TORONTO, Feb. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health
Sciences (Ontario Shores) today announced the expansion of its
Adolescent Mental Health Literacy Program to four additional Ontario school boards and two private schools: Thames
Valley District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board,
Toronto District School Board, Waterloo Region District School Board,
St. Clement's School and Upper Canada College.
More than 300 teachers, educators and allied staff took part in this
week's training to help bring mental health curriculum into schools.
The curriculum and training will support education and awareness, help
identify youth with mental health struggles and reduce stigma.
In Canada, approximately 20 per cent of adolescents suffer from some
sort of mental disorder, but very few receive the care they need.
Without support and specialized treatment, these youth can face
struggles that create the possibility for failure at school, social
isolation, self-harm and/or suicide.
As a leading provider of specialized mental health care, Ontario Shores
knows that a lack of understanding and mental health stigma are key
factors as to why so many youth are not identified or do not get the
help they need. Education and reducing the stigma of mental illness are
vital in order to change those numbers.
Seventeen schools from Durham, Peterborough and Northumberland area
school boards piloted the program in October 2011 with great success,
sparking overwhelming interest from schools and school boards across
Ontario and showing there is a great need for this initiative.
"One in 5 children and youth suffer from a psychiatric illness yet the
majority are not getting the care required," says Glenna Raymond,
President and CEO of Ontario Shores. "By bringing mental health
curriculum into our schools, training educators and supporting it with
anti-stigma tools we hope to see earlier identification of mental
health issues and care for all those young people in need."
Based on the work by Dr. Stan Kutcher, a world leader in adolescent
mental health, and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), the
program curriculum provides a complete set of educational tools to
increase understanding of mental health and mental illnesses among
teachers, educators, students and primary healthcare providers; with
the goal to eliminate stigma and promote early identification and
"When young people, their teachers and their health providers are
literate about mental health and mental disorders they can: educate
others; change the stigma against mental disorders into understanding
and support; provide best evidence-based care and together move the
health and wellbeing of young people in a positive direction," says Dr.
Kutcher. "It is a privilege to be part of this important movement."
Ontario Shores partnered with Dr. Kutcher to deliver the program that
consists of four key components: a best practice mental health
curriculum to better equip educators to teach about mental illness; a
teacher training workshop that trains educators on how to best use the
curriculum in their classrooms; a gatekeeper training program which
trains key school personnel to identify young people who may have a
mental illness, and how to appropriately triage and refer; and, a
primary health care provider training program that addresses the four
most common mental illnesses in adolescents.
The four components together ensure an integrated program geared to
support adolescents at all levels: with increased mental health
awareness amongst their peers and their teachers; the encouragement to
seek help if needed; educators trained in early identification tools;
and appropriate access to treatment and care.
The program is an excellent example of healthcare partnering with
education to achieve positive results and true impact. "Ontario Shores
has done an outstanding job in working with school boards and other
involved participants to energetically and significantly bring
fundamental components of mental health literacy into Ontario secondary
schools and to primary care health providers," said Dr. Kutcher.
This brings the total training to more than 450 people. Moving forward,
Ontario Shores anticipates continued expansion of the program.
Ontario Shores is also enhancing its "You're Not Alone" awareness
campaign, which is carefully designed to serve as a booster to the
program activity in the schools, with a documentary about adolescent
mental health currently in production. The campaign uses print and
multimedia online, in schools and at targeted Mac's Milk convenience
stores to increase awareness of mental illness and decrease stigma
Additional Comments: Please find attached quotes from our new program partners.
About Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores):
Ontario Shores is a leader in mental health care, providing a spectrum
of specialized assessment and treatment services for people living with
complex mental illness. Patients benefit from a recovery-oriented
environment of care, built on compassion, inspiration and hope. Ontario
Shores engages in research, education and advocacy initiatives to
advance the mental health care system.
For more information on the You're Not Alone campaign or to see how your
school can get involved visit http://www.ontarioshores.ca/education/highschoolandelementary/
SOURCE Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
For further information:
Chris Bovie, Community Relations Officer
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
905-430-4055 ext. 6574 Cell: 905-995-2443 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org