The University of British Columbia is making strides towards eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness by incorporating a new curriculum into their Bachelor of Education program.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, approximately 3.2 million Canadians (aged 12 to 19) are at risk of experiencing depression—but only one in five who need help will access mental health services.
Suicide is also prevalent among today’s youth and is the second-leading cause of death for Canadians (aged 15 to 24).
The current program at UBC allows teacher candidates to take an elective course on mental health, but the new online resource (which includes lesson plans and teaching ideas on the topic) will make mental health literacy a necessary component in their studies.
“Teachers are on the frontlines of mental health care for youth,” said Wendy Carr, associate dean in UBC’s Teacher Education Office. “We want our teacher candidates to feel prepared to start their careers with the skills they need to spot a student in crisis, better understand the mental health challenges facing young people and know where and how to find support.”
The curriculum will allow future teachers to gain the knowledge and skill-set needed to talk about mental health disorders (such as depression and anxiety), in the classroom.
With teachers having such a big impact on youth, the hope is they will be able to identify and support students who may require mental health services.
For more information, visit the UBC website.
Written by: Meagan Gill
Image via UBC