Canadian Union of Public Employees

Edmonton Public Schools Support Staff

P: (780) 455 1435 | F: (780) 452 1462 | E: cupe3550@telus.net

Mental-health supports are key: Letter to the Edmonton Journal

Mental-health supports should be an essential component within the elementary school system. Teachers are not only responsible for the academic success of their students but are increasingly playing the role of de facto social worker.

Although there is a demonstrated need for school psychologists, they can be deemed non-essential and sometimes cut from staff. Challenging behaviours and mental-health conditions are increasing in the younger student population. The absence of adequate resources at school further exacerbates any presenting conditions and increases children’s isolation. This can spiral as the child grows, manifesting in adulthood as addiction, chronic health conditions, and many other attendant factors.

The proposed performance-based funding for schools will jeopardize existing mental-health supports. Those who care enough will instantly recognize the benefit of supporting children’s mental health. Even the most rational will still recognize this as softening the downstream financial and resource burden.

It begs the question: how can we justify the lack of compassion while falsely stating this will decrease costs and improve outcomes for society? Robert Jagodzinski, Edmonton