QUEEN'S PARK - Chandra Pasma (Ottawa West-Nepean), NDP Education Critic, responded to Minister of Education Stephen Lecce's recent announcement on mental health curriculum, stating that it would have a more significant positive impact if students could access mental health supports, as well.
"As a parent and the Ontario NDP Education Critic, I have seen first-hand the impact of the Ford Conservatives' underinvestment in mental health support on our students," said Pasma. "While I appreciate today's announcement of an enhanced mental health curriculum, it is a day late and a dollar short. Today's announcement should have included plans to bring more mental health supports to students and to address the significant shortage of teachers and education workers."
Pasma emphasized the urgent need for a more comprehensive approach that includes investing in more mental health resources and supports for students and ensuring that education workers and staff are adequately trained and equipped to address these complex issues. She noted that half of Ontario's schools currently lack mental health resources.
"It's unacceptable that less than one in ten schools have regularly scheduled access to a mental health professional. We need to prioritize mental health education in schools, but we must also back it up with the necessary resources and investments. The reality is that teaching kids deep breathing exercises will not cut it, especially for those with ongoing mental health challenges. Our students are being let down by a government that fails to prioritize their well-being."