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I was running an errand yesterday and was listening to NPR while I was driving.
The discussion was about a new law in New York State that requires mental health education in school curriculum. They definitely had my attention.
Did you know that among teens and young adults, suicide is second only to car accidents as the number one cause of death? Stunning! Also, they said that one in five teens will struggle with mental health issues, but less than 50 percent of them will seek help. Also, for 50 percent of the population, the onset of depression or anxiety is typically age 14. That puts me ahead of the curve on that one; I was 12 when my depression first began.
Part of the goal with the New York law, which began as part of the fall 2018 curriculum, is to reduce the stigma attached to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. I know the stigma factor was key for me in keeping secret my own struggles for decades. I was pretty good at it, too. I have a couple of friends who knew me well, but who never suspected my depression challenges.
I applaud New York State and their efforts to educate about mental health issues. They want to build collaborative partnerships to support families, provide education and give easier access to mental health care when appropriate.
I do have a concern with this however. I didn’t hear anything that would lead me to feel optimistic the new law includes anything that would attempt to educate young people about nutrition. Researchers now acknowledge that inflammation is the root cause of chronic diseases, and that depression is a chronic disease.
I would be much more enthusiastic if the new law included provisions for education as to how to eat to reduce inflammation in the body and the brain. There was no mention of dietary influences or any approach that wouldn’t involve a traditional route. When I say “traditional,” I’m referring to the allopathic medicine protocol that involves anti-depressants. This is the route I took many years ago. It didn’t work for me, and it doesn’t work for far too many people.
I feel very strongly that education about proper nutrition is critical as eating differently is what saved me from my own chronic depression. I stopped eating the Standard American Diet of processed food. I did it by accident, but if the education were there to help people understand how to reduce inflammation in their bodies by changing how they eat, I believe the incidences of mental and physical chronic diseases would decrease significantly.
I applaud the State of New York for their efforts. While this New York law is definitely a step in the right direction, I hope courses on healthy eating and proper nutrition will be offered. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless…far from it!
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness in Your Life!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
Her new book, “Eat Your Blues Away” will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in November!
UPDATE – The second to the last paragraph was added on Nov. 1.