Recent Articles:

Below are past articles previously published in Drugs & Addiction Magazine. These are filled with current and relevant information and statistics and can be used as great conversation starters with youth.

A “gold standard” study finds deleting Facebook is great for your mental health

January 31, 2019

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day!

January 30, 2019

FDA’s opioids adviser accuses agency of having ‘direct’ link to crisis

January 25, 2019

New York Passes a Ban on ‘Conversion Therapy’ After Years-Long Efforts

January 22, 2019

Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback scheme

January 17, 2019

Resolve to Detox Your Social Circle

January 16, 2019

Easing test anxiety boosts low-income students’ biology grades

January 15, 2019

Craving insight into addiction

January 14, 2019

New book looks at the heart of Edmonton’s opioid epidemic through stories and art

January 11, 2019

People with low self-esteem tend to seek support in ways that backfire, study finds

January 10, 2019

Ban on cigarette sales in NYC pharmacies starts Jan. 1

January 9, 2019

Too many problems? Maybe coping isn’t the answer

January 8, 2019

Muslim youth group cleans up national parks amid government shutdown

January 7, 2019

For-profit college cancels $500M in student debt after fraud allegations

January 4, 2019

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

January 3, 2019

Sexting Teens

December 19, 2018

Screen Addiction: Today’s Biggest Threat to Schooling?

December 19, 2018

Texting Etiquette & Safety: 5 Rules for Keeping Your Kids & Teens Secure & Drama-Free

December 17, 2018

Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples’ rights

December 17, 2018

New Canadians sworn in as Winnipeg museum celebrates International Human Rights Day

December 13, 2018

Statement by the Prime Minister on Human Rights Day

December 12, 2018

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms

December 12, 2018

The Illustrated Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 11, 2018

Homeless man with terminal cancer donates to holiday toy drive

December 10, 2018

Malala Yousafzai Honored by Harvard for Her Work Promoting Girls’ Education

December 7, 2018

Boy gets Colorado town to overturn snowball fight ban

December 6, 2018

Fortnite addiction is forcing kids into video game rehab

December 5, 2018

Clarity on Cannabis

December 4, 2018

Mental health education recommended for RCMP members following inquest

November 30, 2018

Social Media – 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

November 28, 2018

Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence

November 27, 2018

#GIVINGTUESDAY TODAY ONLY YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHED

November 27, 2018

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

November 26, 2018

#ENDViolence in schools

November 23, 2018

Statement by Minister MacLeod on National Child Day

November 22, 2018

November 20th marks National Children’s Day across Canada

November 21, 2018

National Child Day

November 20, 2018

Facts & Figures

November 16, 2018

The Push For Change®

November 15, 2018

Winter Giving 101

November 14, 2018

First came the stroke, then the inspiration…

November 13, 2018

Canadian Youth Speakers Bureau: Scott Hammell

November 9, 2018

John Connors’ brilliant IFTA Award speech

November 9, 2018

Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone

November 8, 2018

This teen pizzeria employee traveled 3 hours to deliver pizza to a man with terminal cancer

November 6, 2018

Video captures joyful law student’s reaction to passing her bar exam

November 5, 2018

More teens in Sask. are smokers than in any other province: Health Canada survey

November 5, 2018

MADD Canada launches annual red ribbon campaign in Halifax

November 2, 2018

Young cannabis users who quit see improvements in memory, ability to learn

October 31, 2018

Nova Scotia’s Health Department says talks underway for province’s first overdose prevention site

October 31, 2018

Crystal meth eclipsing opioids on the Prairies: ‘There’s no lack of meth on the street’

October 29, 2018

Opioids Don’t Discriminate: An Interactive Experience.

October 26, 2018

Guelph police warn drug users of spike in purple fentanyl

October 25, 2018

Canadians share powerful stories of teachers who made lasting impressions

October 24, 2018

What exactly are you inhaling when you vape?

October 23, 2018

Study ADHD Medication Overdoses

June 14, 2018

A Cry for Guidance

January 18, 2018

Vaping 101 – Health Relation, Benefits, Dangers, Fun Facts and More

January 2, 2018

Your Friend’s Substance Abuse

September 15, 2017

Depression

September 15, 2017

Methamphetamines

September 15, 2017

Alcohol

September 15, 2017

25 Healthy Ways to Feel Better

September 15, 2017

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

January 3, 2019

Mental illness can strike anyone at any time in their life. In fact, more than 350 million people across the world – of all ages and from all communities – suffer from depression. But half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And it is that shocking statistic which is the focus of this year’s World Mental Health Day.

The good news is we are learning to better understand and deal with mental health issues. Here are some key developments.

Early intervention

While half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, most cases go undetected and untreated.

Teenagers and young adults have many changes to deal with, including changing schools, leaving home and starting university or a new job. This can lead to stress and apprehension. In some cases, if not recognized and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness.

In some countries, the formative years of a child’s life have been dominated by conflict and upheaval, leaving these young people particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.

In terms of the burden of disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause, while suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. Harmful use of alcohol, drugs and eating disorders are also cause for concern.

Despite this troubling picture, the WHO says there is a growing recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience at an early age. Parents and teachers can help young people build life skills that help them cope with everyday challenges at home and school. More schools are launching initiatives such as mindfulness and meditation, and some provide psycho-social support.

This does however require investment from governments. And that investment needs to work in tandem with programmes to raise awareness, helping peers, parents and teachers know how to support their friends, children and students.

Mental Health Facts in the US

The role of genetics

Research has shown that 30-40% of the risk for both depression and anxiety is genetic and 60-70% is due to environmental factors, according to the National Institute for Health Research.

Now, the NIHR and King’s College London are calling for 40,000 people diagnosed with depression or anxiety to join what they say will be the largest ever database of volunteers.

The researchers plan to explore the genetic factors behind the two most common mental health conditions – anxiety and depression.

“It’s a really exciting time to become involved in mental health research, particularly genetic research which has made incredible strides in recent years – we have so far identified 46 genetic links for depression and anxiety,” explains Dr Gerome Breen of King’s College London.

“By recruiting 40,000 volunteers willing to be re-contacted for research, the study will take us further than ever before. It will allow researchers to solve the big unanswered questions, address how genes and environment act together and help develop new treatment options.”

Technology and the brain

Conventional wisdom suggests that spending too much time online is in some ways detrimental to the human brain and mental health.

And there is a growing body of scientific work pointing to the dangers of a digital lifestyle. For example, neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley has written a book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World which explores how internet-connected devices degrade our attention, and have implications for mental health and stress levels in the workplace.

However, many scientists also believe that technology can be harnessed to address mental health issues, and there has been a proliferation of apps aimed at wellbeing.

For example, the Happify app promises to reduce stress and anxiety by providing happiness games and activities. The basic principle is that you can change and modify the brain by training it as if it were a muscle – a theory called neuroplasticity. By adopting new thinking habits, its users can overcome negative thought patterns and learn to cope with everyday stresses.

The app already has 3.5 million users, and claims to help people with schizophrenia, clinical depression and chronic illnesses.

There is also growing scientific evidence that points to the success of online therapy.

In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence which provides national guidance on improving healthcare, has approved the use of online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

CBT is one of the well-established talking therapies, but now scientists recognize that it is sometimes easier for people to open up to a machine rather than a human being. CBT is also notoriously expensive and time-consuming, so technology may also allow for treatment to become more widely available.

A policy priority

World leaders have recognized the importance of mental health and well-being by including it in the Sustainable Development Agenda, which was adopted at the UN’s General Assembly in September 2015.

As part of Goal 3, world leaders have committed to the “prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases, including behavioural, developmental and neurological disorders, which constitute a major challenge for sustainable development”.

The then Director-General of the WHO, Dr Margaret Chan, explained the significance of the decision, saying it will help the world achieve greater fairness.

“The inclusion of noncommunicable diseases under the health goal is an historic turning point. Finally these diseases are getting the attention they deserve,” she says.

Specific goals include reducing premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases by one third by 2030 and strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse including narcotic drug and alcohol use.

It is through this type of ongoing commitment, as well as the growing awareness of mental health issues, that progress can be made.

www.weforum.org