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News & Research Articles 

The team at Balance Psychological Services is always pursuing new knowledge and resources to serve you better. Check here regularly for recent news items and various research articles relating to a variety of mental health topics. 

Forest Fire

Psychology Association of Alberta Offers Support to Wildfire Evacuees

CBC radio one Edmonton Am hosts Tara McCarthy and Mark Connolly brought to light the support offered by the Psychology Association of Alberta (PAA) this morning, May 18th, 2023. The interview with Dr. Judy Malone discussed the the  impacts of the wildfires on Albertans and the support the psychology community is offering. Dr. Malone and host Tara McCarthy explored the symptoms experienced but adults and children subjected to trauma. Dr. Malone explained that the Alberta psychology community has assembled a team of volunteer trauma psychologists who will offer short term support at no cost. To hear more about the impacts of these types of traumas, strategies to support your, and your children's, mental health during these types of stress, and how to access services you can listen online  (see hear more button below) or thorough the contact information listed here. 

Alberta Psychologists Association

"Our thoughts are with all Albertans impacted by the wildfires in Alberta and the recent evacuation in multiple locations. The Psychologists’ Association of Alberta would like to help evacuees who have been displaced due to fires.

Our Disaster Response Network members are offering three (3) pro-bono psychological services to victims and first responders traumatized by recent events. 

To access this service, please contact our office by giving us a call at 780-424-0294 or sending us an email at paa@paa-ab.ca"

https://psychologistsassociation.ab.ca/about/disaster-response-network/

References

McCarthy, T., (May, 18, 2023) CBC Radio One Edmonton AM. retrieved from

https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-17-edmonton-am/clip/15985682-how-albertans-coping-stress-wildfire-disasters

Psychologists Association of Alberta. (2023, May 18). Disaster Response Network. PAA Psychologists Association of Alberta. https://psychologistsassociation.ab.ca/about/disaster-response-network/

Doctor and patient

New Hope for Treatment Resistant Depression

There is new hope for persons suffering from treatment resistant depression and other forms of treatment resistant mental illness in the the form of Ketamine and other Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapies. Global News (February 20, 2023) reported on the postive impact of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy when other treatment options been exhausted. Those who struggle with the long term impacts of mental illness have negative impacts in multiple areas of their life including their social relationships, ability to work and earn, education and physical well being. The long term deficits and costs of treatment resistant mental illness can leave suffers feeling hopeless and isolated. But with the Alberta leading the way in changes to legislation that provide opportunities for psychedelic assisted psychotherapy treatments there is renewed hope for those who have exhausted other treatment options.  New facilities are available to offer a team of health care providers including psychiatrists, Registered Nurses, and Psychologists who administer psychedelic assisted psychotherapy treatments. This includes Ketamine assisted psychotherapy. This offers a new possibility of relief from symptoms for the one third of people for whom traditional therapies are ineffective. Treatment involves the supervised administration of small prescribed doses of Ketamine under medical supervision and vital sign monitoring followed by therapeutics sessions  integration with a psychologist. These sessions are undertaken at predetermined intervals over a period of time determined and monitored by the health care team in consultation with the patient. Strict monitoring and reporting is maintained to ensure safety and compliance with Health Legislation. Patients report significant relief of symptoms with noticeable improvement over the duration of the treatment process. Maintenance may include a schedule of further treatments at longer intervals and sessions with a psychologist. To read  more about this exciting new option in the treatment see the link to the original Global News article referenced below or other linked referenced in earlier entries below. Balance Psychological Services is pleased to partner with Cena Life to offer access to these new treatment options.   

 

References: 

https://globalnews.ca/news/9505459/alberta-psychedelic-drug-ketamine-mental-health-depression/?fbclid=IwAR1cx4ZS01LYpTTpSMOcOijXHdyIK1Y12gpdr7oV0fB3LwuHjhvm6RdAadA

Farmer

Counselling for Alberta Farm Families 

Mental Health Network for Alberta Farm Communities is offering a range of resources including counselling to farmers and their family members through the AgKnow program. This includes virtual appointments to improve access to mental health supports through the province. Designed by members of the farming community, and supported by therapists with rural connections, this program aims to meet the unique needs and challenges of farmers. 

Canadian farmers, and their families, are facing increasing challenges that impact their mental health. Research has found 76% of Canadian farmers experience moderate to extreme stress levels, 20% experience moderate to severe depression and/or anxiety, and suicidal ideation among farmers is double that in the general population. This emphasises the importance of providing accessible mental health care to farm families. Normalizing mental health as a natural component of rural culture helps build resilience and supports the development of fulfilling and productive lives within farm families. To help support the rural Albertans to be able to live their best lives AgKnow has created a multifaceted team and wide array of resources that includes everything from research, to training, including rural informed counselling for farmers and their families. You don't have to struggle alone. Balance Psychological Services is pleased to have Lorelei providing counselling services through the AgKnow program both in person at our Stony Plain location and virtually throughout the Alberta. If you or someone you know may benefit from access to the diverse resources offered through the AgKnow program, or to book an appointment with a therapist, check out the AgKnow website at https://www.agknow.ca/referral-list

 

References: 

AGKNOW Alberta Farm Mental Health Network 

https://www.agknow.ca

2021 Farmer Mental Health Survey in Canada

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/62c54e5c6f1c520316c1e48f/t/63377d3ffce036795a2e6f2d/1664580927869/2022+Briana+Infographic+-+Farmer+Mental+Health+-+EN.png

Medical Consultation

New treatment options available in community settings.

CTV News reported on October 5th, 2022 that the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons has approved the administration of  Ketamine for several mental health conditions, including treatment resistant depression, in community based facilities. This offers greater non-hospital based access to these treatments for individuals suffering the long term effects of prolonged mental health challenges that have demonstrated limited response to other therapeutic approaches. To learn more about these and other therapies please see the full article  from CTV News Calgary. 

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/brand-new-way-to-treat-patients-ketamine-injections-approved-for-alberta-s-community-facilities-1.6094270

Prescription Drugs

Alberta announces they will lead provinces in
regulating therapeutic psychedelic medications

CBC News reported October 5th, 2022 that the Alberta Government has announced they will regulate the use of psychedelic drugs used in the treatment of some forms of mental illness. This would make Alberta the first Canadian province to regulate the use of these medications. The article goes on to describe the Alberta government's additional announcement regarding further regulations that will limit who can prescribe several potent medications used for treatment resistant opioid addiction. These measures were described as intending to protect the public. To learn more please see the full article.

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-to-be-1st-province-to-regulate-psychedelics-for-therapy-government-says-1.6607497?fbclid=IwAR25Zj9wP5er7JXDHpl5zzrEItprTR1yk4K1NunIo5z8-ldf2TqZgZMyNnE

Hospital Waiting Room

Amendments to the Mental Health Services Protection Act designed to improve access to narcotic transition services but will restrict delivery of some opioids to AHS facilities. 

The Edmonton Journal reported on October 6th, 2022 that the Alberta Government has amended the Mental Health Services Act to restrict the provision of certain opioids used in the treatment of addition disorders to Opioid Dependancy Transition Programs in clinics run by Alberta Health Services. The drugs will be administered within these clinics under supervision and not permitted to leave the premisies. This will require physicians and pharmacists that currently treating patients with high-potency opioids to transfer their patients to Alberta Health Services program by March 4th 2023. To learn more please see the full article.

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/alberta-to-offer-high-potency-opioids-in-clinics-regulate-use-of-psychedelics-in-therapy-treatment

Attentive Therapist

October is ADHD Awareness month and the ADHD Society of Greater Edmonton wants to hear from you. 

CBC Radio one 740 AM reported on October 6th, 2022 that October is ADHD awareness month and the ADHA Society of Greater Edmonton wants to hear from you. The report went on to describe some myths and challenges that individuals coping with ADHD face everyday. While the guest speaker invited people to share stories of their ADHD experience for the societies awareness and public education campaign. The full discussion can be heard here  https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-17/clip/15940879

More information about the society and their work including details on how to share your story can be found on their website or face book page

Women with Helmets

Rural First Responders have new options for mental health support.

Alberta's Municipal Health and Safety Association (AMHSA) announced April 25th, 2022 new programs aimed at supporting Alberta's rural fire and rescue service first responders mental health. This comprehensive program combines evidence-based training, and resources to prevention and recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Injuries. First responders are exposed to traumatic events at a higher rate than the general public. They are at risk of psychological injury as a result of these exposures resulting in significant personal, social and financial costs. Rural access to mental health services can be more challenging. Therefore this program has been developed to support rural fire and rescue service personnel.  AMHSA has partnered with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), TELUS Health, and the University of Calgary to develop, deliver, and measure the outcomes of this program in 375 participants from rural communities and small cities. To learn more about this program and its sponsors see the full article.  To sign up for this service see RuralFirstResponder.ca

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/new-program-supports-first-responder-mental-health-in-rural-alberta-816046353.html

https://ruralfirstresponder.ca

Veterans with Flowers

Veterans Accessing Psychedelics to Address Trauma

Increasing numbers of Canadian Veterans are seeking mental health treatment involving the incorporation of psychedelic drug-assisted therapies to treat their trauma symptoms as reported by Abhya Adlakha November 11th, 2022. Adlkha explained that this is in part related to long wait times for access to treatment through Veterans Affairs. Psychedelic drug assisted therapies have been shown to relieve symptoms of treatment resistant depression and anxiety, symptoms of PTSD and other treatment resistant mental health challenges.  To learn more you can access Adlkha's original article here https://ca.news.yahoo.com/canada-war-remembrance-day-psychedelic-drugs-ptsd-153052144.html 

 

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