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Mental health: Is there enough support for students and youth?

Categories: Canada, Health

A summit in Toronto on Thursday is aiming to shine a spotlight on the issue of mental health support for students and youth. (iStock)

By CBC News

The mental health of children and youth is the focus of a summit in Toronto on Thursday that hopes to jettison the issue into the minds of policy makers.

Students with mental health issues "perform less well in school and frequently disengage over time," says the Ontario Public School Boards' Association, which helped organize the summit.

The OPSBA says school districts in the province are "extremely concerned about student mental health, and feel ill-prepared to deal with the magnitude of the problem."

Ayesha Jabbar, now 21, was 15 when she first attempted suicide. Her parents had recently divorced, her mother had remarried and she was estranged from her father when she "ended up getting really depressed," she says.

"I realized I needed help when I was constantly crying, everyday," Jabbar told CBC's Metro Morning. "I didn't want to leave my room. I felt so isolated, I felt no one was hearing me out."

It was Jabbar's guidance counselor who identified her depression and suggested she seek psychiatric help. But she wonders where she'd be today if her symptoms had never been noticed.

"There needs to be a 'Mental Health 101'," Jabbar said. "Every year, there needs to be a workshop, and we need to go through 'What is bi-polar? What is depression? What is schizophrenia? How do we recognize these signs?'"

What is your experience with student mental health, as a student, parent, educator or health professional? Do you feel there is enough support in place to help Canada's students and youth with mental health issues?

Please share your experience with us, either by leaving a comment below or by emailing us privately at

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

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