As we look to the future of our country it is necessary to pause and ask a substantive question: Are the kids all right? While Canada stands tall on the accomplishments and talents of its youngest citizens, there ripples an undercurrent of fear that children and youth in Canada are not doing so well. While the majority of our children are self-reporting that they are not only surviving but thriving, news headlines and popular discourse would lead us to believe that our youth are fraught with anger, disillusionment, lack of focus, and even a crisis of mental and physical illness.
As it turns out, the majority of our children and youth are doing more than just “all right.” However, there is a significant minority who are not coping well. In particular, mental health is an identifiable concern for about one in five children and youth, but more troubling is the difficulty all children and youth (and their families) have in accessing services and professionals to strengthen and remediate mental health functioning. As a prosperous and progressive nation, Canada is simply not acknowledging or supporting the mental health needs of its youth and this needs to change.
One solution to this problem is briefly explored – a school-based mental health framework. This not only addresses the issue of accessibility, but empowers families, schools, and communities to come together to support the development of mental health for all Canadian children and youth. In this way, children and families are empowered to demonstrate their fullest potential in ways that will make our nation stronger.
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