- About Us
Submitted by Peter on Fri, 04/13/2012 - 13:37
It’s a feeling of dread these days opening a newspaper. It’s not the wars, which have been going on forever it seems. It’s not the cutbacks provincially and federally (which also seem to have been going on forever). It’s story after story about yet more youth suicides.
So it was this morning – on the front page of the Globe, a story about a youth (Caylen Millben) in Brampton who committed suicide.
After three suicides at Sandalwood Heights Secondary School in Brampton over the past year, the school is finally tackling the topic of teen suicide head on.
Cory Millben, father of the third student to commit suicide, 17-year-old Caylen Millben, bravely gave the school permission to send a letter to students’ homes regarding his son’s recent suicide as a way to start discussions and raise awareness.
It’s admirable of Caylen’s father to open up about his son’s suicide not only to the press, but to allow the school to share it will the many families in their community. Since the letter was sent home, teachers have been having discussions in every classroom. Students have come together to not only mourn the loss of their peers but to make pacts promising each other “...that was the last one...From here on in there will be no more funerals, no more heartbreaks.”
It’s terrific that schools are really starting to educate students about suicide, and it sounds like students have a leadership role in this, which is important in this process. But what upsets me is that it takes so many heartbreaks and funerals for schools to see the urgent need for mental health literacy to be an important facet of school learning.
With Ontario Shores’ new mental health literacy program making its way into schools over the next few months it’s only a matter of time until discussions about mental health and suicide are the norm in every classroom. I hope that with regular conversation about these topics, kids will feel more comfortable seeking help and we can finally start removing the stigma associated with mental health issues.
My condolences go out to the families of all three students at Sandalwood Heights Secondary School and my thanks go out to members of the school community who are working towards making a difference in the way mental health and suicide are handled in their school.
Do you know of any discussions taking place about mental health or suicide at your school, or your child’s school? Do you continue the conversation at home? Do you start the conversation at home?