Mental Illness in Children at an All Time High

By Rosalie Moscoe RHN RNCP 

sadchild-300x199 (1)Today’s young people face a constellation of social, health, financial and school pressures that are weighing down their minds at the same time that poor diet and exercise habits, stress and environmental toxins are affecting their bodies. The result is a generation of children and teens at increased risk for mental illness. 

According to research by the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Healthy Kids Strategy Report, we need to do something to stem the current tide for children that can result in health and social problems.

Quick Facts on Mental Illness and Children

  • Mental illness affects as many as one in every five youth — making it the single most disabling and devastating group of disorders worldwide. In Canada, a staggering 3.2 million 12‐ to 19‐year‐olds are at risk for depression. The teen suicide rate is third highest in the industrialized world; and mental disorders in youth are the second highest hospital care expenditure in the country.

More focus needs to be put on mental health problems, now both at an all-time high. Experts say that parents need to pay attention if their children’s unhealthy eating habits seem tied to sadder moods or depression.

Physical Ailments Can Cause Mental Illnesses

What is often ignored, to the peril of these children is that sometimes, physical ailments such as anemia and thyroid conditions can cause mental illnesses such as depression, ADHD, anxiety or behavioural problems. Also, commonly overlooked are nutrient deficiencies and food allergies that can also be reasons for mental disorders.

Even if they eat enough calories, children may undernourished in key nutrients. They may not be eating enough plant foods, healthy oils, or adequate proteins to meet the nutritional needs of both brain and body.

Food Allergy as Symptoms for both Physical and Mental problems

According to Doris Rapp, M.D., some symptoms of food allergy can include glazed eyes, red earlobes, red cheek patches, dark circles or wrinkles below the eyes, fatigue, headache and abdominal discomfort. Others may have itchy or watery eyes, ear infections, or experience coughing or wheezing. Some children cannot sit still, nor can concentrate and often are labeled with ADHD.

Medication has an important role to play in the treatment of serious mental illnesses, but according to the medical advisory board of the International Schizophrenia Foundation, (ISF), www.orthomed.org it is not and should not be the only option. More often than not, medical professionals, trained in pharmacology and not complementary treatments, diagnose and prescribe psychotropic drugs for children as a standard approach without first considering factors like diet, nutrition, allergies and exercise.

Both Health Canada and the FDA have issued black box warnings for antidepressants in children and adolescents, saying they may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior.

A Better Way to Help Mental Health Problems in Children

Medical students and health care providers are opening the door to alternative and complementary approaches to diagnosis and treatment for children with mental health issues. For more information about orthomolecular (therapeutic nutritional) treatments for children, check the Mindful Campaign – a better future for children’s mental health www.mindfulcharity.ca. For a list of qualified doctors and health care professionals who include orthomolecular treatments in their practices for all forms of mental illnesses, contact the ISF at centre@orthomed.org , or call 416.733.2117.

Awareness and Strategies to Help Mental Illness in Children

  • More awareness of the dangers of fast food which are low in key nutrients for children
  • Improved labeling of packaged foods and menu items at restaurants so that people can make healthier choices more easily
  • Testing for anemia, thyroid problems, and nutritional deficiencies for at-risk children as first line treatment, rather than medication first.
  • Testing for food allergies as commonly eaten foods can be culprits for mood and behavioural problems
  • More focus on physical activity for children
  • Education on ways to eat (and prepare) healthful foods on a budget for busy families

Ontario Ministry of Education’s School Food and Beverage Policy

The School Food and Beverage Policy constitutes a comprehensive approach to the sale of food and beverages in schools province-wide. The implementation of this policy is an important step in creating healthier students in Ontario. Grants are available for schools through the Ontario Ministry of Education for Nutrition Programs for parents and students.

Agenda for Nutrition Presentation for Parents

Help and Hope through Rosalie Moscoe’s dynamic Nutrition Presentation, Super Nutrition for Growing Up Strong (better health, grades, moods and behaviour for your child) – (Click below for downloadable PDF of Agenda, benefits, credentials and testimonials…)

Super Nutrition for Growing Up Strong -(encompasses Ministry of Education Guidelines) (109.6 KiB)

Benefits of Seminar

  • Encompasses Ontario Ministry of Health Guidelines and more
  • Can help parents implement healthier eating habits for their children.
  • Information delivered in easy-to-understand style
  • Colourful power point presentation
  • Demonstration of various healthful products.

Since 1998, Rosalie Moscoe, a Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner has been presenting Nutrition Programs to boost health and well-being for parents, workplace wellness initiatives, government agency stakeholders and hospital staff . She also gives one-to-one nutritional consulting for patients of Ontario medical doctors. As Chair of the Mindful Campaign, – a better future for children’s mental health, www.mindfulcharity.ca,  Rosalie brings leading-edge information about nutrition and mental health to the speaking platform.

Book your date now to have Rosalie come to your school to present a dynamic presentation for parents to improve health and well-being of children through nutrition. Call Rosalie at 1.877.653.0077, or contact her through her website at www.healthinharmony.com

Rosalie is also the best selling author  of “Frazzled Hurried Woman! Your Stress Relief Guide to Thriving. . .Not Merely Surviving”

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