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Edit the Ontario Health Curriculum to Include more on Mental Health

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Inspired by the We Give Consent girls, I read the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculums for both grades 1-8 and 9-12.  As a grade twelve student with mental illness, I could not find much mention in the curriculum regarding mental health. In grades 1-8, there is talk about addiction, addictive behaviours and the warning signs for this. There was limited information about any mental illness! In grades 9-12, there is only great mention of mental health in grade 11. By this time, most students have completed their one "phys and sex ed" mandatory credit, and therefore are missing out on this information.

As a student who recently had to spend about four weeks on "hiatus" from school because of mental illness, I strongly believe that mental health should be a topic in grades 7-12.

According to (http://www.iccd.org/keyfacts.html) half of people who have mental illness will start showing signs at age 14.

At the beginning of each curriculum there is a claim that mental illness will be a current theme throughout all the topics covered, but in reality I have never been to a class where we openly talked about mental illness and the stigma surrounding it.

Stigma is the killer.

Many people are afraid to talk about mental health for the fear of being stigmatized, and in the end do not get the help they need. I know, as I am a victim of this. Everyone has mental health, but not everyone has the misfortune of being labeled the 1/5 Canadian with mental illness.

Mental health and therefore mental illness is invisible and can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Imagine needing help and never being able to ask for it. This is part of the stigma surrounding mental health, because no one wants to be a "freak."

Well this "freak" does not want other kids to suffer from the stigma surrounding mental health and this is why I would like to have a more intensive education program about mental health.

Twitter: @FforHumanRights



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