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TDSB launches new mental health initiative

The Toronto District School Board will train all staff on mental health issues and create mental health teams at all schools, TDSB Director Donna Quan announced Tuesday.

Quan outlined the Board’s new commitments to student mental health on Tuesday as part of a four-year plan called ‘Healthy Schools. Healthy Relationships.’

The TDSB will also double the number of secondary schools engaged in anti-stigma initiatives by June, expand and strengthen mental health partnerships, and improve parental engagement and communication between home and school.

“Students, parents and staff at every level…will be able to better identify concerns and know what to do when they or someone they know needs help,” Quan said Tuesday.

“Your mental health matters to us. Your mental health matters to your future. And we care about you.”

A 2011-12 census conducted by the TDSB highlighted mental health issues among young students. It found that 73 per cent of students between grades 9-12 worry about their future, and over a third of students in the age group are nervous or anxious ‘often’ or ‘all of the time.’

“We know that when the right supports are offered, every student can achieve their full potential,” TDSB Chair Chris Bolton said in a release. “Our goal is to address any gaps that exist and provide the right tools to our students.”

Educators like Cathy Sartory welcomed the news that teachers would be armed with new mental health training.

“I’m thrilled to hear that we are doing this,” the Rosedale Heights teacher told CityNews. “I think it’s wonderful. It’s a great opportunity.”

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