A recent report (see here) has announced that a third of children have contemplated suicide or even tried it, and suffer from depression or anxiety. This is clearly a very shocking and disturbing discovery – that so many young people are so emotionally unstable and unhappy. I was always under the impression that childhood was the most fun part of life!
As a result of this report, there is a push to make mental health education as important as physical education in school, and teach children about mental health issues- which I agree with, but to me they seem to be missing something quite obvious…
Just the other day when I was driving to the office I saw a child with a can of Redbull, there are vending machines in schools selling sweets and all junk food seems to be targeted at kids – the diet of most children today is crazy. High in caffeine and sugar, and low in any real nutrition. We know that caffeine can lead to anxiety and alterations in mood. We know that sugar can cause behavioral problems in children. We know that poor nutrition prevents certain hormones being produced, which again leads to behavioral problems.
It is all well and good teaching people about depression and mental disorders, perhaps they do need to be more aware of this, but it seems they are not tackling the problem, just explaining it.
These diets are affecting the mental development of children, and are likely to be a contributing factor to this shocking amount of depression amongst young people. Improving diet, and teaching kids about the importance of real food is essential to tackling this problem.
Sadly thought, this is not something which is easily taught at school, and it needs to come from parents.
Yes – mental health is as important as physical health, they are not exclusive aspects of life. They are both greatly impacted by diet – which needs more focus.