In Canada, during any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental illness or addiction, and by the time Canadians reach the age of 40, 1 in 2 have experienced a mental illness.1
With more than 1 million Canadian youth suffering from a mental disorder, mental illness in children and youth is highly prevalent and has a large impact on their social, interpersonal, and economic outcomes in life.2 Each year in Canada there are approximately 4000 deaths by suicide of which over 90% were individuals living with a mental health problem or illness.3 In the general population, suicide is the 9th leading cause of death while amongst individuals aged 10-29, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death.4
With suicide being a leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults, it is clear that child and youth mental health calls for more attention; however, there is no cohesive national vison or approach guiding how mental health for this vulnerable group should be addressed.5
HCI, along with our partners, wants to see a Canada where mental health is a national priority. To achieve this, we are taking steps to address mental health among children and adolescents by working with Naseeha Mental Health on innovative programs.
We are proud to announce that in 2020 HCI will be hosting an Educator’s Retreat with Naseeha Mental Health to provide educators in Ontario with the tools and resources they need to support the mental health and wellbeing of their students. This endeavour is geared towards private school teachers who due to financial constraints of their institution lack access to mental health training. By pairing theoretical information with real data collected by Naseeha Mental Health’s helpline, we will have impact-driven sessions that address very real problems our community is facing.
During our time with the educators, we hope to address key topics such as cyberbullying, coping with depression, facilitation of healthy conversations, mindful parenting techniques, and many more. The retreat will be facilitated by mental health professionals and educations who will not only present informative content but also lead meaningful discussions to create an environment of compassion and support. Our goal is to ensure that each educator leaves the retreat with a toolkit of strategies they can leverage within their own classrooms every day. We understand that each classroom is its own microcosm with unique students with differing mental health needs; however, our aim is to build capacity within teachers so they can manage students of all needs in a manner that ensures that the student is put first.
Stay tuned for more details on our Educator’s Retreat.
Author: Komal Ayub
January 28, 2020
 Kutcher, S., Hampton, M. J., & Wilson, J. (2010). Child and adolescent mental health policy and plans in Canada: An analytical review. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(2), 100-107.