Manitoba students call for funds to show teachers how to spot mental illness
Mental health event for youth calls on Province of Manitoba to fund mental illness training for teachers
A group of Winnipeg students is calling on the Province of Manitoba to give better training to teachers to help identify mental illness.
The call came today at a mental health event created by youth for youth called Peace of Mind 204 attended by 200 students and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.
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"You may as well have that conversation," said Loizza Aquino, who organized the event. "Even if it is a touchy awkward conversation, if it saves lives, it's always going to be worth it."
Aquino lost a friend to suicide in June and was spurred to create the event, which had people share their personal experiences with depression and suicide.
Taylor Demetrioff was one of them.
"Their minds are changing – everything's changing. Plus, they have to deal with social issues like learning social norms and dating and all this stuff," he said. "Also, you decide on your future and what you're going to do with the rest of your life."
Thursday's event had music and therapy dogs as well as a dose of political pressure.
Aquino said one in five students battle mental illness, and she wants to see teachers better equipped to spot signs of mental illness among their students.
Selinger said it's an idea worth looking into.
"It absolutely is an option. As you know, we brought in anti-bullying legislation, and it empowers schools to work on plans to make schools safer places."