Last year, the University of Waterloo conducted a Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey (CRAYS) at George Elliot Secondary (GES) in Lake Country. The Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey, funded by the Canadian Cancer Society, is a pan-Canadian survey of students in grades 9 to 12. The survey looked at 5 interconnected issues facing students that impact their well-being – mental health, bullying, tobacco use, nutrition, UV exposure and school connectedness.
As part of the Plan H Healthy Communities Capacity Building Grant (Stream One) that Lake Country Health Planning Society (LCHPS) recently received, the society will be reviewing these findings and looking for opportunities to take action on them. LCHPS is also conducting its own Youth Health Survey and will compile these results, along with other research such as that found in the CRAYS report, into a Community Health and Wellness plan.
The CRAYS report provides parents, schools and the community in general, with some very interesting and relevant information about the health and well-being of our youth. The survey was completed by 460 students at GES. It found that 38% of the students at GES do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, 34% have been bullied by another student in the last month and 72% had tried drinking alcohol (see chart below).
The survey also found that 26% of the students have tried smoking a cigarette, 52% of those who have tried tobacco also tried a flavoured tobacco product and 35% have tried smoking marijuana (see chart below).
Compared to the provincial and national findings, Lake Country students were pretty similar in their repsonses. Although our young people are not neccesarily any more at risk than those in other parts of the country, LCHPS thinks we can do better. With some targeted and effective strategies, LCHPS believes we can improve the health of the youth in our community. Over the next several weeks, LCHPS will be reviewing more of the findings from this survey and writing about it here.
The Lake Country Health Planning Society is conducting a Youth Community Health Survey. If you are between 12 - 24 years old and live in Lake Country please complete this short survey so your input can be counted!
You could win a gift certificate from Orachard Park for $150!!! Click on the link below to complete this quick survey. It will only take about 3 minutes and the information you provide will be used to help inform health, wellness and recreational decisions in Lake Country.
This project idea was born from the Postsecret phenomenon that was created by Frank Warren. His initiative asked people to create a postcard that shared a secret they were carrying, in hopes that it would allow people’s voices to be heard. The response has been overwhelming. Since 2004 Frank has received over 500,000 postcards!
Based off of this idea, this initiative is to get teens in Lake Country talking about issues that they are experiencing here, whether it’s mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional. The project would see 50-100 youth (or more!) aged 13-18, creating postcards over a 6 week time span, with supplies and collection boxes made available to them at the Art House, the Boys and Girls Club Teen Lounge and the LC Alliance Church Youth Group. The intention is to mount the show in the pop-up gallery space in the Art House on Friday, May 13th and invite the community to come and see what youth are saying. We believe that all youth in Lake Country would benefit from this project, as would Lake Country as a whole, and we would consider this a success if even one teen felt more connected in their community.
This project is part of a larger youth event happening the weekend of May 13th, 2016 which also includes painting of the sidewalk to strive for a more inclusive community, food and music.
The thought is that they will get to anonymously express themselves using art as the medium. The word anonymously is stressed as we believe this is a crucial point in getting kids involved; it allows them to reveal their secrets and have their voices heard without judgment or criticism. The postcards can reflect any emotions or thoughts; they can be intended to be funny or serious or anything in between. It is amazing the amount of emotion that can be conveyed on a simple, small postcard. The hope is that by doing this project they will:
By getting young people creating and expressing themselves, and then mounting the show for the whole community to see, we may start to see where our teens have needs, as well as find ways that adults might help. We recognize that letting out secrets in this manner may bring up issues, both for those creating them and for those who read them. We intend to support the community by having information and resources provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) available at the gallery during the event, as well as posting them to our website and Facebook page.
Grief is a funny thing. We all have experienced it, we’ve all been through it. No one is immune to loss; yet it’s not something we readily talk about. We rarely discuss how it makes us feel or how it manifests for us. Maybe because it is such a personal journey, maybe we cannot find the words, or maybe we are afraid no one wants to listen. Science tells us that there are 5 stages that we pass through: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross). But it isn’t a straight trajectory by any means; it’s multi-layered and messy. We bounce back and forth between the stages and sometimes we get stuck in one area or another; everyone processes grief and loss differently. Okay you say, that all makes sense, but what does it really look like?
Well, recently my family and I passed through the third anniversary of losing our loved ones. Yes, you read that right, we lost two precious family members in one single day. This year was a little less tear filled than previous ones, but still significant enough that we all, in a totally unconscious, undiscussed way, dressed up in our best clothes and treated each other with the utmost of care and consideration. The kids washed and brushed and tidied themselves without being reminded. We all hugged each other a little closer and our smiles for each other were a little tighter than normal. The day was bright and sunny, just like the day they left us. Everywhere were reminders of them and it was definitely emotional and draining. I found myself outwardly doing the things I needed to do and putting on a brave face for the world, but inside was a mishmash of thoughts and feelings and memories as the day progressed. Interestingly, I came across two articles about grief and loss that day that really hit home with me. Both of these articles do an amazing job at explaining grief. Written with beauty and love and wit and obvious experience, these two different perspectives give an emotional, raw voice to grief.
The first one reminded me of that there is still beauty tied up with grief and it gave a powerful explanation of what it feels like. Love doesn’t die, nor does grief, it just takes another form read more.
The other is from the perspective of a parent losing a child, but is written in such a moving and simplistic way that it would be useful to help explain grief and loss to children. read more
Grief is a part of life, we cannot escape it. But we can embrace it, and with it, honour all of our lost loves.