In Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens and one in five will experience a mental health concern.

This is why the Ontario College of Teachers is issuing an advisory to support students and their mental health.

And it was standing room only at a hotel in New Sudbury at a conference for teachers on Wednesday, where two powerful speakers, Colleen Gavreau and Pierre Debassige, both high school students, educated the crowd from a teen’s point of view.

"Help students before they get to that point." stressed Gauvreau, a student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School.

The pair wants the adults to know teens need a supportive environment.

"I think letting students know that they are not alone and that there is help everywhere. There are sites you can visit, there are social workers all over the schools, there is great places, like in Sudbury, we have MindSpace there, and in just knowing that you have to take the step in wanting to get help." said Gauvreau.

Debassige is a student at Manitoulin Secondary School. He says classrooms can be stressful and he's hoping teachers can incorporate more traditional methods for Indigenous students

"For a long time, Aboriginal people in Canada have been supressed, so we have a lot more hurdles to jump to move on as a people." said Debassige.

Rainbow District School Board officials say mental health will continue to be a priority.

"If we don't deal with it at a young age or as required, we're providing a real disservice, not only for our students, but also our communities." said Norm Blaseg, director of education at RDSB.

Experts say teachers have to prepare and know about the help being offered.

"There are now supports available in every school community in Ontario, where they can learn about and be supported when they're addressing mental health concerns in their students." said psychiatrist Dr. Amy Cheung.

"Teachers need to be precise. They need to use evidence-based and implementation-sensitive tools and there is a lot of information available." said John Wilhelm, of School Mental Health Ontario.

According to their figures, 12 million children and youth are affected by mental illness, yet less than 20% get the support they need.

It's something the Ontario College of Teachers is hoping its 235,000 members take to heart.