Toronto public high school students are more worried about their future than their relationships or family matters, and more than half of them say they're losing sleep over their concerns, a new report suggests.
The Toronto District School Board's latest census of its students showed that 73 per cent of students between Grades 9 and 12 say they are worried about their future, compared to just 46 per cent and 33 per cent of students who were concerned over family matters and relationship issues, respectively.
The report by Canada's largest school board also showed that 57 per cent of students in those grades said they were losing sleep because of their worries, either sometimes or all of the time. About 66 per cent said they were under a lot of stress, sometimes or all of the time.
The wide-ranging 2011 census, which was released Tuesday and had responses from more than 103,000 of its students between Grades 7 and 12, examined their demographics and economic backgrounds as well as their attitudes and well-being.
The results of the survey will be used to develop a mental health strategy, said Shari Schwartz-Maltz, a spokeswoman for the school board.
'What our research showed us is that there's certainly a gap in the area of mental health and we need to focus more of our resources [on that area].' — Shari Schwartz-Maltz, TDSB spokeswoman
This was the first time the board surveyed its students on mental health issues.
"What our research showed us is that there's certainly a gap in the area of mental health and we need to focus more of our resources in the area of mental health," Schwartz-Maltz told the Canadian Press.
"These surveys drive programming in our schools, they give us a snapshot of the way our kids are feeling and they drive what we do."
Junior high students in Grades 7 and 8 were also concerned, with 59 per cent saying they were worried about their future, compared to 45 per cent and 29 per cent of students who were concerned over family matters and relationship issues, respectively.
Among the Grade 7 and 8 students who participated in the survey, 38 per cent said they were losing sleep over their concerns, and 40 per cent felt they were under a lot of stress.