In schools across Canada, students are chronically absent from school because of mental health disabilities. This is not only an issue of mental health rights, disability rights, education rights, or human rights. It’s a matter of life and death. When we do not provide needs-based educational accommodations, supports, and services, suicide risk factors increase.
For too long, the silence on school phobia and chronic absenteeism has been deafening. Whether it’s the decisions that happen at schools, school boards, provincially, territorially, or federally, by school support professionals or administrators, healthcare or mental health professionals, human rights tribunals or the Supreme Court of Canada, students with mental health disabilities, including school phobia, have a right to a publicly funded education that meets their disability and education needs.
As a nation, we need to take better care of each other. We need to value the lives of young people. We need to walk the talk on mental health and wellness issues, inclusion, accessibility, and human rights. We need to create the needs-based accommodations that allow students to access and manage a publicly funded education. We need to put into practice the human rights of children asserted in 1989 under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Canada signed the convention in 1991. https://www.unicef.org/child-rights-convention