Mental health services for N.B. children questioned
‘State of the Child’ report reveals youths not eating breakfast
Children with mental illness in New Brunswick have a much higher chance of being hospitalized than the Canadian average, according to the annual ‘State of the Child’ report.
The report was released Tuesday by the New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate and the New Brunswick Health Council.
It said in the province, 37.6 per cent of children’s mental health diseases and disorders are treated in hospital, nearly double the Canadian average of just 19.4 per cent.
Stéphane Robichaud, the CEO of the council, said the numbers could indicate the system isn't intervening early enough with children with mental disorders or diseases.
"That brings our attention to say, `What's the story behind that? Are we making the services accessible? Are we quick to respond to these opportunities?'" he said. "Because as you can appreciate, if you're not getting the help earlier on, your situation may deteriorate, and then it requires more work later on."
Breakfast, sleep also issues
The report said just two out of five per cent of youths – defined as children from grades six to 12 – are eating a proper breakfast daily.
In addition, just over half of youths sleep more than eight hours a night.
Travis Daley, a grade 12 student at Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton, said he’s not surprised by those numbers. He said students are under a lot of pressure.
"So breakfast might be tossed aside for a few more hours of sleep or vice verse, you might want to wake up early to eat a big breakfast to get that test done on time."
Robichaud said these statistics are important, and help point out the problem areas. He said the key will be figuring out exactly what to do with them to improve the overall health of New Brunswick children.