How well are the children
In October 2013, Dr. Brendan Hanley (Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health) made a presentation to the Early Years gathering in Whitehorse on "Getting the best start: A recipe for healthy children". He highlighted areas where Yukon children are doing okay and areas of concern. He also spoke about ways that we can improve outcomes for children.
Dr. Hanley's talk is broken into three parts of about 10 minutes each.
In January 2013, we brought Dr. Dennis Embry, a prevention scientist, to Yukon, to spread the word on how small actions taken often by many people can change the lives of Yukoners of all ages.
Using data from the United States, he shows that more and more young people are suffering from problems like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse at younger and younger ages. As a prevention scientist, he is interested in how can we reduce the risk to young people so that they may lead happy, engaged and productive lives. Here are some of his ideas:
- Treat all children as “our children.” The health and well-being of any child is influenced by the health and well-being of their friends, and their friends’ friends and so on. When we think of improving the health and well-being of children, think on the population-level – what will improve the lives of all children.
- Think about creating a “suitcase for life” for all children. What are the things all children need to succeed? And what are the things that will weigh them down?
- Use science to discover “behavioural vaccines.” Behavioural vaccines work like vaccines used to protect children against infectious diseases like chicken pox or measles. They reduce the risk to children – all children – of mental, emotional or behavioural problems by arming children or their parents with the skills they need to be successful.
- Look to ancient wisdom for what has worked across generations. An example is the protective role of Omega 3’s found in fish and green leafy vegetables.