Sunday , October 17 2021

Low mental health in B.C. in spite of healthy lifestyles and long life: doctor

British Colombians describe their mental health as almost the lowest in the country despite being more physically active, eating more fruits and vegetables and having healthier lifestyles, says the highest doctor in the province.

Dr. Bonnie Henry published on Friday a report on the health of British Colombians and said that there are more people experiencing mental health problems, although the province has the highest life expectancy in the country.

"I am referring to the fact that the percentage of British Colombians declaring positive mental health has fallen," Henry told a news conference. "This is one of the measures where we were going back to Canada and the rest of the world."

His report is based on seven-stage performance measures that the Ministry of Health established in 2013 and is expected to be met in 2023.

Some of the goals are related to environmental and mental health, as well as the prevention of damage to children against substances included in the use of alcohol and cannabis before 15 years.

Henry said that while the percentage of young people who started to drink and use pots at this age has decreased, this is not the case with young adults.

"Dangerous consumption, therefore, of drinking, has increased in young women and young people of reproductive age," he said.

Poverty, lack of childhood education and low incomes are poor health indicators, said Henry, adding that the development of early childhood is a problem in some urban areas.

"This is something we have to understand more. We need to understand how we can support families and support young children."

Climate change has an impact on health and, particularly, it has been the case of forest fire in recent years.

He said that the province should do a better job of evaluating other impacts of climate change, as well as putting more funds into health promotion programs that should be aimed at reversing the worsening of trends .

The opioid crisis has affected people from all sectors of society, but especially young men, who account for almost 80% of the deaths to overdose in the province, although their report data is limited to the end of 2015 .

Henry said he is writing a report related to the need for a more secure drug supply, decriminalization and the need for more social support for people who suffer from addiction.

He made seven recommendations, including a greater focus on the prevention of lesions in rural and remote areas, developing a more significant public health surveillance system and growing support for women and pregnant and postpartum families.

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