JANUARY 26, 2022
TORONTO - The COVID-19 pandemic has affected society in many ways, especially the most vulnerable in our communities. Children and youth have been no exception as they continue to deal with the negative impacts of COVID-19 and mental health issues as a result of continuous school closures and isolation from peers.
In response to these concerns, the Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC) is calling on the Government of Ontario to allow students to be absent from school for mental or behavioural health reasons; under an excused absence as outlined in the Education Act. The government must also ensure that students who do choose to take Mental Health Days are not required to provide their school with a doctor's note.
The calls for Mental Health Days coincide with the release of the TYC’s student mental health survey. 1042 Ontario students between the ages of 12 to 19 were asked about the state of their mental health and recommendations they would like to see implemented by the provincial government as well as school boards in the province to better address the rising youth mental health crisis Ontario students are facing. The survey results can be found on our Instagram and Twitter, @TOYouthCabinet.
“We’ve lost too many people due to our schools and government’s neglect to properly address student mental health. Ensuring our students are able to access Mental Health Days will not only emphasize the importance of self care and prioritizing mental health, but will aid in destigmatizing mental health and allow for more open conversations amongst students, parents and teachers.”
Stephen Mensah, Executive Director.
Director of Internal Affairs
Toronto Youth Cabinet
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