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Addressing mental health

April 1, 2012

Addressing mental health
Teacher candidates at Western's Faculty of Education participated in the first full-day seminar to learn how to address mental health challenges in the classroom.

Thanks to the generosity of former elementary school teacher, Walter M. Lobb, BA'78, BEd'79, MEd'93, Western's Faculty of Education has launched a new mental health program and scholarship fund to address the needs of teachers who deal with students' mental health issues every day.

An elementary school teacher for nearly 40 years in the Chatham area, Mr. Lobb left a bequest of $430,000 to Western. The funding will enable educators, front-line workers and experts in mental health to conduct workshops and seminars at the Faculty of Education. Following the official announcement on November 25, Western's 700 teacher candidates participated in the first full-day seminar featuring keynote speaker Dr. Ian Manion, Executive Director of the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health.

"Teachers are on the front lines," says professor Alan Leschied, one of the Western faculty members coordinating the Lobb program. "They are very often the most trusted, if not the only, person in whom a child in need might confide. There is an enormous gap in resources and expertise. Our teachers need help to deal with this growing and troubling issue."

Recent surveys indicate as many as 20 per cent of children aged four to 17 years old have clinically important disorders at any given time.

Additionally, the Walter M. Lobb Ontario Graduate Scholarship will be awarded to a graduate student conducting research in the Faculty of Education, focused on children's mental health.


This article appeared in the Spring 2012 edition of Impact Western
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