Despite funding boost, advocates say Canada has a mental health crisis.

Frustrations over what some advocates are calling cutbacks to Afrocentric mental health services in Toronto came to a head last week in a town hall meeting in Scarborough. One by one, parents of Black youth stepped up to the microphone to share their experiences and voice their concerns over the lack of funding for programs. “We heard from a parent who spoke about basically having to refuse to leave the hospital because they were treating her 21-year-old son as just an angry Black man,” recalls Janelle Skerritt, a Black mental health advocate who moderated the town hall. “But she kept…

Read More

Finding My Path.

Ah, finally I can sit in peace and focus on writing a blog post. I can’t believe i’m already back in schools ready for round 2. Summer seems like a blur and it’s probably because of all the schooling and work I had to undertake to get caught up. I’m proud to say i’m finished my Master’s (at least until Results day in November). All 14,998 words. I must say finishing my physiology course and having to jump straight into finishing my dissertation was a rough go. Why I thought it was a good idea to work 40-55 hours a…

Read More

Human antidepressants building up in brains of fish in Niagara River.

Researchers studying fish from the Niagara River have found that human antidepressants and remnants of these drugs are building up in the fishes’ brains. The concentration of human drugs was discovered by scientists from University at Buffalo, Buffalo State and two Thai universities, Ramkhamhaeng University and Khon Kaen University. Active ingredients and metabolized remnants of Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac and Sarafem — drugs that have seen a sharp spike in prescriptions in North America — were found in 10 fish species. Diana Aga, professor of chemistry at University at Buffalo, says these drugs are found in human urine and are not stripped out…

Read More

Ph.D. students face significant mental health challenges.

Approximately one-third of Ph.D. students are at risk of having or developing a common psychiatric disorder like depression, a recent study reports. Although these results come from a small sample—3659 students at universities in Flanders, Belgium, 90% of whom were studying the sciences and social sciences—they are nonetheless an important addition to the growing literature about the prevalence of mental health issues in academia. One key message for scientific trainees that are struggling with these types of challenges, write co-authors Katia Levecque and Frederik Anseel of Ghent University in an email to ScienceCareers, is that “you are not alone.” Beyond…

Read More

For some students, the transition to university can be hard on mental health.

In a few weeks, more than two million students will step onto postsecondary campuses across Canada, roughly one-quarter of them in Toronto. It’s both an exhilarating and terrifying time for young people full of big hopes and even larger expectations. Many thrive and revel in their new-found independence. But others struggle and too often they struggle silently, because they’re afraid – or ashamed – to tell their parents, friends, or teachers that they’re anxious, depressed, or deeply unhappy. Seven years ago, Eric Windeler launched Jack.org to educate young people and their families on how best to advocate for their own…

Read More

Why we all need to practice emotional first aid.

Mental wellness does not just impact us as individuals, it impacts our whole society. If we all took steps to take care of our emotions and care for ourselves in this way the world would be a lot healthier. Emotionally injured people hurt others and as I have gotten older I have learned how important it is to take time to heal. “When people started practicing personal hygiene, life expectancy improved by almost 50% in a few decades”, mental hygiene can have a similar impact. Fighting loneliness, equipping yourself with tools to handle failure, and protecting your self-esteem can make…

Read More

Trying To Understand ‘What Made Maddy Run’.

Madison Holleran ran track at the University of Pennsylvania. She was popular and beautiful — and raised in a big, supportive family in a New Jersey suburb. “By all accounts, Madison in high school was this young, happy, vibrant, wildly successful human being, who was destined — according to everyone around her — to do amazing things with her life,” says sportswriter Kate Fagan. And from the outside, Madison appeared to be thriving in college, too. But inside, she was struggling with anxiety and depression. Then, in the middle of her freshman year, Madison ended her life by jumping from…

Read More

Depression and Art.

Why hello there! It sure has been awhile, but man has this summer flown by (thanks to full time work, summer school, running, and well more school stuff!). I haven’t had time to blog much or think about stuff besides physiology and finishing my dissertation. But luckily things are slowly wrapping up…just in time for more school to start…HAH! Luckily i’ve received word i’ve passed my physiology course but that gives me little time to celebrate since I still have to tie up the lose ends of my dissertation, prepare for my next runs and moving back to school…. Tis…the…

Read More

Breathe.

Lately I have been anxious: unbearably anxious at times. Maybe it is all of the impending changes in my life. The next nine months of my life. Reflections of the past year triggering flashbacks. Or maybe it is just my damn anxiety disorder, but whatever it is I find myself on almost constantly on edge. My heart has been racing and my mind has been chasing after random thoughts and barely formulated ideas unable to concentrate on the tasks in front of me. I am afraid of a monster I cannot see, of a future I cannot predict, of the…

Read More

What Drives Transgender People to Serve Their Country?

When U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced on Thursday that transgender men and women could serve openly in the military, Captain Jennifer Peace was overjoyed. “I’ve been fighting for this and waiting for this for so long that it was much more emotional than I anticipated. I had to take a moment to let those feelings sink in,” Peace, a 30-year-old military intelligence officer, told NBC OUT. “Everything we’d been saying – that transgender people are fully capable of doing this job and that our service matters and is valued just like every other service member – it’s just…

Read More

Meet the ‘doctors’ who will talk to you whenever you like.

Could health apps and chatbots eventually replace your traditional doctor? “Let’s talk about how you’ve been feeling over the past 30 days,” says Joy. “This will help me get a sense for your current state.” Joy probes a bit deeper, asking a series of questions: Do I feel hopeless? Do I feel restless? When I respond that I’m a bit stressed, Joy offers me several de-stressing techniques. Joy might appear to be my counsellor or my life coach, but the conversation I’m having is actually with a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track emotions and provide…

Read More

How It Feels to Be Turned Away and Disbelieved by Therapists.

Shared with me by a wonderful friend, definitely worth the read. M ———————————————————————————————– Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Palms sweating, I found myself nervously fidgeting my legs and glancing at the clock. I had been here before, many times over the past decade, and increasingly losing faith. At the beginning the sessions seemed to help — you could talk about how you were feeling, what you were experiencing, and you knew the person sat opposite you would believe you.…

Read More