Children sicken under National | The Jackal

7 Jun 2017

Children sicken under National

Nine years of a National led government hasn't been good for New Zealand. As well as more homelessness, incarceration and suicides in Aotearoa, the right wing's neoliberal agenda has caused Kiwi kids to become sicker, both physically and mentally.

Today, the NZ Herald (not online yet) reported:

Depressed kids: 15,000 on meds

The number of children and teenagers on Prozac-style antidepressants has soared 98 per cent in the past 10 years to a total of nearly 15,000 young people last year.

It's a similar article to this 2013 one, when Stuff reported:

Number of 'anxious' kids skyrockets

The rate of children diagnosed by a doctor with mental health conditions has almost doubled over the past five years.

Wow! That’s a huge increased in a very short time. I wonder what’s causing it?

A suicide prevention advocate has slammed the results as bad science and says the definition of a "normal child" has narrowed too far.

However, child psychology experts say the increasing rate could be a symptom of a more anxiety-driven society and improvements in the diagnosis of youngsters.

About 25,000 children have been diagnosed with behavioural and emotional problems, with anxiety the fastest growing condition, according to the Ministry of Health's latest children's health report.

Anxiety, ADHD and depression are the three most common disorders in children, and boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned in this article is the effects of a bad diet. When finances are stretched it’s often people’s diets that suffer and with more people becoming indebted and struggling to pay the bills, people are cutting back on buying healthy foods.

The effect of a bad diet on the nervous and mental system should not be underestimated. Here's an excerpt from a study done by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry:

Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses

The most common mental disorders that are currently prevalent in numerous countries are depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The dietary intake pattern of the general population in many Asian and American countries reflects that they are often deficient in many nutrients, especially essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. A notable feature of the diets of patients suffering from mental disorders is the severity of deficiency in these nutrients. Studies have indicated that daily supplements of vital nutrients are often effective in reducing patients' symptoms.

Most doctors in New Zealand will treat mental health issues as solely emotional or biochemical. They often don’t treat their patients holistically nor recommend particular nutrients or refer patients onto dieticians.

The other main issue is that healthy food costs more. If you’re on a fixed budget and have some bills to pay, a well balanced diet becomes a luxury that many Kiwi's cannot afford.

The government should therefore change this negative dynamic by taking GST of fruit and vegetables so that young Kiwi’s are more likely to get the nutrition they require.