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…

Ontario justice delays create injustices

Wait times for court proceedings to help children escape physical or psychological harm are far too long. Society is failing to protect these vulnerable citizens

Ontario justice delays create injusticesIn her recent report, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk took aim at the inefficiencies and backlogs in the province’s justice system. She also cited a lack of accountability and transparency in obtaining critical information from the judiciary and government, thus preventing her office from conducting a thorough audit. Five days later, Ontario Attorney General Doug…

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…
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