Professional Learning

Mental Health

Seventy per cent of mental illnesses have their onset during childhood or adolescence (Government of Canada, 2006).

From anxiety and depression to severe emotional disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, one in five Canadians under the age of 18 suffers from at least one mental health problem or illness. Yet, only 1 in 6 children or youth receive professional help for mental health issues. For those who do receive help, services are often inadequate (Canadian Psychiatric Association, 2012; Koller & Bertel, 2006).


Addressing youth mental health requires a two-pronged approach. Those currently confronting a mental health issue or illness need prompt access to appropriate professional support. Additionally, all children and youth must be taught the skills that will help them achieve and maintain positive mental health so that, in the face of future challenges, they possess the resiliency to thrive.

Teachers cannot be expected to diagnose a mental illness. But in the life of a struggling student, they are a caring and supportive member of the young person’s community. Teachers need the training and skills to understand how a student’s mental health impacts their learning, how to find supports and resources locally, how to connect with families, and how to take care of their own well-being.


The following reports present the research findings of a 2014 study of mental health perceptions and training within the Canadian education system