poorer health, increased substance use, and greater marital instability. They are also considerably more likely to be unemployed, be economically dependent, and to be involved in the legal system as a result of criminal behaviour.

Further, post-secondary drop out rates during the first year are rising due to undetected or untreated anxiety disorders further exacerbating both human and financial burdens for individuals and society.

Recognizing the high prevalence of mental health problems, and the relatively low rates of community service use, Canada’s Mental Health Strategy (2012) is explicit in recognizing that education settings are critical locations to promote positive mental health, identify and intervene early to prevent the onset of problems, and respond to children and youth in distress.

Seizing these important strategic opportunities requires school-based capacity to support educators and families when it comes to both diagnostic work and sustainable supports that effectively improve the developmental trajectories of children and youth with these special needs.

OISE’s connectivity to, and collaboration, with other organizations and community groups provides positive opportunities for working with students and parents in providing positive supports, early detection and intervention through the education environment.