Mental health referrals for struggles with peer relationships increases

Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Northwest Catholic District School Board provided a mental health team year in review, showing that anxiety was the leading reason for referrals in the 2022/2023 year.

However, when compared with the previous school year, the number of referrals for anxiety decreased from 46 referrals to 31 referrals.

Most notably, struggles with peer relationships increased from 3 referrals in 2021/2022 to 15 referrals 2022/2023.

Bullying/Aggression/Fighting increased from 13 referrals to 18 referrals.

Listed from greatest to least in number, other referral reasons included bullying/aggression/fighting, struggles with peer relationships, family conflict, loss and/or grief, depression, self esteem, marginalization and oppression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, and trauma-related stress.

The board currently has a fully staffed Mental Health Team of 5 school counsellors and 3 child and youth workers.

Counselling services were provided to 154 students with an average wait time of less than 1 day.

A total of 72 students in crisis were supported.

Over 90 hours of direct communication with caregivers were provided.

Big things are expected for the 2023/2024 school year, the board said.

“The Mental Health Team will continue the implementation of PPM 169 released this summer with a focus on providing culturally responsive, evidence-informed student mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention services,” the board said. “As well, the PPM outlines the importance of school boards working within the broader provincial system of care to help provide clear pathways to and from community-based mental health services.”