The Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training announced on Thursday it’s going to develop a mental health framework in an effort to help students in public and post-secondary schools have positive mental health.
The framework, as said at a press conference at Saint Mary’s University, will allow the provinces to learn from each other and to create province-specific initiatives.
“The intention is to set these goals and have programs in place to ensure that these supports are there for our students,” Nova Scotia’s Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill said.
“This is a collective responsibility for all Atlantic provinces.”
The plan is to complete the framework by the fall.
“What we’re going to do is have our staff within our respective departments work with each other to formulate the goals and an action plan and move all of our departments and all of our provinces forward,” Nova Scotia’s Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis said.
Dartmouth East MLA Tim Halman, who is Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative Party’s education critic, said he hopes to see proposals leading to improved access to mental health services and diminished wait times for them.
He also said he wants mental health professionals in all schools.
“This is a government that gives lots of commissions and councils and deadlines to Nova Scotians. We need action,” Halman said.
Dartmouth South MLA and education critic Claudia Chender said in an email that without commitments to funding, a regional framework seems like “just talk.”
“In Nova Scotia, we’ve heard a lot about the mental health needs of our students, including from the Commission on Inclusive Education. We’ve identified that the system isn’t working, but are waiting for concrete steps to fix it.
“The longer we wait to invest in mental health services, the more children will be failed by the system,” Chender said.