Several protective factors can assist communities and schools in supporting and nurturing New Brunswick’s youth as they face new and prior challenges.
The New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) report, entitled In Balance, provides a follow-up to work previously done by the NBHC in 2016, incorporating the latest data from its 2018 – 2019 New Brunswick student wellness survey. This report discusses the fact that an attention to these protective factors could help address issues such as poor academic performance, anxiety, depression, drug use, tobacco use, as well as many other issues that are of concern to parents and educators.
“In the years since our original work, it has become clearer than ever that one of the best strategies to support and assist students is to promote protective factors,” said Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC. “Even though this work was initiated before Covid-19 arrived in New Brunswick, these factors help to develop in students an ability to deal with situations, to build self-esteem as well as to develop a sense of well-being that avoids turning to negative behaviours as coping mechanisms.”
Protective factors include student behaviours, such as encouraging proper sleep and physical activity. There are also efforts from family and friends, with support and participation in group activities; and from school and community, by promoting school connectedness, volunteer activities and getting help with mental or emotional problems.
The report looks at comparisons between communities with varying levels of protective factors, as well as strategies for communities, schools, parents and students to develop these factors and create more resilience both in students and around them.
Communities that focus on achieving the right balance between the treatment of mental illnesses and the promotion of mental health (including prevention efforts) show better outcomes for children and youth. They balance protective factors with mental health services, school programming that enhances connectedness, and encouraging healthy support among family and friends.
The report also contains recommended practices that can help increase resilience in youth. To see the complete results, the NBHC invites New Brunswickers to visit nbhc.ca/resilience.
The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health system performance through a citizen-centred dual mandate of performance measurement and citizen engagement.