Some Hopeful News Ahead about Youth and Mental Health

In a recent article entitled “Lanark first in Canada to adopt Icelandic model for reducing teen social harm” by Elizabeth Payne and featured in the Ottawa Citizen, we read about a group in Lanark called Planet Youth Lanark who have signed a five year agreement with the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis. The article features some interesting facts about Iceland’s program to reduce substance abuse among their youth:

  • after the induction of the program in the 90’s, Iceland’s substance abuse among youth fell from 48% to 5%.
  • Iceland’s program is a primary prevention program that is based on data from the student’s themselves.
  • Surveys given to youth include alcohol and cannabis use as well as issues such as vaping, screen time, body image and mental well-being.
  • Iceland’s program includes proactive measures designed to create environments that promote healthy growth and development and include such things as increased parental involvement, curfews, and the introduction of numerous activities, including sports and music.

Data from the surveys conducted in Lanark and Smith Falls, will then be studied by Icelandic officials with subsequent reports that will highlight how the communities can develop proactive strategies.

What an encouraging news story! As we continue to worry about the rising rates of anxiety and depression in our youth population, this program has the potential to grow in numbers across our province and nation.

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Photo credit: http://Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

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