Mental health rated low in B.C. despite healthy lifestyles: doctor

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British Columbia’s medical health officer says citizens have rated their mental health as nearly the lowest in the country despite being more physically active and having generally healthier lifestyles.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued a report on the health of British Columbians and says more people are experiencing mental health woes even though the province has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.

Henry’s report is based on performance measures toward seven goals the Health Ministry set in 2013 and are expected to be met by 2023.

Some of the goals are related to environmental and mental health as well as prevention of harm to children from substances including the use of alcohol and cannabis before age 15.

Henry says smoke from wildfires, for example, affects health and the province must do a better job of assessing other impacts of climate change as well as putting more funding into health promotion programs.

She says the opioid crisis has affected people from all sectors of society but particularly young men, who make up nearly 80 per cent of overdose deaths in the province, although data in her report is limited to the end of 2015.

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