In the past year, there have been few days when I haven’t read or watched a story about mental health in the newspapers, on the internet or on television. For example, in Monday’s Globe and Mail, there was an article in the front section on how police officers across the country are being trained to deal with individuals with mental health issues. The statistics suggest that at least one in five children will deal with a mental health issue. If the statistics are to be believed, and given that our school population is just over 300 students, approximately 60 of our students and their families will have to meet this challenge in the coming years. Dealing with a mental health issue will be difficult for a family. I know as I have seen many families deal with this in my role as an educator, and I have experienced it as a Dad.
I am so thankful to see the media, companies, educators and the government openly talking about this issue. For too long there has been a stigma associated with mental health issues. We need to continue the dialogue. A number of schools in the Etobicoke community, including ours, have been doing their part to encourage dialogue about mental health and children. Last spring, we brought in a professional to talk to our teachers about anxiety and depression in children, and we began making plans with the help of two outstanding parent volunteers to put on an information evening for our community.
On Tuesday, January 24th at 7 p.m. in Canada Hall we will be hosting a panel discussion at KCS about mental health and children. We have four excellent speakers on the topic who will provide you with guidance on the signs to look for in your children, who will talk about their experiences both professionally and personally in dealing with the issue, and who will suggest the resources that are available in the community for families (please click here for more information about this event). Most importantly, we believe our evening will help to break down the stigma attached to mental health and provide families with the hope they will need should they have to deal with a mental health issue with their child.
Two years ago, I wish I knew more about this issue than I do now. It would have helped my wife and our family in so many ways. I encourage you to be part of the dialogue on January 24th.
Head of School