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Responding to mental health issues in the classroom

May 31, 2011

Responding to mental health issues in the classroom

One in five children and adolescents in Ontario is struggling with a serious mental health issue including depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Last year alone, 150 young people in Ontario committed suicide. And it’s teachers who often find themselves on the frontlines of a mental health crisis.

Now thanks to the generosity of the late Walter M. Lobb, BA’76, BEd’78, MEd’93, teachers will be able to obtain the knowledge to better equip themselves to respond to their students’ mental health needs.

Mr. Lobb, a former educator, left a generous bequest of $470,000 to the Faculty of Education to establish the Walter M. Lobb Mental Health for Educators program within the Centre for Inclusive Education. As well, a portion of the funds will be used to endow an Ontario Graduate Scholarship for a graduate student working in the area of mental health for educators.

Professor Alan Leschied, one of the Centre’s leaders, says teachers are often the first and sometimes the only ones to whom a child or adolescent will disclose a personal issue. He says the bequest from Mr. Lobb “will enable us to provide knowledge to teachers of mental health issues that they will encounter with their students and know how to respond.”

Professor Leschied said this gift will also provide support to teachers in dealing with their own mental well-being.

This article appeared in the Spring 2011 edition of Impact Western
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