Toronto School Board Chairman Seeks Help for ‘Regarding Decline’ in Students’ Mental Health – Toronto

The chairman of Ontario’s largest school board has written to all three levels of government, calling for a plan to tackle students’ mental health.

Alexander Brown, chairman of the Toronto District School Board, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Brown said the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in “serious consequences” for young people’s health, including extended time online, lower youth employment and increased family poverty.

“As leaders in education and in government, we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to protect and support the well-being of our children and young people,” he wrote.

Last week, the TDSB chairman wrote a similar letter to Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s education minister, asking for support for kindergarten students.

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Brown called for the creation of a “partnership table” between all three levels of government, Toronto school boards and “other key stakeholders” to develop a response.

The table should work through research on the effects of COVID-19, poverty and violence on children and young people in Toronto, the chairman wrote. It should coordinate access to programs for children in the city and improve data collection to “throw targeted” areas where the need is most critical.

The letter also called for any partnership to increase investment, support and programs for young children.

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In November, the TDSB decided to spend $ 5.9 million from the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 training fund on additional staff.

The board funded positions, including 16 social workers and 35 child and youth workers.

According to Brown’s letter, TDSB data shows a “concerning decline” in metal health for students for 2020, 2021 and 2022. The board has also noted an increase in 20-day suspensions during the pandemic.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada, a non-profit, found isolation and loneliness to be key concerns for young people during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

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“We must work together and deliver a collaborative and strategic approach that will better serve our youth and address the root of this alarming problem,” Brown wrote.

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