HALIFAX, July 12, 2012 /CNW/ - According to a recent national survey of
3,900 teachers, many Canadians schools are ill-equipped and
under-resourced to adequately support the mental health of students.
This recurring theme emerged from the survey conducted by the Canadian
Teachers' Federation (CTF) last winter. Findings were released today
at the opening of the Federation's Annual General Meeting currently
underway in Halifax.
The CTF survey set out to examine the teachers' perspective on issues
related to student mental health and well-being in Canadian schools,
including their perceptions of factors that may act as potential
barriers to the provision of mental health services for students.
Teachers were also asked about their level of preparedness to address
the mental health issues that they may face.
"As teachers, we want to be part of the important emerging conversation
about child and youth mental illness and mental health. As a society,
we all need to work together to raise awareness, provide timely
supports, and reduce and ultimately eliminate harmful stigma," says CTF
President Paul Taillefer.
"Along with certified teachers, schools need educational assistants,
psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals to support
students. However, 89 % of teachers who responded to our survey said
there is a shortage of school-based mental health professionals."
Most teachers reported they have not received any professional
development in the area of student mental health. Over 96% of teachers
indicated they wanted professional development opportunities and that
the lack of provision of training could be a barrier to recognizing and
understanding mental health issues in children, and to implementing
strategies for working with children with externalizing behaviour
Here are additional survey findings regarding pressing mental health
9 in 10 teachers identified attention deficit disorders (ADD) and
attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), as well as learning
disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia were
79% of teachers agreed that stress (i.e. students feeling over-stressed)
was a pressing concern, including one-third who "strongly" agreed.
73% of teachers agreed that anxiety disorders were a pressing concern
including 24% who "strongly" agreed.
a majority of teachers (59%) agreed that depression disorders were a
pressing concern including 16% who "strongly" agreed.
"What teachers told us in this survey should be a call to action for all
education partners," concluded Taillefer. "This survey should help to
inform the discussion about the role of schools and teachers in
promoting student health and well-being and addressing mental illness."
The online survey, conducted Feb. 6-17, 2012, drew the responses of
2,324 elementary school teachers and 1,603 secondary school teachers in
both English schools (including immersion) and French as a first
language schools thanks to participating CTF Member organizations.
CTF acknowledges the valuable support provided by the Mental Health
Commission of Canada for assisting in the survey development and
analysis. The full report, Understanding Teachers' Perspectives on Student Mental Health, is available on the CTF Web site at www.ctf-fce.ca.
An alliance of 15 Member organizations and one Affiliate Member
representing nearly 200,000 teachers across the country, the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) is a member of the international body of teachers, Education International (EI).
Follow CTF on Twitter @CTFPresident, @CanTeachersFed, @EnseigneCanada
SOURCE Canadian Teachers' Federation
For further information:
Comments: Paul Taillefer, CTF President
Contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-899-4247 (cell)