TCDSB chair Ann Andrachuk. Register file photo

TCDSB takes aim at mental health

By 
  • May 3, 2013

TORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board has joined forces with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) to combat student mental health ailments.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada says one in five Canadians experience some degree of mental health concerns. That translates into about 20 per cent of students who could be suffering from depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies, leading to poor academic performance, anti-social behaviour and occasionally complete withdrawal from the education system.

“The board recognizes that approximately 20 per cent of young people in the province are living with mental health challenges,” said Ann Andrachuk, the Toronto board’s chair. “We are pleased to be working in partnership with CCAC to provide supports to these young people.”

“We’re delighted to bring our mental health nursing expertise to the students of the Toronto Catholic District School Board,” said Dipti Purbhoo, senior director client services for Toronto Central CCAC, in a release. “This complements the family and student-centred work we currently do in the schools with health support services (and) continues our frontline work with students and continues to help children most in need.”

Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, CCAC is an information resource that aims to provide seamless transition through various health system services. It has 14 Ontario locations.

Through CCAC, the board will have access to three mental health and addiction nurses who will function as an educational resource for staff, students and parents. They will raise awareness of mental health issues, greater knowledge of the effects of medications, better understanding of substance abuse issues and resources as well as helping to close the critical gap when students transfer to and from psychiatric care.

These areas of concern were identified through internal research last school year, as the provincial government requested all boards to do following its 2011 report on mental health, leading to conversations between the board and CCAC.

“The way that our partnership will help students is by helping them access high quality services both in the community and with the nurses,” said Patricia Marra- Stapleton, the board’s mental health leader.

“I’m really pleased with the collaboration that has gone on with our board and Toronto Central CCAC.”
For Marra-Stapleton, support for students with mental health concerns is essential to ensuring academic success.

“Student achievement is not attainable without good mental health,” she said. “Mental health underpins all academic achievements and we know this through a vast array of research and evidence and out of good clinical practice and observation.”

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