Young people aged 15 to 21 are 1.2 billion of the world’s population – about 15 percent of the world’s population of 6 billion. According to Statistics Canada, teenagers and young adults aged 15-24 experience the highest incidence of mental disorders of any age group in Canada. The second leading cause of death for young people is suicide.
Schools must deal with this reality and yet, most are under-equipped and trained and inadequately supported to handle such complex issues as mental health in education. The school environment poses very clear challenges to a young person with mental health issues.
Having understanding, flexible and trained administrators, teachers and school healthcare professionals who offer timely, effective and coordinated responses to individual issues of mental health could make a difference. However, the reality for most schools is that there is no system in place or adequate funding available to respond to mental health issues to ensure that individualized, inclusive, coordinated and compassionate responses are explored with students and their families and teachers.