Aug 18, 2017, Halifax (Nova Scotia) Chronicle Herald: OPINION: Local mental health guide a promising tool for teachers http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1495662-opinion-local-mental-health-guide-a-promising-tool-for-teachers Seeing some 400 teachers and school service providers flooding into the Halifax West High School auditorium in late July was an eye-opening experience. In the middle of the summer, they committed time to a two-day conference focusing on child and teen mental health. Led by Dr. Stan Kutcher, the Mental Health Academy was filling a real need in the school system. With the news full of stories warning of a “mental health crisis,” teachers in the K-12 system are feeling anxious and more conscious than ever of their role in the front lines of education. … While the incidence of teen mental health problems is not appreciably different than it was 50 years ago, we are far better equipped to respond to the challenges in and around schools. The academy amply demonstrated how much more we know today about adolescent brain development, school staff self-care, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance addictions, and teen suicide. Educating teachers about that research is the real purpose of the academy.… About one in five people may experience a mental disorder during adolescence. If left unrecognized and untreated, such disorders can lead to substantial negative outcomes in physical and mental health, academic and vocational achievement, interpersonal relationships, and other life experiences. … A recent Canadian study of some 10,000 educators, cited by IWK Health researcher Dr. Yifeng Wei at the academy, found that over 90 per cent of teachers lacked adequate preparation for responding to mental health issues.