Dec 15, 2019, British Columbia Times Colonist: Geoff Johnson: Our educators need mental-health literacy more than ever https://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/geoff-johnson-our-educators-need-mental-health-literacy-more-than-ever-1.24035232 A report from the Canadian Mental Health Association that up to 20 per cent — or one in five — of young Canadians in 2019 are affected by a mental illness or disorder is obviously troubling, especially to those, teachers and others, who work with kids every day. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse are now common for this age group. The CMHA estimates that about five per cent of young men and 12 per cent of young women between 12 and 19 have experienced severe depression. In the Global TV series Tortured Mind, researchers reported that a growing number of Canadian kids are grappling with mental-health concerns but aren’t receiving treatment for their symptoms. … Compared with the challenges kids face today, growing up as my generation did in the late ’50s and early ’60s was a relatively straightforward process…. Research results on the topic of media influence on adolescent behaviour are mixed. One study shows, for example, that watching violent media renders us less empathetic to the suffering of others, but not that lack of concern for others necessarily makes us more violent…. There is, according to a 2013 report from the consortium, sufficient research evidence in the area of mental health in schools to require policy-and-practice directions in Canada….
Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.