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Mamakwa urges more support for student mental health

By Tim Davidson Jun 6, 2024 | 9:13 AM

The province is being challenged to increase mental health funding for students in northwestern Ontario.

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa says a report from the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario finds that 77 percent of teachers have experienced violence in the classroom.

“Teachers working in (a) Kiiwetinoong school board recently told me that the classrooms get evacuated so often because of violence that the students become desensitized,” Mamakwa told MPP’s at Queen’s Park during Question Period on Wednesday.

“Class sizes and wait lists for support have only increased.”

Mamakwa says right now there is a long waiting list to see a mental health specialist, and they may be hours away.

“The waitlists are up to 24 months to access mental health supports.  Some students must travel four to eight hours to access service.  Will the premier commit today to address the student support deficiency in the north.”

Education minister Steven Lecce says they do have specially designed supports for Indigenous students and have put more funding into their meeting mental health needs.


Other finding from the ETFO survey:

-Four out of five ETFO members (80%) state there are more incidents of violence in schools since they started working in the Ontario public elementary school system

-42% have suffered a physical injury, illness or psychological injury/illness as a result of workplace violence

-The severity of incidences has increased by 66%

-Violence as a growing problem in Ontario schools has increased by 80%