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Understanding educator and student mental health and addictions needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and existing approaches that address them


The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a significant impact on education in Ontario and across the world through interruptions to learning. For at least some period of time during the pandemic, most countries have had to make quick decisions to close down schools completely for all students or for a subset of them. Aside from educational gaps, schools often play other important roles in students’ lives, such as providing access to nutrition, mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention supports, offering opportunities for interactions with peers and physical activity, and acting as a reprieve from home stressors, violence and other forms of abuse. These decisions have also had effects on educators (i.e., teachers and other professionals in schools), who have experienced major disruptions to the way they are expected to plan and deliver curricula. To understand what mental health and addictions needs may have arisen for them during the pandemic, and what COVID-19-specific interventions and general approaches have been developed to support their mental health, we undertook a rapid synthesis of the literature, including a jurisdictional scan and a review of a sample of national and international guidelines.

Rapid synthesis: