Ontario adds more mental health learning to school curriculum

Ontario is adding new curriculum expectations for Grade 10 students on mental health literacy and giving teachers more resources for students in Grades 7 and 8.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government will also spend $26 million over the next two years to provide mental health resources to students over the summer, so their support isn’t interrupted by the school break.

He made the announcements today alongside Natalie Pierre, who represents the riding of Burlington for the Progressive Conservatives and who has been pushing for more mental health literacy in schools since her teenage son died by suicide a few years ago.

Pierre says this approach is proactive, practical and evidence based, reaching students at a time when mental health issues often emerge, and she hopes the new steps help prevent tragedies like the one her family experienced.

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Ontario’s health and physical education curriculum, updated in 2019, already includes learning on mental health literacy in every grade, but today’s announcement adds curriculum expectations for the Grade 10 career studies course, helping students to recognize signs of being overwhelmed or struggling, as well as where to find help.

As well, teachers of the Grade 7 and 8 health and physical education curriculum will get new lesson plans including student activities, videos, interactive programming and information designed to help students learn how to manage stress and recognize signs and symptoms of a mental health concern.

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