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Teachers trained to support children's mental health in schools

Dr. Stan Kutcher, second from right, and minister Jordan Brown discuss the training with participants Karen Milligan, of Alberton Elementary, from the left; Norah Pendergast, of Kinkora Regional; and Andrea Garland, of Public Schools Branch.
Dr. Stan Kutcher, from right. - Submitted

Island teachers trained to detect mental health disorders in the classroom

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - More than 30 Island teachers will now be able to detect mental health issues in the classroom after they recently received master training in mental health literacy and how to deliver a new provincial mental health curriculum.

The new curriculum, developed and taught by renowned mental health expert Dr. Stan Kutcher, will be incorporated in schools across the province over the next year.

“Mental health literacy is the foundation for all mental health improvements because it helps us to understand the difference between the normal stresses of life and when we should seek help for a mental health issue,” said Jordan Brown, the minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture.

“When we build mental health literacy in our schools, we have much more opportunity to support student well-being and achievement, and to prevent and reduce mental health issues that can escalate in later life,” he added.

Kutcher trained 28 teachers and student well-being team members in Summerside, plus two community mental health experts from the Canadian Mental Health Association and Health P.E.I.

His curriculum has been scientifically shown to improve mental health related outcomes for students and also for their teachers.

Kutcher said more than 70 per cent of mental health problems are diagnosed during the period from adolescence to age 25, a time when many people are in school.

“Schools are the best place to address literacy because the students and teaching resources are already in place and once the capacity is built into the school system, it stays there,” he said.

“Island educators are very enthusiastic about this opportunity to increase their knowledge of mental health and share it will their colleagues and students, as well as their family and friends.”

The new master trainers can now inform their families and fellow colleagues.

An online support program is available for teachers to increase their own mental health literacy and learn more about how to apply the web-based, modular mental health curriculum resource in Grades 7 through 10.

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