Approximately 1.2 million, or 1 in 5, Canadian children and youth has a mental health challenge – 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 dropout rates, which in turn, have substantial negative economic and social consequences. Adolescents who dropout of school have reduced lifetime earnings, poorer health, increased substance use and greater marital instability. They are also considerably more likely to be unemployed and economically dependent and to be involved in the legal system as a result of criminal behaviour. Further, post-secondary dropout 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.
Building on its internationally recognized professorial talent in the related fields of mental health, OISE has started a conversation within and in the broader community, to develop a proposal for a major campaign based on the general theme of Mental Health through Education.