Exclusion in Education: School Phobia and Non-Attendance at School The Most Pressing Issue in Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Target Audience



12:15 PM - 3:30 PM

This session is full.


  • Youth Mental Health Canada
    Sheryl Boswell

    Sheryl Boswell is the director of Youth Mental Health Canada, a community-based, youth-led non-profit organization. She has an extensive background in education at all levels and is a fierce advocate and human rights champion for an equitable, accessible, quality public education. As an educator, Sheryl has taught elementary, secondary, postsecondary and adult education in Canada and Africa. Intersectionality, equity and inclusion are central to how she approaches education and mental health research, policy and youth, family and community engagement. She is a suicide loss survivor and a child and youth mental health expert with over 20 years of lived and learned experience of mental health issues, suicidology, school phobia, avoidance and non-attendance at school. She feels that non-attendance at school due to mental health disabilities and exclusion is the most pressing issue in youth mental health and suicide prevention. YMHC has conducted research on this issue and has input from over 400 families. Sheryl has done international research on “school refusal” and recognizes the lack of lived experience informing “school refusal” research, resulting in inconclusive evidence and results.