Mental illness a huge challenge

Schools lack the funding to address this widespread issue.

I do not think it is a coincidence that the growth of mental illness in our youth is coming at the same time as a decline in supports in public schools. Research is solid in concluding that early intervention is critical to warding off the long-term and costly effects of mental illness.

Yet, school counsellors with masters degrees in counselling psychology have caseloads of 400-2,000 and struggle to meet this challenge when waiting eight months for their students to receive support from the health system.

Their ability to do preventative work went to the wayside years ago when specialist ratios disappeared.

I believe that our under-funded education system may even be contributing to the rise in depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation by way of sardine-like conditions, less human connection and fewer supports for our most fragile students.

Young people who feel “stupid” tend not to have good self-esteem or believe in a positive future.


Jill Smalley

Surrey North Delta Leader

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