This project will be primarily focused on establishing ‘mental health’ as an excusable absence and offering possible interventions for what the data shows. Mental illness is one of the most non-discriminative aspects of our existence. It connects us while tearing us away from one another due to the harsh stigma around this issue. According to a statistic from SAYCW’s research in 2019, 38.6% of youth reported symptoms of depression, and that statistic rose to 48.3% among students who were being bullied. It is also important to highlight that in 2017 the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that suicide was the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults aged 15-34. Not only as educators but as human beings, we can no longer ignore this crisis. As the pandemic has negatively impacted the economy, it is clear that it has also affected the mental well-being of youth in Saskatchewan. SAYCW highlights the implications of the pandemic. In their report entitled “COVID-19 Connections,” they note that increased stress due to the pandemic resulted in higher rates of anxiety and feelings of loneliness and depression. COVID-19 is creating more opportunities for mental health to plummet as isolation, alternative scheduling, lack of active lifestyles, reduction of extra-curricular opportunities, and in some cases, being in unsafe environments highlights the urgency as to why we need to greatly support our youth. We must take immediate and decisive action.
Project Timeline: 2022-ongoing
Project Partners: Youth with lived experience – Kiah Holness