We’re excited to announce that we will be continuing our CanFASD Webinar series! Our next presentation is from CanFASD Senior Research Lead, Dr. Jacqueline Pei. She will be talking about her intervention framework Towards Healthy Outcomes for Individuals with FASD.
Achieving healthy outcomes for individuals with FASD requires working together towards meaningful goals for each individual. Recognizing this need, her and her team of researchers produced an evidence-informed model to help us to identify key needs for all humans – with specific consideration for how existing research can inform our practice.
This model looks at intervention across an individual’s developmental lifespan. It is enacted within interactive systems and is strength-based and empowered.
This 90 minute presentation will be held on Friday June 5, 2020 at 1:00pm EST. Sign up here to register.
This is the second presentation in CanFASD’s Webinar Series. This series is one of our responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, designed to bring evidence-informed research on FASD to Canadians from the comfort of their own homes. You can watch our first webinar with 2020 Sterling Clarren FASD Award winner, John Aspler, below.
There has been a marked increase in alcohol use since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this increased use and media attention on alcohol, there is an increased need for accurate information about the health impacts of alcohol use.
This is a crucial time for clear messages about alcohol use, overall health and the immune system.
CCSA has developed a new resource, Alcohol and the Immune System: 4 Things You Should Know, to provide clear facts about alcohol and the immune system and what you can do to minimize risks to your health. It has never been more important to correct misinformation and highlight that alcohol does not improve health, kill viruses or improve our ability to ward off illness.
Key facts include:
Alcohol consumption contributes to a wide range of health problems and can weaken the body’s immune system.
High-risk alcohol use reduces the body’s ability to fight off illnesses.
Chronic high-risk alcohol use can weaken lung immune responses and increases the risk of developing respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Alcohol use does not stimulate the immune system or increase resistance to illness.
In addition to this resource, CCSA has released a suite of supporting resources:
These resources are available on CCSA’s COVID-19 resource section featuring resources on the impacts of COVID-19 and substance use from trusted sites and original publications from our experts.
If you have any questions about CCSA’s alcohol resources or want to know more about our work on alcohol, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions about our cannabis resources, please e-mail email@example.com.
Mental health is different from mental illness. Everyone has mental health, but not everyone experiences mental illness. Our mental health is our mental well-being, which incorporates our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our ability to solve problems and overcome challenges, our social connections and supports, and our understanding of the world. Mental illness is a condition that affects the way people think, feel, behave, or interact with other people. Just like physical illnesses, mental illnesses can come in many different forms. We often refer to mental illness as “mental health challenges” or “mental health issues”. Like physical health, it is important that we take care of our mental health.
Our mental health is very fragile right now because of all the uncertainty and stress surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. We can protect our mental health by using healthy coping strategies when we start to feel negative emotions.
Recent research shows that more Canadians are turning to alcohol to cope with the feelings of anxiety, stress, loneliness, and boredom. But alcohol is a dangerous coping strategy. It can lead to other mental health challenges like substance use issues, increased anxiety, and depression. It is important that we turn to healthy coping strategies to maintain and improve our mental well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond.
Healthy coping strategies might look different for everyone. Many of us have built healthy coping strategies into our daily lives without even thinking about it! As a rule of thumb, think about the things you do to change your mindset when you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious. Some of those strategies might need to be adapted to suit your current situation, but there are a number of strategies that we can fall back on.
Listed below are examples of some healthy coping strategies. Remember that not all of these coping strategies will work for you. Be creative and experiment to see which ones best fit your lifestyle. For more information check out the resources available on the Canada Mental Health Association website.
Get the right information
Get factual information about the pandemic from reputable sources like: The World Health Organization (WHO) Health Canada
Your provincial or territorial government.
Be wary of information shared on social media sites from unfamiliar websites or sources.
Stay tuned in but know when to unplug
Right now, there is a lot of coverage surrounding COVID-19. While it is important to stay informed about how to manage your risk, too much information can take a toll on your mental well-being. Try to limit your exposure to news coverage and social media to once a day or less.
Connect with loved ones
Reach out virtually and ask for support from friends or family members that are a positive influence on you. If possible, avoid connecting with people that increase your feelings of stress or anxiety.
Do an activity that you find enjoyable
Do an activity you find enjoyable and relaxing. This might include any number of activities, like mindfulness meditation, reading a book, gardening, painting, and cooking. Choose something that you enjoy and are likely to continue doing.
Seek support if you need it
Seek support from formal networks, either online or by phone, that can help you when you are experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety. These might include distress lines, online support groups, or religious institutions in your community.
Stay physically active
Physical activity is proven to have positive effects on our mental well-being. Find ways to bring physical activity into your daily routine. You can search for traditional workouts and exercise classes, or you can bring physical activity into your life with walks and dance parties. However you choose to do it, try and get your body moving.
If you have tried a number of different coping strategies and still find you are struggling with your mental health, you may need to seek extra support from someone like your doctor, a psychologist, a psychotherapist, a social worker, or another health care professional.
If you are having trouble limiting your substance use during this time you can seek support from a number of different organization across Canada. If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, your symptoms may be intensified by your feelings about the pandemic. If possible, reach out to your provider to discuss how you are feeling and adjust your treatment if needed.
Mental Health Commission of Canada launches free online crisis training for essential workers during COVID-19
In response to added pressures on essential workers during COVID-19, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has developed a trio of free crisis response training programs designed to help front-line workers deal with the stress of these exceptional circumstances.
“I believe in paying it forward,” explained Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the MHCC. “We’re seeing all kinds of organizations stepping into the breach to do their part, from making protective gear to building ventilators. We asked ourselves, ‘What is it that we can offer?’ and the answer was clear: mental health training.”
Not only are those working in essential roles during COVID-19 at increased physical risk, they may also be experiencing mental health challenges or be called upon to support a person experiencing a crisis.
The three new online programs ꟷ Caring for Yourself, Caring for Your Team, and Caring for Others ꟷ are designed to help people deal with these new challenges and are based on the MHCC’s successful in-person courses: Mental Health First Aid and The Working Mind.
Caring for Yourself and Caring for Your Team focus on understanding, assessing, and improving mental health, both as an individual and within group settings. Caring for Others focuses on how to confidently engage in conversations about mental health during a crisis, whether it’s with your family and friends or in your communities and workplaces.
Participants will be introduced to the Mental Health Continuum Model, the “Big 4” coping strategies, and other tools to foster mental wellness and improve resiliency.
“We saw a need and were able to quickly pivot from our usual in-person, in-depth courses, and adapt our skills-based approach to this new context,” said Mike Pietrus, director of the MHCC’s Opening Minds anti-stigma initiative.
“As we paused our traditional course delivery, it was quickly evident that we could harness the tremendous skills of our trainers to bring some useful, hands-on coping strategies and practical stress-management skills to a community that is doing so much to keep the country up and running and safe.”
Registration for these time-limited courses is on a first-come, first-served basis. For essential workers, as defined by the government of Canada, they are being offered at no cost.
The Northwest Peace FASD Network and Grande Prairie Family Education Society have launched a series of learning sessions for Caregivers/Parents of disabled children, youth or adults who are needing support during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
There are 4 thirty minute sessions in this Caregiver Support Series. The main focus of this series is to assist Caregivers with supportive strategies and resources. We will also have a lived experience from a parent who has a disabled child.
Local resources, as well as information from Alberta Health Services, the Government of Alberta and the World Health Organization will be shared to help the caregivers build their own support services.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you.
To shed light on stress, depression and infant brain development during this time of extreme change, a research team at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) and Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary is asking pregnant moms about the impact COVID-19 is having on their mental and physical health. UCalgary researcher Dr. Catherine Lebel, PhD, from the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, is leading the study, building on her prior research on the prenatal environment and paediatric brain development.
Who can participate?
You are eligible if you:
Are less than 35 weeks pregnant
Are 18 years of age or older
Can read and write English
Live in Canada
Have access to a device with an internet connection
What does the study involve?
30-45 minutes to complete the initial survey
Brief monthly surveys to follow up about your experience of pregnancy during COVID-19, mental health, coping and resiliency
Several optional follow up studies will launch in the future