Students across the country are learning to put a human face to schizophrenia â€“ perhaps the most misunderstood mental illness â€“ with a program called Reaching Out.
Using in-class activities, Web links and role-playing scenarios, young people learn the early warning signs of schizophrenia so they know when to seek help for themselves, their peers or family members.
Many young people in the early stages of schizophrenia, which typically strikes between the ages of 15 and 25, are misdiagnosed as just moody teens. Often their parents don't take action for fear of overreacting to symptoms that, unlike those of a broken arm, are intangible.
Reaching Out â€“ which was developed with the support of the Canadian Teachers' Federation, the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Counsellors Association â€“ helps dispel myths surrounding schizophrenia. Students are taught, for example, that schizophrenia is a medical condition that cannot be prevented and is nobody's fault. One of the unique aspects of the program is a docudrama video that features individuals who are successfully living with schizophrenia.
Reaching Out is the first national program of its kind directed at teenagers. And it's being used outside Canada, too, including the Netherlands and Greece, says Fred Dawe, national president of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and the father of a child with schizophrenia.
"I've seen more changes this year than in the past three years," says Lisa Gittens, a tax expert at H&R Block.
Here are eight things families will want to be aware of when filling out their 2016 return.
1. Last chance on certain tax credits
The government is phasing out a handful of tax credits and focusing on larger benefits. The children's arts and fitness tax credits will be halved for the 2016 tax year, and cut completely next year, meaning families will no longer be able to defray costs for things like swimming lessons, ballet and tutoring. For post-secondary students, the education and textbook credits are being eliminated in 2017, although education amounts carried forward from previous years will still be claimable.
2. No more income splitting
Also gone is the Family Tax Cut, which lets the higher-earning spouse transfer up to $50,000 of income to the lower-earner. During the 2015 election, the Liberals promised to cut it, calling it a "tax break for the wealthy."
With the benefit gone, Gittens recommends a spousal RRSP, which allows the higher-earner to contribute to the lower-earning spouse's RRSP and claim the tax benefit. "You may have an RRSP set up, but you haven't thought about setting it up for your spouse. This is an ideal time to use that strategy," she says.
3. Changes to child benefits
The Canada Child Benefit was a signature feature of the 2016 budget, replacing the old Universal Child Care Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. It's non-taxable, so you don't have to claim it. However, in order to continue to receive the benefit, both parents must file a return, even if one doesn't generate any income, says Gittens.
Also keep in mind that the benefit started in July, so you still have to claim the taxable UCC for the first six months of the year.
4. New tax rates
New tax rates mean you may or may not be pleasantly surprised by the size of your tax bill this year. If you're in the meaty middle that earns between $45,000 and $90,000, your rate will come down to 20.5 percent from 22 percent.
"Most Canadians will be receiving more money at the end of the day than they were under the old system," says Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC Wealth Strategies Group.
However, high-income earners will be paying more due to a new 33 percent bracket for people earnings more than $200,000.
5. Child care expenses
Childcare costs are usually the biggest deduction available for families, says Golombek. But what many people don't realize is that it goes beyond simply daycare. If you have a nanny, you can claim that expense, but also babysitting, if it's during the day, and summer or day camp.
6. Disability tax credit and family caregiver amount
If you have family members with a disability there are certain credits that may be available to you. The Disability Tax Credit is available to people with disabilities to reduce their taxes. For children under age 18, a parent or caregiver may be able to claim the unused amount.
If you're a caregiver to a family member with physical or mental impairments, you may also be able to claim an additional $2,121, according to the Canada Revenue Agency.
7. Selling your principal residence
Selling your home has typically not been something you've had to report on your taxes, because usually Canadians don't get taxed for capital gains on their principle residence. But starting with the 2016 tax year, individuals who sold their principal residence during the year must report the sale. The government is ostensibly doing this to crack down on people who try to pass off income-generating homes as their principal residence.
8. eFile early, get your refund early
Tax deadline is April 30, but if you want to get ahead of the game, file early, before the government is inundated with last-minute returns. You can still file the old paper return, but Gittens says you'll be looking at a turnaround time of anywhere up to eight weeks, versus 10-14 days for a return filed early and electronically.
Here's what to do to maximize your antioxidant intake.
1. Spice it up.
Both dried spices and fresh herbs tend to be extra potent with antioxidants. “Having a really liberal approach to herbs and spices in your cooking as opposed to a tiny sprinkle is really beneficial,” says registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen.
2. Go organic.
New research from Spain is suggesting that organic produce may have extra antioxidants. “Phytochemicals are a plant’s defence mechanism—kind of like its immune system,” says Nielsen. “So when you apply pesticides and herbicides to crops, the thinking is that the plant has less need to self-protect, so it downgrades those compounds.”
3. Eat whole foods.
You can have too much of a good thing, and when you take antioxidant supplements you run the risk they’ll aid oxidation rather than fight it. “It has a reverse effect if you take too much or take it out of the right context,” says Nielsen. “When you start isolating compounds from food, they often don’t behave in the way that you would expect.”
Our editors share the items they are coveting this February—and they're all under $100.
As much as we love shopping, what we love even more is a good deal. Which is why we asked our style editors to share the items that they'll be shopping for this month. The good news? Everything is under $100, which means you don't have to feel guilty about picking a few things up yourself.
As I think about spring, I always begin to think about what sneakers I’m going to pick up. Spring is sneaker season, at least if you ask me. This year, I’m going back to basics with a classic pair of Vans. Bonus—they’ve been spotted on bloggers, models and off-duty actors, so you know this style is making a comeback. At the very affordable $80 price point, this will be money well-spent seeing as how I'll be living in them for the season. - Alexandra Donaldson, contributing editor
Graphic pants are everything at the moment. Dress them down with sneakers, add heels for a more professional look, pair it with a form-fitting top to keep it sleek. They'll go with everything. - Noelle Gauthier, style intern
Uniqlo women smart style ankle length pants, $40, uniqlo.com.
Easy to apply eyeshadow
If I’m wearing makeup beyond my under-eye concealer and mascara, it needs to be efficient. Which is why I have my eye on this Nudestix eye crayon. The metallic hue will add a bit of pizzazz to my makeup look, without too much extra effort.
Nudestix Magnetic Eye Colour in Twilight, $28, sephora.com.
How come boyfriend jeans always seem amazing in theory, but never translate into the model-off-duty look when worn? These "girlfriend" jeans have a tailored fit making them far more wearable.
Animal motifs have been hot on the runway—but if you can’t afford to spring for Gucci (and really, who can?) you can pick up this panther cropped sweatshirt from Forever 21. At $25 it’s a steal—and super cute to boot.
A few years ago I never could have imagined loving the kitten heel like I do now—but these days everything is old new again. The low-heel allows me to survive in them all day, so I'm thinking they'll be sticking around for awhile.
Say what you want about the Kardashians, but they have the perfectly tousled California-girl waves I'm after. Enter this new haircare line by their trusted hairstylist, Jen Atkin. I'm eyeing this texturizing spray to recreate their manes.
Your hair needs help from your diet, the products you use and even your style choices to stay healthy.
Beauty comes from within—literally. Strengthen your hair by working inside out and ingesting good-for-you ingredients. When it comes to the outside, hair health relies on the right products—and putting down the heat tools.
CALL IN THE REINFORCEMENTS
According to research from hair-growth-supplement brand Viviscal, one in three Canadian women will suffer from hair loss—a life stage we'd rather skip, thanks. Viviscal's now extra-strength oral supplement is formulated with 50 percent more AminoMar C (the active ingredient promoting hair growth) than the original, as well as zinc, iron and vitamin C. Clinical results show noticeable thicker, fuller and healthier looking hair—no wig required.
Put in a solid 30 minutes of hairstyling time early in the week, then use quick styling changes and dry shampoo for the rest of the week. "On Monday, start with tight curls achieved with a curling iron," says Roger Medina, a Toronto-based hairstylist and Garnier Canada ambassador. "Then, on Tuesday, push your hair to the side, and on Wednesday, add a braid. Thursday, put it half up in a bun. By Friday, you might be greasy—remember to use dry shampoo as needed—so brush your hair out and put it in a low pony. Stretching out your wash to last all week saves your hair from heat tools and hot water."
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Healthy hair starts with your diet. "Hair is predominantly made up of protein," says Casey Berglund, a Calgary-based registered dietician and the owner of worthyandwell.com. "However, it requires fats and micronutrients to be healthy." Consider unprocessed whole foods your best starting point. Healthy proteins (lean meat, eggs, beans, nuts), omega-3s (oily fish, chia seeds, walnuts, tofu) and vitamin B12 (meat, fish, dairy, nutritional yeast) are essential for strong, healthy hair. "When people are malnourished or chronically dieting, hair can appear dull and weak—and even fall out," says Berglund.
BUILD BETTER HAIR
These gel tubes from Nexxus are designed for hair that's been intensively damaged or exposed to harsh treatments, such as double processing (when hair is lightened by more than two shades and it's first bleached to remove pigments, then dyed to achieve the desired shade). They're also great if you have healthy fine hair that needs some responsiveness, says Kevin Mancuso, global creative director for Nexxus. Jam-packed with elastin proteins and marine collagen, the treatment strengthens and improves elasticity while repairing porosity. "Think of it as insulating the hair and rebuilding the cuticle wall from the inside out," says Mancuso. First, shampoo and rinse. Then, cover your hair in one dose of Emergencée Reconstructing Treatment, pressing it into your hair, and let it sit for 10 minutes, until it's almost hardened. Next, shampoo out the treatment and use a hair mask or conditioner.