Canada needs a comprehensive child and youth mental health strategy

Mental illnesses can often be prevented from developing, or becoming more severe and difficult to treat, by offering help to young people

Canada needs a comprehensive child and youth mental health strategyBy Mariette Chartier and Marni Brownell University of Manitoba Mental illness is the most common illness found in Canada's children and teens. We all know a young person who struggles with depression, anxiety, an addiction or a behavioural disorder. Mental illness causes high levels of distress in children and can significantly interfere with their lives. But mental illnesses can…

Crossing the line from eco-activism to emotional eco-terrorism

No other country has so deliberately turned itself into a climate-change martyr. Yet our sacrifices will have no perceptible impact

Crossing the line from eco-activism to emotional eco-terrorismIt’s been almost three decades since delegates from 172 countries, meeting at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, adopted the Climate Change Convention. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show that since then the Earth’s temperature has risen an average of 0.03°C per year. At that rate, the planet will warm 2.4°…

Mentorship programs for troubled youth foster respect for others

Canadian governments should be investing in youth mentorship programs to help build an inclusive, supportive and more progressive society

Mentorship programs for troubled youth foster respect for othersBy Suzanne Tough and Nicole Letourneau University of Calgary The youth of any society constitute the promise of the future – and many of our youth are in trouble. They’re growing up in a divided society. Ethnic, gender and political tensions are at seemingly combustible levels – not just south of the border but in Canada,…

Grocery stores bulking up on ultra-processed foods

Far too many products in Canada’s stores give us lots of calories but little nutrition. And we have dangerously abandoned cooking and meal-time routines

Grocery stores bulking up on ultra-processed foodsIn the 1960s, the biggest supermarkets only carried 10,000 items or fewer. Big supermarkets today offer almost 40,000 products. To be sure, among those extra items are more kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables and non-food items. But not 30,000. The vast majority of the additional food items are a huge range of ready-to-eat products from…

The family that reads together, thrives together

Almost nine million Canadians can’t read well enough to perform everyday tasks. We need a cultural shift to a family-centred approach to literacy

The family that reads together, thrives togetherBy Erin Schryer Elementary Literacy Inc. and Nicole Letourneau University of Calgary Two out of five Canadian adults – nearly nine million people – can’t read well enough to perform everyday tasks. Reading difficulties start early. Children who aren’t reading well by the end of Grade 1 are never likely to read well. Reduced literacy…

The sad reality of teen mothers who give birth in care

A much greater emphasis needs to be put on dual placements – whenever possible, mothers and children should be placed together

The sad reality of teen mothers who give birth in careGirls who spend time in the care of child protection services have higher rates of teenage pregnancy and teenage mothers are more likely to have their child taken into care. Teenage mothers who give birth when they’re in care are also more likely to have their children taken into care. Until recently, we didn’t know…

Medical errors too common but patients are paving the way for change

The Elizabeth Wettlaufer case should serve as a warning to all of us about the issue of patient safety

Medical errors too common but patients are paving the way for changeBy Fiona MacDonald University of the Fraser Valley and Karine Levasseur University of Manitoba We’ve all been there: it’s 3 a.m. and your partner, child, sibling or parent becomes ill suddenly and needs medical care. Will they be safe? The public inquiry into the safety and security of residents in the long-term care homes system…

In a world of buzzword parenting, what’s a parent to do?

Well-known risk factors undermine children’s health and development, but there are protective factors you can employ

In a world of buzzword parenting, what’s a parent to do?Helicopter parenting. Tiger parenting. Free-range parenting. These are buzzwords we hear all the time that are supposed to describe the ‘best’ approaches for parents to take raising their children. We all want the best for our children, and parents happily and eagerly adopt the latest, greatest advice. Even governments enact legislation that promotes one approach…

Child abuse linked to depression, anxiety in later life

Childhood abuse or neglect can permanently alter an individual’s physiology

Child abuse linked to depression, anxiety in later lifeIn a previous column, I pointed out that nature and nurture should not be regarded as enemies or polar opposites. Rather, they are two intertwined realities that work together to make up the human experience. Nature was designed for nurture. Many studies in recent years have documented the effects that early childhood experience can have…

Reading the signs your child might be stressed out

And how to help them overcome it

Reading the signs your child might be stressed outSomething quite remarkable is happening across Canada today: suddenly everyone is talking about self-regulation. They’re not always sure they know what it means, let alone what to do about it, but there is a widespread awareness that self-regulation is one of those scientific breakthroughs that heralds a turning point in how we see and help…

Tackling snoring as a family problem

Regardless of who may be the snorer, any disruption to one’s sleep can have short term and long term negative consequences

Tackling snoring as a family problemSnoring is often regarded as a condition which only affects adults, but it is also something which can, and does, affect children. While it has been estimated that 45 per cent of the population are snorers (with 25 per cent of adults being habitual snorers), the Sleep Foundation estimates that anywhere from 10 to 12…

How Sesame Place is helping children with autism 

The organization has always been strongly committed to the growth, development and education of children from all walks of life

How Sesame Place is helping children with autism If you and your children enjoy watching Sesame Street, the long-running educational children’s television series, here’s some exciting news. SeaWorld Entertainment announced on Oct. 22 that it will be opening a second Sesame Place theme park in San Diego, Calif., in spring 2021. The 17-acre facility will be built adjacent to SeaWorld San Diego and…

Cool the hype around genetics and health care

We are a long way from identifying definitive biomarkers to illness and personalized gene therapies are likely generations away

Cool the hype around genetics and health careBy Nicole Letourneau and Suzanne Tough University of Calgary Genetics will save the day – that’s the message you see constantly in the media and even in academic literature. But it's a message that can distract us from providing quality care now. Newspapers herald breakthroughs in finding genetic biomarkers for autism. Magazines trumpet finding a…

Body image issues begin early

How we can help our children be comfortable and happy in their own skin

Body image issues begin earlyMy five-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter has an eye for fashion. She has her favourite outfits and she is fond of accessories. She likes to wear beads like Granny and my earrings are a source of great interest. It’s all very cute and sweet, but I wonder if I should compliment her less frequently on her attire. I…

Sleep apnea the health issue right under our noses

Sleep apnea becoming disturbingly common in children and adolescents

Sleep apnea the health issue right under our nosesSleep apnea, sleep-disordered breathing, and snoring: these are not just things you have to be aware of for you and your partner. These health issues are becoming disturbingly common in children and adolescents. Sleep-disordered breathing, which includes sleep apnea and snoring, affects 12 per cent of children in the United States. This breaks down to…
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