Overlooked, Underfunded

Researchers unsurprised by enrolment gap found in study

Students at Langara campus, Vancouver, B.C. Mar. 2, 2020. Photo by Lucas Jornitz.
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Reported by Christopher MacMillan

Attending post-secondary after graduating high school has become increasingly necessary to find stable careers in the modern world.

Unfortunately, this level of education remains restricted to those who can afford its high cost. Even for those who can afford it, people who struggle with mental health are statistically less likely to attend a post-secondary school.

Among the many strategies we as a society could take to help alleviate this discrepancy, one would be to provide institutional support systems for youth with mental health struggles or neurodevelopmental conditions. For example, secondary schools could be expected to provide support counsellors trained to help struggling youth with succeeding in their classes so that they can attend post-secondary school.

Grants could be provided to help these students better afford some of, if not all of, the financial costs of post-secondary education.

There are already similar organizations for at-risk students in Canada, like the Council of Ministers of Education, so providing these kinds of support services to youth struggling with their mental health would help them better achieve their career goals.

Fundamentally, our educational system needs to recognize that more training is necessary when it comes to developmentally challenged youth.

Post-secondary education is challenging enough without the added pressure and stress of having a neurodevelopmental condition, or a mental-health related disability.

Another strategy we could adopt as a society would be to provide financial support and education to the parents of youth with neurodevelopmental conditions. Parents whose child struggles with mental health often feel overwhelmed and uninformed when it comes to their child’s needs and abilities.

Providing the necessary education and financial support to these parents could drastically improve their child’s chances of succeeding in school and in life. Regardless of what we do to help youth with mental health struggles, the statistical evidence shows that unless we provide these youth with the necessary help they need, they will continue to underachieve in their education and life.

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