Putting an elephant in a teapot ?. ? develop and deliver proactive and prevention based programs for mental health
Mental health is being talked about to help with?the elephant in the?room, however, for ?some, they ?say ” it is like putting an elephant in a teapot” referring to the frustration of limited resources.
One in five Canadians are experiencing a mental health issue. ?70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence (source Centre for Addiction). What can we do to deliver and develop a proactive and preventative approach to mental health?
Last?week there were a number of?articles and reports challenging our current mental health supports. Plus John Howard Society of Ontario ?released a new report outlining a plan for decriminalizing mental health issues in Ontario.
Bell’s?Let’s Talk Campaign?has really helped get ?people talking publically about their struggle with mental health. Thank you?Clara Hughes, ?former NHL player Theo Fleury, singer songwriters – Leonard Cohen, Serena Rider,?Alanis Morisette,?funny man -Jim Carrey; ex-wife of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Margaret Trudeau. Also thank you to ?(Celebrities With Depression?) ?Harry Potter author J.K.??Rowlings; ?nine-time Grammy-winning singer,?Sheryl Crow; NFL Hall of Famer and popular football commentator, Terry Bradshaw;?astronaut?s ?Buzz Aldrin,?Academy Award-winning actress,Gwyneth Paltrow; funny men -Wayne Brady and Robin Williams,; Vice President Al Gore’s wife Tipper, and even the 16th president?Abraham Lincoln.
Lakehead student Travis Francis wrote an article dated August 19, 2015 titled??Making Connections: Self-Regulation ?Meets? Mental Health Advocacy– A Call to Action for Post-Secondary Institutions? I sent this?to one of my dear friends who is a counselor at post secondary institution and her initial response was ?Yeap! It is like putting an elephant in a teapot at times…refereeing to the short term counseling model. I agree with the need for them to have more tools for self regulation…now how do you do this when you only have a limited short term counseling model. It sure?is a challenge!?
Why ait until University? Let’s be proactive and begin offering?children, teens, parents, health care professionals, teachers, etc prevention tools such as nutrition, exercise, de-stressing tools.
Nutritional psychiatry. First time, I ?heard this term used was while reading the August 20, 2015 when reading an article called?Can what you eat affect your mood???However, the concept is not new. Nearly a decade ago, i was involved with a research project called People in Motion, which was a diabetes prevention in schizophrenia research project that included a walking group, yoga nutrition?counselling and health cooking classes. Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research says,?“A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health….A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.? The article outlines three ways good nutrition affects the brain:?
1. Good Nutrition is?crucial for brain development.”When we eat real food that nourishes us, it becomes the protein-building blocks, enzymes, brain tissue, and neurotransmitters that transfer information and signals between various parts of the brain and body.”
2. Good Nutrition??helps ?increase connections between brain cells. A diet rich in nutrients like omega-3s and zinc boosts levels of this substance.
3. Good Nutrition??fills the gut with healthy bacteria which is good for the brain. Trillions of good bacteria live in the gut. They fend off bad germs and keep your immune system in check, which means they help tame inflammation in the body. Some gut germs even help make brain-powering B vitamins.
My dream is to see yoga offered in every school across Canada.??The YOGA-TASTIC Program for schools is an effective tool to enhance a child?s ability to self-regulate and de-stress. To learn more, watch the webinar I did with Dr. Shanker at http://www.self-regulation.ca, click on resources, then webinars, #6 webinar is called Yoga: An effective tool to enhance a child’s ability to self-regulate (https://vimeo.com/60056675) ?This program would focus on the creating self awareness (checking in to see how you are feeling emotionally as well as physically), using yoga tools for self care and self regulation (not harming yourself physically or mentally).
In addition, it would be nice to see more community based programs to assist people their families and primary?caregivers. We need a real circle of care that includes everyone in the persons life. Too many primary caregivers are dealing with caregiver fatigue. We need ?to develop and reinforce the skills needed to be successful. This may?include making?longer term counselling available ?for those who require it instead of everyone only receiving short term 2 visit, or possibly up to eight sessions with one counsellor. From what I have heard from people living with mental health challenges, it takes them eight or more sessions to begin to trust and open up. Wouldn?t it be nice to take a multi-disciplinary?approach to help people build a tool box of self regulation skills they can use throughout their life?
Interestingly, on August 18th, 2015 John Howard Society of Ontario has released a new report outlining a plan for decriminalizing mental health issues in Ontario. The report, entitled, Unlocking Change: Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario, chronicles how the criminal justice system has become a catchall for people whose mental health issues have gone untreated or undetected in the community. The Report calls on the province to stop relying on the justice system as a key responder to individuals who have mental health issues, and provides recommendations aimed at shifting Ontario toward prevention. Unlocking Change articulates a pressing need for a paradigm shift in Ontario toward – and investment in – proactive, preventative and inclusive approaches to mental health. A prevention-based approach would aim to help Ontarians with mental health issues before they become at risk ? of homelessness, crisis, unemployment or conflict with the law. Recommendations emphasize prevention and early intervention through the provision of meaningful mental health care and social services, call for changes to current police, court and correctional practices, and underline the importance of de-stigmatization and public education.
What will you do with the elephant?
August 20, 2015 ?Can What you eat affect your mood?
August 19, 2015 Travis Francis Article: http://www.self-regulation.ca/uploads/5/6/2/6/56264915/self-regulation_and_post-secondary_environments.pdf
August 18, 2015 John Howard Society of Ontario full report entitled, Unlocking Change: Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario ?http://www.johnhoward.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Unlocking-Change-Final-August-2015.pdf
Aug 18, 2015 John Howard Society of Ontario ?Press Release: http://www.johnhoward.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/JHSO-Press-release-Unlocking-Change-Report-Aug-18-2015.pdf
February 2015, Calm, Centred and Ready to Learn: helping children manage stress. Read more by visiting www.theholisticparent.ca Click on Digital editions, then click on Winter 2015 edition, scroll to ?page 22-24?Click here to see photos Helping Children Manage Stress
Making Connections: Self-Regulation ?Meets? Mental Health Advocacy
A Call to Action for Post-Secondary Institutions
Travis Francis firstname.lastname@example.org
?In a recent Canadian study, 76% of Adolescents between the ages of 14-17 have problems with anxiety…?
Play that statistic forward a few short years and you see why there is a growing concern among mental health practitioners about the mental health trajectory for post-secondary student population: many of the same young people who experienced anxiety in the relatively protected world of high school and home, now face those feelings in a much less incubated learning and living reality.
There is no question that problems with anxiety, depression and over- all mental health challenges are increasing at a rapid rate for our young adults. There is a critical need for post-secondary institutions to make Mental Health resources available for those students who may require help coping while navigating the fast-paced and potentially stressful 4 or more years called ?university.? It isn?t enough to rally resources as a response to a sad or tragic campus event, whether it be a student who loses hope and drops out, an individual?s extreme mental health crisis or a major event with much collateral damage.
Many university students go from well-scaffolded daily routines at home, in school and in their communities to full immersion into new realities. As a third year university student, I have seen first hand the impact on students? lives: feelings of being completely overwhelmed by the financial responsibilities associated with paying rent, textbooks, transportation and healthy food, living up to others? expectations, managing course loads and having a fulfilling/high energy social life. For some students, these intense and complex variables become excessively stressful, to the point that they can become unbearable. Although stress itself is not detrimental, excessive or chronic stress can result in developing mental health issues, too often experienced by university students.
Given that it is between the ages of 18-25 (university years) when mental health issues develop for many people, and because we now know so much more about the neurophysiology of the human experience, it is no longer acceptable for post-secondary institutions to delay or ignore the development of a comprehensive mental health strategy for their student population.
Thus, this paper and other work being done in the field serves as a ?call to action? for institutions to develop and provide the necessary resources to support students in managing stress. The area of Self- Regulation is an essential part of an overall strategy. An awareness of the Self-Regulation framework by students and by all of those working in their academic and social support systems can go a long way to identifying the stressors in young people?s lives and developing conscious methods to up-regulate or down-regulate.
At their best, post-secondary institutions are places of learning, growing, and a birthplace of passion. However, that is not the reality for students who feel isolated and overwhelmed. A change is needed. The same institutions that recruit students and provide the learning construct for academic and vocational studies need to turn their attention to resourcing a deliberate social/emotional strategic plan. Every student should feel supported in an increasingly complex and stressful world.
As another academic year begins, there will be increased expectations for students to perform at higher and higher levels, competing for course grades, for careers and for a place in a global market. With those expectations, there must be dedicated resources, aimed at making the learning journey one of hope and promise. It isn?t sufficient to assemble a crisis team when things go wrong.
Every institution and the society it represents needs to support and engage our students, for they create what is to come. Without focused attention, we know what is around the next corner.
?Among the general population, Depression was the fourth leading cause of disability in 1990, and is expected to be the second leading cause by 2020…?