It's Time to Make Mental Illnesses a Part of Ontario's Secondary School Curriculum.
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In Canada 10 – 20% of youth are affected by mental illness, and 3.2 million youth ages 12-19 are at risk of developing depression. Canada’s suicide rate is third highest in the industrialized world. Unfortunately, youth do not know how to identify mental health illnesses, they do not know how cope with mental illnesses or people they know with mental health illnesses, and most importantly they do not know how -or are afraid- to get help. There is a stigma around mental health illnesses that needs to be addressed, almost half of those who feel they have suffered depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor due to stigma. People are not seeking help despite the fact that all mental health illnesses are treatable. We have classes that teach us of the importance of taking care of our physical and sexual health. However, there are no classes teaching the importance of our mental health, despite the fact that mental health is integral to our overall health. Educating youth on the importance of taking care of our mental health will help to protect them and end the stigma. We request that one week of mental health illness education be added to the secondary school physical education curriculum in Ontario.
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