u There is no health without mental health Continued from page 1

by the World Health Organization states unequivocally that, “There is no health without mental health.” Mental health is now on the forefront of many awareness campaigns

and research

projects for good reason. Mental health matters. Think about the open-

ing quote of this article for a moment. You make an appointment with the dentist when your tooth hurts or the doctor when you feel sick, but we don’t regularly check in on our mental health. Why is that? The lingering stigma attached to mental illness is a known barrier to treat- ment, and this is particu- larly true when it comes to older adults. The Men- tal Health Commission of Canada reports that more than 1.8 mil- lion Canadians over the age of 60 are living with a mental illness, with depres- sion being the most common issue fac- ing older adults.

So how did the negative stigma sur-

rounding mental illness develop and how pervasive is the problem? A clinical overview of the stigma of mental illness from the University of Western Ontario and published in the Mens Sana journal dedicated to medicine and mental health, found that, “Stigma is universally experi- enced; it isolates people and delays treat- ment, which in turn causes a great social and economic burden.” The authors the- orize that the stigma likely resulted from a multitude of causes, including a lack of

Krystal Stokes Healthy Living

understanding of mental illness and the early separation of mental health treat- ment from mainstream healthcare in the 19th century. The authors also concluded that stigma most certainly increases the duration of untreated mental illness. In an overview of older adults and depression, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada affirmed that older adults don’t seek the treatment they need be- cause, “many seniors were raised to be self-sufficient and stoic in the face of life’s challenges, making them reluctant to com- plain about how they are feeling or to ask for help. They are used to working hard to solve their own problems and are ashamed

by their inability to cope.” Overcoming the reluctance to seek help is crucial for one overriding reason – if left untreated, depression can become a risk factor for suicide.

The positive news, according to the Mood Disorders Society, is that, “most people with depression (over 80 per cent)

respond well to treatment and

achieve a complete and lasting recovery.” A first step then in improving mental health outcomes is to open the lines of communication. So let’s

start talking.

Mental illness touches all our lives. It has impacted people in my life that I love. The journey to recovery and wellness re- vealed a very important lesson, one that I will never forget – it takes an extraordi-

nary amount of courage to ask for help. Education, awareness and understand-

ing the risk factors are also key compo- nents in breaking down the stigma of mental illness. The Mood Disorders So- ciety lists several factors that can increase the risk of depression in older adults in- cluding living with chronic pain, a serious illness, living alone without a supportive network of friends and family, the recent death of a loved one, a previous history of depression and the presence of other illnesses that may compromise a person’s ability to be independent.

If you or someone you love is strug- gling with mental illness, consider reaching out to a trained mental health professional or contact the Mood Disor- ders Association of Manitoba for more information on available resources. To learn more about the services offered by this association, please visit http://www. Finally, if you’re interested in support- ing mental health, the Victoria General Hospital Foundation’s third annual Mir- acle Garden Party is set to take place on Sept. 13. As the focus of The Vic turns toward mental health and geriatric care, your support will make a real difference to people whose lives have been affected by mental illness. It will help to ensure that high quality patient care remains in the community for family, friends and neighbours who need it most. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for the event, please call 204-477-3513. Krystal Stokes is the communications and public relations manager with Victoria Lifeline, a community service of the Victoria General Hospital Foundation. This article is meant to be informational in nature and should not replace the advice of a trained healthcare professional.

Dreaming about putting the kids to sleep? A new app shows how

corns, superheroes and wizards as much as their children. The nationwide study conducted on behalf of kids’ sleep app, Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories (www.makebed-, examines the imaginations and dream habits of parents and their children and reveals that adults are really just big kids at heart, wanting to relive the won- ders of childhood imagination. When asked what dream they most wished to have, both kids and parents confessed they wanted to ride a flying unicorn (15 per cent of adults and 17 per cent of kids), save the world with magical superpowers (13 per cent of adults and 14 per cent of kids) and heart-warm- ingly, for everyone in the world to be happy (23 per cent of adults and 15 per cent of kids). In contrast to the fantastical dreams that parents wish


for, their kids think adults dream about reality, such as money (29 per cent), family (22 per cent) and work (15 per cent). What’s more, two-thirds (65 per cent) of chil- dren brand their parents’ dreams as boring, with 92 per cent of kids believing they have a better imagination than adults, leading to better dreams. Leading sleep expert and physiologist Dr. Nerina

Ramlakhan says, “Children have an amazing capacity to imagine and daydream and it’s important that they have the time and space to do so especially at bedtime. When children dream and imagine, their brain is given the chance to reorganize and consolidate the information of the day. A process that is vital for brain development and learning.”

Fred Douglas

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ew research pulls back the bed covers on the na- tion’s dreaming habits, revealing that parents long to escape from reality and dream about uni-

why they have better dreams – com/watch?v=bJonLOsJy8U Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories supports the creation of a

This insight is backed by the survey which found that 90 per cent of youngsters feel happy and excited for the next day when they have had an imaginative dream. However, it is not just kids that benefit from a good night’s sleep full of dreams, as Dr. Nerina ex- plains: “Adults need to allow themselves to daydream and allow their imagination free reign too; it is vital for creativity, problem solving and memory consoli- dation. But these days, with relentless demands and overflowing inboxes, we find ourselves with so little time to go ‘offline’. Children place more importance and find it easier to let their imagination roam free. We could all learn and benefit from this as adults.” Moshi Monsters creators Mind Candy commissioned the study to celebrate its sleep app Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories, a bedtime aid for kids featuring enchanting and tuneful audio tales that help children drift off and en- joy a good night’s sleep, set in the world of Moshi. Mind Candy spoke to kids directly about what they dream about, what they think adults dream about and

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good night's sleep, focusing on that final “light’s out” moment, after the bedtime story has been read. These stories feature dreamy melodies and calming narration with guided relaxations and soothing sounds. Use of the audio app supports the regular bedtime routine and helps to lull kids into a peaceful sleep. Dr. Nerina says, “Technology has become deeply in- grained in our daily lives and, if used in a positive and mindful way, it can enhance our lives and way of liv- ing. The Moshi Twilight app can help to settle children and create a greater sense of peace and inner safety when used as part of a regular bedtime routine, espe- cially with its use of audio stories without the need for children to look at a screen”. Since its launch on mobile and tablet, Moshi Twilight

Sleep Stories has been a big hit with kids and adults, with 73 per cent of families using the app saying their kids drifted off to sleep faster, on average 20 minutes a night faster, than their usual bedtime routine. Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories is a free app on mobile and tablet which can be expanded with a subscription package offering access to an extended library of sto- ries, relaxations and soundscapes – with new content added every week. The app has been developed in partnership with leading wellbeing and mindfulness app, Calm, recently named as Apple’s App of The Year 2017. For more information go to www.makebedtimeadream.


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