Category Archives: Resources

Resource: Healthcare providers and their role in understanding stigma


OTTAWAFeb. 14, 2018 /CNW/ – While we know that people with mental illness and addiction often face stigma in Canadian society, we may be surprised to learn that they face it within healthcare environments as well. Today, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) launched a free online course called Understanding Stigma, designed to help healthcare providers and frontline clinicians develop strategies to improve care for people with mental health and addiction problems.

This self-directed course is available in both official languages and consists of three modules that focus on raising awareness, the impacts of stigma, and challenging stigma and discrimination.

The Understanding Stigma online course is being hosted on CAMH’s website, making it easily accessible to healthcare providers and frontline clinicians Canada-wide. We invite all members from the healthcare sector to complete this free online course, designed to complement their strategies in understanding stigma.


“As a registered psychiatric nurse, if told my interaction with a person with mental health and addiction problems caused them to feel devalued or dismissed, it would feel like a punch in the gut. I recognize that everyone in the system is working at capacity to provide the best possible patient care. To show our support, the Understanding Stigma online course was designed for healthcare providers who wish to develop strategies to better understand and care for people with mental health and addiction problems.”
—Ed Mantler, Vice President, Programs and Priorities, Mental Health Commission of Canada

“CAMH is committed to improving the quality of care and driving mental health advocacy through education. We are delighted to partner with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to adapt and host their successful classroom course as a free, online course—making it even more accessible to professionals across the country. We are making progress on reducing the stigma of mental illness. As healthcare providers, we must continue to challenge our own attitudes and co-create strategies with our patients to address stigma. Together we can make a difference.”
—Dr. Ivan Silver, Vice President, Education, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Quick Facts

  • The stigmatization of people living with mental health and addiction problems is all too common in Canada, including within healthcare environments. People with lived experiences of mental health and addiction problems often report feeling devalued, dismissed and dehumanized by many of the healthcare professionals with whom they come into contact.
  • The MHCC and CAMH partnered to develop a web platform to help market and promote efforts to enlist healthcare provider participation.
  • The MHCC will facilitate the evaluation of the online course, as it has done for other healthcare provider programs in the past.
  • Research with healthcare providers suggests that stigma can manifest in subtle and largely unintended ways (Knaak & Patten).
  • The course provides scenarios, interactive questions, personal stories and quizzes intended to help change the attitudes and behaviours of healthcare providers toward people seeking help.

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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Webcast

learningseriesbannerRegister now for the February 21, 2018, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Webcast

Join us for this free webcast entitled: Supporting Employment Success in Adults with FASD.

Securing and maintaining employment for persons with FASD can be challenging.  In this webinar, our presenters will discuss what employment success looks like for persons with FASD, which includes:

  • Sharing findings, including survey responses and video footage, from the CanFASD study “Supporting Employment Success in Adults with FASD”
  • Presenting the preliminary evaluation tool guide for guiding employment professionals in their work with adults with FASD
  • Explaining the prompts for evaluating a client’s well-being and factors for preparing for, obtaining and maintaining employment

This webinar will be of interest to persons directly affected by FASD, employers and anyone else supporting persons with FASD.

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. MST
Speakers: Dr. Marnie Makela and Aamena Kapasi

Register Here
Format: Presenters with PowerPoint Presentation
Cost: FREE! Please share with your networks
Q&A: You can pose questions to the speakers through the live chat functionality. Remember, the live webcasts are interactive and we encourage you to participate in the question and answer portions by typing questions for speakers in the chat window, which is located below the main video panel on the webcast page.

Dr. Marnie Makela is a registered psychologist in Edmonton and researcher with the Canada FASD Research Network. She focuses her clinical and research work on children, youth and young adults who are presenting with learning, behavioural and mental health concerns related to FASD and other developmental disabilities. She also provides consultation for families of children with complex disabilities, such as FASD, who require a combination of individual therapy for their child and assistance with supports at home, school and other environments.

Aamena Kapasi is a PhD student at the University of Alberta in the School and Clinical Child Psychology program. Aamena has a passion for working with children and youth, and her research interests include supports and interventions for individuals with FASD.

Previous webcasts are available on the CSS Learning Series Website.

The FASD Learning Series helps individuals, caregivers, front-line workers and professionals learn more about FASD, and how to support persons with FASD. The educational sessions cover a broad range of topics and are accessible to all Albertans.

Alberta’s FASD 10-Year Strategic Plan outlines the government’s commitment to provide awareness and prevention of FASD, as well as assessment, diagnosis, and support for individuals with FASD and their caregivers. All services and activities are built on a foundation of stakeholder engagement.

Standards for Preventing Problematic Substance Use: Youth


Effective prevention does not necessarily mean working harder, but can be achieved through focusing resources on community needs and evidence-informed practices, and linking with other initiatives in the community.

In partnership with the Canadian Standards Task Force, CCSA developed a Portfolio of Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention. The Canadian Standards provide teams with guidance — based on the best available evidence — on how best to plan, select, implement and evaluate their prevention efforts. The Canadian Standards were a foundational piece used by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to develop the International Standards, released in March 2013.

The Canadian Standards are designed to support prevention teams in planning, implementing and evaluating their initiatives. They provide:

  • A common benchmark for excellence;
  • Support and guidance to pursue continuous improvement;
  • Flexibility to adapt to different regional contexts or populations; and
  • Practical resources and examples to support change.

The rationale behind standards for youth drug use prevention

  • Youth are more likely than adults to engage in risky substance use and to experience greater harms from that use.
  • Applying the Standards helps ensure that prevention initiatives are successful and informed by the latest quality evidence.
  • Drug use prevention works. Read A Case for Investing in Youth Substance Abuse Prevention.

The Canadian Standards Portfolio

Developing the Canadian Standards

These resources were developed by a task force of experts following extensive cross-Canada consultations with prevention and education specialists, drug awareness police officers, clinicians, community outreach workers, researchers, policy analysts, senior managers in addiction agencies and health departments, teachers, school administrators and other key stakeholders.

Discover how some of our partners use the Canadian Standards.

Contact us at to let us know how the Canadian Standards are working for you and if you have suggestions for new tools or resources

Indigenous Approaches to FASD Prevention: Brief Interventions with Girls and Women

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BRIEF INTERVENTIONS WITH GIRLS AND WOMEN provides a brief introduction to ways of working with Indigenous girls and women to address alcohol, pregnancy, and other related concerns. It is one of five publications highlighting how FASD prevention is understood and practiced in Indigenous traditional culture. The series is a collaboration of The Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, and the Canada FASD Research Network.

Click to view PDF:  IndigFASD-BRIEF-INTERVENTIONS_Jan2018



Doing a ‘Dry9’

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Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 3.22.56 PM(STUFF YOU’LL HEAR)

  • A little alcohol can’t hurt, especially later in pregnancy
  • Advice always changes, moderation is the best thing
  • I read a new study online that said…
  • Back in the day, a lot of people drank while pregnant
  • I drank while I was pregnant and my kids are fine
  • It’s not good to deprive yourself, a couple drinks at a time is fine

*from friends, moms, family members, strangers or even doctors

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 3.23.04 PM(WHAT WE* KNOW)

Alcohol is a teratogen. What’s a teratogen? It’s the sciencey word that’s used to describe chemicals and environmental factors that can cause birth defects.

It’s proven that alcohol can harm an unborn baby.

It’s NOT proven that small amounts of alcohol are safe for a fetus. There is no known “safe” amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy.

It’s called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) because the many possible harms that alcohol can cause to a fetus exist on a spectrum – and many of these harms can be difficult to detect and diagnose. Some are almost impossible for scientists to track with current data collection methods.

The actual risk level is individual – it can be affected by genetics (how well a person processes alcohol), nutrition, other substance use, whether the fetus is male or female, and lots of other things.

*We = Us! The people on the other side of your screen! We work with scientists, researchers & public health officials who are experts on the effects of alcohol on growing humans

Public health officials say: It is safest not to drink at all (totally dry) during pregnancy.

This is what Dry9’s all about. To encourage, support and reward you for helping your baby reach its full potential.

For more information please visit


Alberta Family Wellness Initiative: BRAIN STORY CERTIFICATION (FREE)



Lifelong health is determined by more than just our genes: experiences at sensitive periods of development change the brain in ways that increase or decrease risk for later physical and mental illness, including addiction. That finding is the premise of the Brain Story, which puts scientific concepts into a narrative that is salient to both expert and non-expert audiences. The Brain Story synthesizes decades of research and reflects a body of knowledge that experts agree is useful for policy-makers and citizens to understand.

The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) has developed an online course to make Brain Story science available to professionals and the public. Brain Story Certification is designed for those seeking a deeper understanding of brain development and its consequences for lifelong health. The course is also designed for professionals seeking certification in a wide range of fields.

Click to download course content: BRST101-CourseOutline

To register or for more information please visit:


Introduction to Women’s Health Indicators

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Having a comprehensive picture of the health of a population is critical to guiding health research, policy and programs. Such a picture is created by collecting data on a range of health measures – health indicators – that can be pooled together and analyzed to describe, compare and monitor patterns of mortality (deaths), morbidity (illness, disease), wellness, and health-affecting factors (personal behaviours, resources such as housing and systemic influences such as the availability of care). To understand women’s health, this information must be available and should be analyzed by sex and by gender. Sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA) is recognized internationally and by the Canadian government as a critical component of sound health planning. According to Government of Canada policy, SGBA is used “to ensure that the initiatives and activities of the Health Portfolio lead to sound science, ensure gender equality and are effective and efficient”.

To understand women’s health, this information must be available and should be analyzed by sex and by gender. Sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA) is recognized internationally and by the Canadian government as a critical component of sound health planning. According to Government of Canada policy, SGBA is used “to ensure that the initiatives and activities of the Health Portfolio lead to sound science, ensure gender equality and are effective and efficient”.

Canadian Women’s Health Indicators: An Introduction, Environmental Scan, and Framework Examination has been developed to introduce the concepts and context of work done in the area of women’s health indicators in Canada. This introduction includes an overview of what is meant by women’s health indicators and the rationale behind their use. This material is followed by a brief introduction to indicator frameworks, which are explained more fully in the following pages.

Click to download document: Womenshealthindicators_review_final

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