Conference: Educators well-placed to lead change in children and youth mental health
On April 7-8, 2016, the MHCC sponsored and presented at the 2nd annual Canadian Educators Conference on Mental Health. Hosted by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, the conference brought together more than 300 educators and school board leaders to discuss the latest resources, programs and tools to inform and inspire educators on all matters mental health.
“Educators are uniquely placed to make a difference,” says Louise Bradley, MHCC President and CEO. “Therefore we must ensure they have the resources to identify and address youth mental health issues, as well as appropriate supports for their own mental health burdens.”
With that in mind, the MHCC presented on two key fronts. Given that 60% of teachers identify work as their main source of stress, the MHCC showcased tools like the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, and Mental Health First Aid, which can enhance knowledge and augment resilience.
Further, a staggering 93.9% of teachers in Ontario feel their training did not adequately prepare them to address the mental health needs of their students. To help demonstrate a means to close this gap, the MHCC presented a second workshop that highlighted how evidence-based anti-stigma programs, like HEADSTRONG, are having a lasting and positive impact in school communities across the country. Participants learned how to replicate HEADSTRONG summits, and break down the barriers of shame and embarrassment that so often prevent people from seeking the help they need.
“We are pleased to be empowering teachers and students,” says Bradley. “And we are delighted that our sessions were well attended.”
Dianne Woloschuk, Former President of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, echoed Bradley’s message. “As a society, we must work together to raise awareness, provide timely supports and reduce — and ultimately eliminate — harmful stigma…and share ideas aimed at assisting teachers and students in the classroom.”