Failure to recognize Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders as a significant risk factor for suicide and other mental health issues.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are caused when a baby is exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. Prenatal alcohol exposure has been linked to more than 60 disease conditions, birth defects and disabilities, including many conditions manifesting as mental health issues. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) to a level requiring intervention affects about 10% of the Canadian population. As affected individuals become adults, FASD does not disappear but the issues of youth translate into ongoing problems in family relationships, employment, mental health and justice conflicts. FASD is often undiagnosed but never unpunished.
The Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care, authors of “Not to be Forgotten - Care of Vulnerable Canadians”, fails to make any mention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) as a mental health issue, including as a risk factor for suicide. This appears to be a deliberate omission by the Committee, among other serious misconstruing; it has disregarded Canada’s sorry history of care for persons with mental illness, and has failed to take account of the class-action suits and other current signals of governments’ failures, relative to persons with mental illness, in one of their most basic responsibilities, which is to protect people against harm against which they cannot protect themselves.
Petition: We urge the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care to review and revise the report, “Not to be Forgotten” to recognize and address the implications of FASD as a major suicide factor and a major factor in the need for mental health services in Canada.