Mental health issues remain at the forefront in School district 70, said Vancouver Island medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback.
“In the past few years I’ve been coming and talking about general health issues, but when I listen very carefully, probably the No. 1 issues that come from schools are the issues of what is perceived as increasing challenges of mental health and mental well-being among students and increased behavioural challenges,” he told SD70 trustees.
Hasselback took it upon himself to take a look at data surrounding mental health for the province, not to provide solutions, but to get people talking and learning about the education available.
When Hasselback looked at data regarding adolescent issues, which are typically Grade 9 to 12 students from the Central Island, he found students reported more challenges of mental well-being than other cities in B.C.
“Some of the numbers about our adolescents in terms of extreme despairs, stress, depression are probably much higher than we would feel comfortable with,” he said. “They haven’t changed a lot over a couple decades but they’re still at a level I think we should remain concerned about.”
Hasselback added that over the past six or seven years “we’ve seen significant increases in students that are completing high school within six years of the time they started.”