Physical & Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) released two reports about mental health within the classroom. These reports showed that there is a large gap between what teachers are expected to do in terms of recognizing and assisting students who may be suffering from mental health problems, and the training that teachers receive to prepare them for this role. Teachers simply do not feel as though they have received enough training to feel equipped for this role. There is a high need for mental health support within the classroom. Statistics show that one in five students under the age of eighteen suffers from at least one mental health issue. This means that a teacher can expect to have a minimum of four students in their class in need of extra mental health support. The problem arising is that teachers don’t receive enough education as to how to support those students while maintaining positive mental health amongst their classmates.
Based on their findings, PHE Canada says that teacher education programs do not provide enough training to teacher candidates in terms of positive mental health education and resiliency development. This holds true for teacher candidates with regards to their own mental health as well as for their future students. After the studies were complete, PHE Canada held focus groups consisting of teachers, parents, and principals to discuss how they felt of about the results. The outcome was the same, there wasn’t enough education, training and support to help students in need of mental health support.
Many Canadians depend on teachers to recognize whether or not a student is suffering from a mental health issue, almost as much as they depend on their family doctor. With these findings, PHE Canada released five key recommendations to help better prepare teachers to meet their students’ needs surrounding mental health. These five recommendations include providing better training to pre-service teachers, providing opportunities for in-service teachers to learn about up-to-date strategies, and the identification of positive mental health and resiliency outcomes by provincial curricula for all grades (kindergarten to grade 12).
For more information, you can read the full PHE Canada article here.
Dewar, B. (2014). New report reveals teachers need more support to help manage mental health in the classroom. PHE Canada. Retrieved from http://www.phecanada.ca/resources/news/new-report-reveals-teachers-need-more-support-help-manage-mental-health-classroom.