Diverse mental health research at Western recognized

With this being Mental Health Week, a pair of Western University post-doctoral students are being recognized for their work in the mental health field.

The two research projects focus on mental health, one looking at the toll immigration can take on new Canadians, and the other on the link between epilepsy in children and depression.

“Epilepsy goes far beyond seizures," says researcher and post-doctoral candidate Klajdi Puka, who has been been following families who have children with epilepsy to see how it effects the mental health of the family unit.

“Our preliminary results are showing that they are very closely linked and that’s what other research also shows that the health of the whole family really impacts the child."

Puka and his team recently released findings that showed that depression in mothers of kids who have epilepsy can be long lasting.

Now the next step of the project is to focus on the child’s mental health.

“It’s not just about treating seizures but it’s about quality of life, and if you’re treating seizures but yet the family and patients have a poor quality of life, then have you really treated the condition?”

Quality of life and mental health is also part of another recognized project at Western that’s focusing on the mental well-being of refugees, and the toll migration to a safe county can take on a person.

Researcher and post-doctoral candidate Jordan Edwards says, “We know it has impacts on mental health and mental health is something is something that can happen acutely - so immediately upon arrival - but also something that can have an impact on health outcomes over time."

By analyzing data from Statistics Canada as well as provincial administrative data, Edwards and his team are hoping to be able to provide early mental health interventions for this portion of the population.

“We know that treatment works for mood and anxiety disorders and depression and anxiety and we know that it helps, but getting the resources and getting the services that are available is very important.”

Each project recently received $5,000 in funding from the Canadian Mental Health Association to help move the research forward.