By Lyonel Doherty
It’s an unfortunate sign of the times when a school district has to hire a specialist to deal with mental health issues among our students.
But hey, is it ever necessary.
When we were kids (oh no, here it comes), mental health wasn’t even mentioned. Nobody used the term “social well-being” back then, and students seemed much more resilient then they are today.
But with the advent of the internet and social media, not to mention all of the television shows that glamorize vanity, many youth have fallen into a tailspin.
There are more suicides, more eating disorders, more self-esteem issues . . . more of everything to keep students from reaching their full potential.
Students don’t even want to take lunch to school anymore because it’s not “cool.” Showing up with a neatly prepared sandwich will prompt more than a few stares. No wonder many of our students lack a nutritional diet.
Compounding these problems is the prevalent use of cannabis and vaping products. In fact, some acute lung illnesses have been reported as a result of vaping, which is now a Canada-wide concern prompting health reviews that could lead to new rules on product use.
So, do we need the new health promoting schools coordinator in our district? Absolutely.
Jennifer Martin will have one of the most important roles in our schools by increasing youth knowledge on vaping, healthy eating and mental health resiliency.
We need educators with her skillset more than ever to connect with at-risk students who need this intervention.
If we don’t reach them now it could be too late by the time they leave school.
In fact, funding should be made available for at least two or three coordinators to cover the whole district.
How can one person do it all?
(Lyonel Doherty is editor of the Oliver Chronicle)