Mental health a focus of Greater Victoria School board candidate

A new school board candidate has stepped forward, and wants to put more focus on mental health in Greater Victoria School District.

Ryan Painter is a mental health activist and says mental health is getting more attention now than when he was in school, but he'd like to see more support for students.

“I want to establish mental health coordinator positions in every school in the school district,” Painter said. “So that there is some place for youth and young adults to go to start to begin to understand mental health literacy and how they can best work with schools, with parents, with educators, with public health nurses and doctors even to begin to address their own mental health concerns.”

Painter says these mental health coordinators would be a safe space for students to go to talk about any mental health concerns they may be experiencing.

“I came through the system in the ‘90s and the 2000s when mental health wasn’t something that we even talked about,” Painter said. “I think really beginning to talk and beginning to provide a safe space to talk about mental health issues – mental health is complex and it’s complicated, and it’s not something that is going to have a one size fits all approach – I think starting to create safe spaces to have these difficult conversations is something that we can certainly do.”

Painter says he also wants to focus on making sure the school district does not go underfunded, which he says has been a problem for the past 16 years.

Municipal elections will take place on October 20 this year.

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