World Health Day 2022: Focusing on FASD

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Tomorrow, April 7th, is World Health Day. Celebrated annually, World Health Day marks the anniversary of the date the World Health Organization was founded. Although primarily focused on the impacts of climate change on our health, this year’s theme is meant to spark a movement to create healthy societies that are focused on promoting well-being.

What are the social determinants of health?

FASD is inextricably linked to the social determinants of health. These are the social and economic factors that impact our well-being. They include income, social status, employment, education, childhood experiences, social supports, gender, culture, and race. In short, the places where we live, learn, work, and play have as much impact on our health as our personal behaviours and our genetics.

How do they impact people with FASD and caregivers?  

People with FASD experience high rates of mental health challenges, substance use, and adverse childhood experiences. Many struggle to succeed in the education system when unsupported. As adults, finding long-term, stable housing and meaningful employment can be a challenge. We need to provide early and appropriate services and supports for people with FASD that encourage their strengths to promote healthy outcomes in the future. Additionally, caregivers of people with FASD have extremely high rates of stress that impact their health and wellbeing. We also need to make sure there are services available to support them.

How do they impact people who are pregnant?  

Substance use is often linked to mental health, trauma, and violence. Sex and gender are important factors to consider when providing, creating, and funding addictions services. Women, girls, and people who are sexually active, pregnant, and parenting need adequate access to health and social services that promote the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families.

To ensure healthy, thriving societies, we need to promote the health and wellbeing of all Canadians, now and into the future. However, people with FASD and their support systems have been left out of the conversation for far too long. That is why we’re pushing for a National FASD Strategy. Check our website to learn how you can help.

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