Mental Health Awareness Week

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It’s not just about what you do for yourself, by yourself—everyone needs healthy and supportive places to work, live and learn” – Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)1

Mental health is not just about mental health issues. It is a state of well-being which is defined as a status “in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).2

FASD and Mental Health

At least 90% of individuals with FASD are also diagnosed with one or more mental health issues. Individuals with FASD are not alone in their mental health diagnoses. One in five Canadians are diagnosed with a mental illness; and two in three Canadians do not access the mental health services they need, largely due to the stigma surrounding mental health.

Common mental health problems that are experienced by individuals with FASD are: cognitive impairment, attention deficit – hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotional control issues, anxiety and depression. In Canada, many research studies have been conducted to explore the factors that influence mental health of individuals with FASD, potential treatment and intervention methods.3-8 Despite these advances in research, the support and resources available for individuals with FASD to address their mental health conditions, is limited.

Ride Don’t Hide
The Ride Don’t Hide campaign by the Canadian Mental Health Association, is a Canada-wide event designed to bring awareness to mental health and raise funds for CMHA programs and services. It took place this past Sunday, June 23rd.

In honor of the Ride Don’t Hide campaign, Canada FASD is hosting a Mental Health Series. This week, we will be summarizing research studies conducted in Canada regarding these topics, and sharing them on the blog, along with positive stories of individuals with FASD.


This week is also an opportunity to share your story! Post about your experience with mental health and FASD with the hashtag #MentalHealth4FASD on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) for a chance to be featured on our Canada FASD pages! You can also email us your stories at

Together, let’s raise awareness on the impact of mental health among individuals with FASD, their families and society, the needs for resources and assistance, the urgency for more research and implementation of public policies to reduce the stigma around FASD.


1          CMHA Mental Health Week, (2019).

2          Mental health: a state of well-being, (August, 2014).

3          Anderson, T., Mela, M. & Stewart, M. J. C. J. o. C. M. H. The Implementation of the 2012 Mental Health Strategy for Canada Through the Lens of FASD.  36, 69-81 (2018).

4          Mela, M., Coons-Harding, K. D. & Anderson, T. Recent advances in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder for mental health professionals. Current Opinion in Psychiatry Published Ahead of Print, doi:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000514 (2019).

5          Mela, M. et al. The utility of psychotropic drugs on patients with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): a systematic review. Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 28, 436-445, doi:10.1080/24750573.2018.1458429 (2018).

6          Singal, D. et al. The Psychiatric Morbidity of Women Who Give Birth to Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Results of the Manitoba Mothers and FASD Study. Can J Psychiatry 62, 531-542, doi:10.1177/0706743717703646 (2017).

7          Singh, S. M. & Alberry, B. in Neuroscience of Alcohol     325-333 (Elsevier, 2019).

8          Tait, C. L., Mela, M., Boothman, G. & Stoops, M. A. The lived experience of paroled offenders with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and comorbid psychiatric disorder. Transcult Psychiatry 54, 107-124, doi:10.1177/1363461516689216 (2017).




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