Month: August 2020

How Parents Can Identify Anxiety Warning Signs as Students Return to School

When students across British Columbia head back to school, they’ll enter a new world of COVID-19 precautions and protocols. Consequently, students of all ages, from kindergarten to Grade 12, may experience higher levels of anxiety with varying symptoms and consequences.

Dr. Steven Taylor, professor at UBC’s department of psychiatry, a clinical psychologist, and author of The Psychology of Pandemics has some expert advice for parents of school-aged children.

Dr. Steven Taylor

What early warning signs of increased anxiety should parents look for in kids returning to class?

ST: Children tend to express anxiety through physical symptoms so parents should look for signs such as stomach aches, decrease in appetite, headaches, irritability and difficulty sleeping. Parents know their children and their behaviour and should have a good sense of when their kids are emotionally upset or preoccupied.

How can parents reduce their child’s anxiety and alleviate fears about COVID-19?

ST: In short, try to keep things as normal as possible while letting them know that it’s OK to be apprehensive. It’s also important to understand that the main concern for many students won’t actually be COVID-19; it will be about how their classes will be organized, their ability to adapt to new formats and new learning environments, and of course their grades. But children are most likely to be anxious during the first week or two of school and then, for most kids, their anxieties should abate as they get used to the new routine.

“Try to keep things as normal as possible while letting them know that it’s OK to be apprehensive.”
Dr. Steven Taylor, professor, department of psychiatry

Can well-meaning parents make things worse by saying the wrong things?

ST: Parents shouldn’t be too hard on themselves, but sometimes they may have to walk a fine line. Just because a child doesn’t initiate a conversation, doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling stressed. But obviously you don’t want to stoke fears by conjuring scary scenarios or planting seeds—it’s better to ask exploratory open-ended questions rather than feeding them lines. For example: “You don’t seem to be your usual self lately. Is something bothering you?”

When was the last time students in Canada faced anything like this pandemic?

ST: Young Canadians haven’t dealt with anything like this since the Spanish flu 100 years ago. Even in the 1950s during the Cold War, when kids did the duck-and-cover in the classroom, I don’t think they were affected like they are today.

In addition to talking, what other practical things can parents do to help their kids deal with the pandemic this school year?

ST: We’ll soon enter cough, cold and flu season, so it’s very important for students to get flu shots and wear facemasks. Without getting children tested for SARS-CoV-2, it will be very difficult to discern whether kids with symptoms actually have COVID-19, so we want to limit stress where we can. Flu shots and facemasks are a great way to do that.

International Overdose Awareness Day

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event held on 31 August each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. You can find more information or if you would like to commemorate somebody, please add tributes HERE.
Tributes will be posted on this website as soon as they are approved.

Request for Proposal

The Public Health Association of BC is seeking proposals from consultants for a



Reporting to the Senior Director of the Public Health Association of British Columbia, the consultant will support the establishment of an e‐learning module to facilitate the implementation of section 7(1) of the Regulation in order to give parents/guardians and students identified by the medical health officer (“MHO”) the ability to complete the mandatory information session pertaining to vaccination education.

For full details and to submit your proposal go HERE,

or contact Craig Thompson, Senior Director PHABC


Phone: (778) 397-3360 

Research Officer — Ministry of Health

 This position is located in Victoria, with the possibility of telework.

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Development and Communications Manager — BCCDC Foundation for Population and Public Health

Development and Communications Manager

Salary: $60-70K, commensurate with experience; benefits top-up;
excellent vacation package 

Duration: 18 months with possibility of extension 

The BCCDC Foundation for Population and Public Health (BCCDC Foundation) works in partnership with the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), and other stakeholders to improve public health outcomes. The BCCDC is BC’s government public health agency and provides health promotion and prevention services, harm reduction programming, analytical and policy support to government and health authorities, and diagnostic and treatment services to reduce communicable and chronic disease, preventable injury and environmental health risks. 

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Public Funds Should be for Public Health, not Private Profits

Around the world, governments fund critically important medical research and development using public money — including more than $1 billion already committed by the Canadian government to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as diagnostic tests and medicines.

Publicly funded research has led to dramatic healthcare innovations. In Canada alone, researchers have used government funds to support the discovery of an Ebola vaccine, insulin, the cardiac pacemaker and more.

Unfortunately, most countries — including Canada — rarely demand that the resulting health innovations be safeguarded for public health, or be made affordable and accessible to those who need them most.

In fact, these publicly funded vaccines, medicines and health technologies are often sold to private companies, who then determine who receives access to them — and at what price.

Tell Canada’s Minister of Health to take concrete steps to prioritize patient access over private profits: Sign the petition from Doctors Without Borders HERE.