May is Mental Health Awareness Month and every year the goal is to fight the stigma around mental health, provide support and to educate the public. Mental illness refers to a wide range of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behaviour. In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness or addiction. Many mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence, and can lead to compromised quality of life or premature death in some cases. In our lab, we aim to understand the structure of the developing brain, as well as its function and plasticity with the hope of improving treatments for children who experience learning and behavioural challenges. Many of our ongoing studies focus on the links between mental health and the brain by studying neurological changes during this crucial time of development (preschool-aged children to adolescence) and brain maturation. With understanding of how the brain matures and changes in response to developmental disorders such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and autism spectrum disorder, we can begin to comprehend how to help these children cope and offer explanations as well as treatments and solutions.
Need help or know someone that does?
Kids Help Phone – https://kidshelpphone.ca/, live chat online, call a counsellor 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868
Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline – https://www.samhsa.gov/disaster-preparedness, call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – https://cmha.ca/
Mental Health First Aid/Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHFA) – https://www.mhfa.ca/
National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)