Hey guys!

This is my third round for my second cycle of this year. For those of you who don't know, my question this time is...

How can a student lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle? 

As a reminder, I will be splitting each round into two segments: the first will relate to the average Canadian student and the second, the average Kenyan student. For this round, I will be looking into mental health and balanced social lives.

So let's get started!

Canada:

Mental health in schools:

Mental health is tough. It is something that can alter someone's life drastically and it can be quite difficult to deal with - especially as a student. The Mental Health Commission of Canada has concluded that between 15% and 25 % of Canadian youth suffer from at least one mental health illness or problem. These statistics are quite staggering. Mental disorders are described to represent not only the most common but the most disabling condition that affects children and youth. The Commission has also concluded that "70% of mental illnesses in adults have their onset during adolescence or childhood and 70% of childhood cases of mental health problems can be solved through early diagnosis and interventions" which is why knowing how to identify and deal with this issue is imperative. (1)(2)

Nevertheless, school is a great place to promote strong mental health and to provide support for those who need it. But how does Canada do this? Well, speaking on my own experience as a Canadian teen, we learned about mental health in a course called 'Planning' last year in grade ten. 'Planning' focuses on preparing students for their future and learning about mental health was an aspect of the class. Additionally, Charles Best has three counsellors and a Youth Worker who are also great options if you are looking for someone to talk to. However, on a provincial and national scale, Canada has created quite a few initiatives in support of mental awareness. Whether it be in the community (like the Canadian Association for School Health), or provincial coalitions for youth and their mental health (like Stewart, Nyman, & Anderson, 2012), there have definitely been changes made in the past decade. (2)

How to balance mental health:

Sometimes, mental health may not seem like a priority compared to all the other aspects you have to juggle in life, but it is in fact extremely important to know how you can help yourself.

Here are some ways you can do so:

  1. Try to make your physical health a priority. I talked about physical health in my last post, but I didn't mention how having good physical health and exercise can positively affect your mental health as well. The endorphins released while exercising along with the physical benefits is extremely beneficial. 
  2. Find ways to balance and calm on your own. This may take some time as you need to experiment for this one in order to find something that works for you. Whether it be meditation, guided imagery, or breathing exercises there are lots of options. A quick Google search will give you even more options if needed!
  3. Limit social media time. I know for some people, this isn't an easy thing to do, but social media is a powerful thing. Sometimes, taking breaks can be very beneficial. You may see that to stop watching everyone else and focusing on what you are doing will affect you quite positively. 
  4. Change up your environment. Changing your scenery by rearranging your room, taking a walk on a street you've never been on, or getting food at a store you've never been to are small things you can do to take yourself out of an unhealthy mindset.  

(3)(4)(5)

Survey:

Here's what I found:

44% of Canadian Butterfly Effect members who took my survey said they do believe that school affects their mental health negatively.

33% of Canadian Butterfly Effect members who took my survey said they do not believe school affects their mental health negatively.

22% of Canadian Butterfly Effect members who took my survey said they are unsure if school affects their mental health negatively.  

Mental health and the reasons behind it is different for each person, so I won't be going into too much detail with these survey results. However, the main reason I decided to include these statistics is because of the contrast between the Canadian and the Kenyan results. Scroll down to see the difference! 

Kenya:

 

Believe it or not, I wasn't able to find a single reliable source that was able to provide the information I am looking for in regards to Kenyan students and mental health. I have contacted some Butterfly Effect members and asked some questions like I usually do and will update this post as soon as they get back to me. If you find any sources that you think may be of use to me, PLEASE comment them below - that would be extremely helpful!

Survey:

Here's what I found:

100% of Canadian Butterfly Effect members who took my survey said they do not believe school affects their mental health negatively.

I can not wait for the Kenyan students I have contacted to get back to me as I am very curious as to what Kenyan schools or programs do that allow for this amazing statistic. Of course, the sample size is very small and should not be considered as a representation of all of Kenya. 

Next week:

Next week, I will be doing a resume of all my posts and giving a very concise list of how to balance all the aspects I have covered over the past few weeks in hopes to answer my inquiry question clearly. 

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment any feedback! 

Sources:

1. https://www.ctf-fce.ca/en/Page...s/Mental-Health.aspx

2. http://teenmentalhealth.org/wp...n-Canada-Article.pdf

3. https://blog.collegevine.com/b...alth-in-high-school/

4. http://www.mentalhealthamerica...cing-work-and-school

5. https://thetempest.co/2016/03/...-work-mental-health/

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Original Post

Hi Heeva! 

Great research round! I really like how you format your research and how you also gave advice on how we can balance our mental health.  I think it's great that in Canada, and at our school, there is so much support in regards to mental health.  However, I wonder how much of it is actually used, like how many people seek help for their mental health and how many keep to themselves. Perhaps if you are interested you could do more research about it. 

As for websites that have the information about Kenyan student's mental health; unfortunately I did not find anything either but I did find some about mental health in Kenya in general so maybe it could help in some way: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK350305/

https://www.emeraldinsight.com...mp;journalCode=eihsc

Good job!

Hey Heeva, 

I love the comparing and contrasting throughout your whole research round! As the reader, I find it very beneficial to see both perspectives on the same topic under the same post rather than separating them. Both yourself and Rhea touched upon the difficulty of finding information around mental health in Kenya and perhaps is that because mental health isn't as large of an issue compared to Canada. Meaning Kenya has other issues to face such as water conservation and mental health might not be a main issue. But in saying that, maybe there is mental health issues that just aren't on the Internet and we're not aware of. Anyways I like how you are including opinions from students in Kenya and Canada to help the research of your inquiry question. Lastly, I found an interesting article on who seeks mental health care in Kenya and within the trial there are many different disorders the teens faced. Here is the link below. 

https://www.researchgate.net/p...ry_referral_facility

I'm looking forward to your next round of research on the resumes of all your posts. 

Hello Heeva,
Your use of surveys for comparison between the two sides is honestly very interesting. It’s honestly quite sad that there are many resources about mental health in Kenya, hopefully, more is done on the subject at some point in the future. The fact that really struck me was the fact that the majority believed that school negatively impacted their mental health, as you would think that the negative would be the minority. I really liked though your list of 4 things to do to help you balance your mental health. One that seems really interesting is physical health as it doesn't immediately pop to mind when thinking of mental health, but it does make sense that physical activity would release endorphins that help with mental health. The second one though I find to be best of all though as, everyone is indeed different but I like it more so because everyone has their own way to calm down and the fact is doing things to calm down like meditating or doing breathing exercises really does help with keeping people calm and making sure they are feeling better. Breathing exercises for example help to calm people down quite a bit, to the point where watches have settings just for guided breathing to help people with it; my watch has such a setting and I have to say the animation for it is pretty cool, but even more so it really is calming to follow along with it. I can’t wait to see the difference between mental health here compared to Kenya!

Hopefully, these sites may be of use to you:
https://www.mhinnovation.net/i...e-childrens-mental-2
http://teenmentalhealth.org/ca...chool-mental-health/
https://globalnews.ca/news/492...ntal-health-fleming/
https://ontario.cmha.ca/docume...esources-in-schools/

Hey Venus!

Wow.  I really loved this round.  It was straight forward and presented the information in a great way.  I was very interested to read about the Kenyan students but not really shocked at all, after hearing what Agnus had told me about her life there.

I might get some backlash on this, however i'm going to say it anyway.  I think that in the search for acceptance and awareness, we might have gone too far.  I one hundred per cent agree that mental health should be first on our priorities list.  However, like a lot of things wed take things to an extreme sometimes.

For example, i was talking to one of my friends dad's who was telling me about their new "equality" standards.  In the fight for equality, that's what was wanted, equality, for everyone to have a fair chance, for no one skin color or religion dominate.  However there, they now must meet a certain number of employees of mixed skin color.  This being that if two people went for a job, one being Caucasian and one being black, and the Caucasian was more qualified in this circumstance, if they had not met the number of employees needed, they would pick the black candidate even if he wasn't as qualified, in order to make the quota. 

Now what i'm trying to say is that, we have taken it to this extremes in so m any things, and maybe we have done the same thing with this a bit too.  People diagnose their dogs with anxiety issues these days. 

Overall what i'm trying to say is that, perhaps, since the Kenyans have not been as educated and it's not such a big thing over there, less people have these mental health issues because it hasn't been taken to the extreme.

I am not sure if my point came across, however this s not to say that i think we should stop teaching so much about mental health. It's just a point that might be interesting to look into.

https://verilymag.com/2015/10/...n-the-rise-awareness

Good luck!

Hi Heeva,

Great research! It's unfortunate that there aren't any good reliable resources on mental health in Kenya - it would have been interesting to read about that and see a different perspective on it. Nevertheless I think your research was very thorough and I like how you're looking into mental health in both Canada and Kenya. I definitely agree that physical activity can boost mental health. Sometimes, I will not want to go to my soccer practice because I'm stressed about a test I have the next day and feel that I need more time to study, but honestly when I go to soccer, running around and getting physical exercise makes me feel a lot better and it clears up my head.

Here are some websites that you might find interesting:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.u...et-and-mental-health

https://www.helpguide.org/arti...its-of-exercise.htm/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4304169/

Good luck!

Hi Heeva, 

Awesome research round! Your post was very detailed. The highlighted and bolded titles made your work very easy to read. Consequently, it's evident that you put a lot of effort in it. The surveys you did were interesting, and it was nice seeing you take your information from various sources (from the Butterfly Effect community and general research). Furthermore, I really enjoyed reading your piece on how we could balance our mental health. I find that when school becomes especially stressful, a lot of people forget about themselves and getting even footing. Good job on that! 

I saw that you mentioned that you wanted some links regarding the mental health of Kenyan students. I’ve listed some below and hope that you find them useful. I read an interesting personal story about a woman named Sitawa Wifula. In the article, she shares her tale and describes how she is taking action. Wifula says that she is working towards drafting and implementing a new Bill to help change the treatment of mental illness in Kenya. Perhaps you could investigate that! It’d be intriguing to take the legal processes of how the governments and other officials are treating it.  

- 

Websites you can use: 

http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk...health-in-kenya.html  

https://www.nation.co.ke/news/...4-4og8u9z/index.html  

http://teenmentalhealth.org/ca...chool-mental-health/  

- 

Can’t wait for your next post, 

-Alison 

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