Preventing mental illness starts prenatally

Pregnant woman with apple, slice cake in hands on blue.

What if we could wipe out many forms of mental illness through the prenatal vitamins that a pregnant woman takes?  Sounds a little like science fiction, doesn’t it?  But, there are studies now showing that by adding the B vitamin, choline, the development of the fetal and child brain takes a more healthy growth trajectory than those who don’t get the supplementation. They did continue to give the choline supplementation after birth to the test group, which is also important to realize, since the brain does most of it’s growing in the first 3 years of life. This article on the results of a study of choline supplementation is an important read to understanding how maternal nutrition and subsequent childhood nutrition can affect mental health.

Some people say that we shouldn’t have to use supplements, preferring to have them receive the needed nutrients through food.  Unfortunately, it has been shown time and again that we don’t take in foods the way we should, with too much if it containing fats, sugars, and processed carbohydrates. This especially became the case by WW II when we began to have frozen dinners, and soon after began to have fast food chains. And yes, I remember how exciting it was when we first got a McDonald’s in our town in the 60’s.

When people ask why is there such an increase in mental health problems in adults, but especially in children, it is multifaceted, but nutrition definitely plays a part. We have to treat ourselves better in order to have fulfilling lives. Let’s start with nutrition.

The Homework Debate

difficult school homework

A few times in my career, I wrote medical excuses to keep students from doing homework. I know it sounds ridiculous, but what I saw were students who were in great mental pain, as were their families, from homework that was way beyond their means, especially due to significant mental health disorders that affected their ability to learn and their ability to even engage in the process of learning or wanting to be in a learning environment. When they got home all they wanted to do was crawl under their blankets, but instead their parents felt that they must drag them to the kitchen table and make them do homework. There were a number of times that the student would go off the deep end and the police were called.

Removing homework stabilized the families. The schools had to find a different means of working with the student. In the end, the students didn’t fail – although they would have if they hadn’t turned in their homework. The students did learn.

Here is a link to an article on homework I wrote on LinkedIn.

Now if your student does have to do homework and has ADHD, I have also written an ebook on Amazon entitled The Pediatric Profiler’s Guide to ADHD & Homework.  This may help you understand why your student struggles and how to help.