May 2, 2017

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to rise today to recognize Children’s Mental Health Week in Ontario. It’s a great opportunity to recognize the importance of speaking up about mental health.

Last year, we had the tragic loss of a number of youth in Oxford county. These tragedies have left a hole in our community. I met with students who said we need to do more to provide mental health education and services in our schools. They also told me that bullying is still a problem in schools and online.

According to a survey done by Children’s Mental Health Ontario, over 28% of youth indicated that mental health issues are not covered in the school curriculum. Meanwhile, over 35% said that mental health issues were only covered once, in one class. We need to do more to educate students on how to cope with their struggles.

I’m happy to announce that this weekend, on May 7, Kids Help Phone will host their fundraiser, Walk So Kids Can Talk, presented by BMO, for the first time ever in Oxford. This is very exciting for our community, and I commend Kids Help Phone for their great work supporting our children and for raising awareness on this important issue.

I encourage any young people who are having problems to reach out to Kids Help Phone or their local mental health organization. It’s okay to talk about it.