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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 22, 2017
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Laurier receives funding to offer teachers a post-degree certificate in mental health

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Oct 21/13| For Immediate Release


Dawn Buzza, Acting Dean
Faculty of Education
519-884-0710 ext. 3486 or


Sara O’Donnell, Development Officer
Faculty of Education, Faculty of Social Work
519-884-0710 ext. 3172 or

WATERLOO – A gift from Green Shield Canada’s Community Giving Program will soon allow Laurier’s Faculty of Education to offer Canadian teachers a post-degree certificate program in mental health. The professional development certificate will help teachers understand, identify and work with students with mental health issues. The professionally recognized certificate will be the first of its kind in Canada.

“Thanks to the generosity of Green Shield Canada, Laurier’s Faculty of Education is hoping to become a leader in providing education on mental health issues in the classroom,” said Colleen Willard-Holt, dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Education. “It is becoming crucial for all teachers to have a good understanding of how they can provide a nurturing environment for a child with a mental health concern, and yet not cross over into other roles for which they are not prepared.”

The mental health of Canadian students was the recent focus of a survey of 30,000 post-secondary students by the Canadian Organization of University and College Health. Nearly 90 per cent of the surveyed students reported feeling overwhelmed, 50 per cent said they had feelings of hopelessness and 63 per cent reported feeling very lonely. Additionally, 9.5 per cent said they had seriously considered suicide in the past year. The survey was conducted in the first four months of 2013.

“Making teachers aware of the warning signs, and most importantly, developing their skills for working with the youth in the classroom can literally save lives,” said Anisa Taraj, program advisor, Community Investment Projects, Green Shield Canada. “We are just thrilled to be part of such an important initiative.”

The interactive training sessions will be designed with input from Waterloo Region school board personnel, and consist of seven modules: Introduction to Mental Health Issues in the Classroom; Depression and Other Mood Disorders in the Classroom; Anxiety Disorders in the Classroom; Self-Harm and Suicidality in the Classroom; Body Image and Eating Disorders in the Classroom; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and Substance Use and Dependence in the Classroom; and Disruptive Behaviour Disorders and Psychotic Disorders in the Classroom. Laurier will ensure the workshops are offered at times and locations that are convenient to teachers.

For more information about Laurier’s post-degree certificate program in mental health, please contact the Faculty of Education at or 519-884-0710 ext. 2924.


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