New resource on FASD and mental health just launched

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Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. The objective is to raise awareness of mental health issues and to encourage efforts that support mental health. In light of this event, we are excited to release the FASD and Mental Health Resource and Practice Guide.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health

Research has documented, since as early as the 1990’s, that individuals with FASD can experience mental health challenges, as well as co-occurring mental health diagnoses and other related difficulties. Without proper support, these challenges can persist across the lifespan.

Despite this knowledge, there are few evidence-informed therapeutic responses and a considerable lack of research regarding approaches to supporting individuals with FASD. As such, service providers, counsellors, and other mental health professionals may feel unprepared to appropriately and effectively work with people who have FASD.

What is the Mental Health & FASD Resource & Practice Guide?

In collaboration with the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership and an incredible Advisory Committee, CanFASD has developed the FASD and Mental Health Resource and Practice Guide for frontline mental health counsellors/therapists, prevention mentors, crisis workers, community mental health providers and those who work directly with individuals with FASD.

The resource is designed to increase the capacity of mental health professionals and service providers to offer support to individuals with FASD. It outlines and provides resources to better understand FASD throughout people’s lifespan, some promising practices that may be useful and effective, and opportunities for reflection.

How did the project come about?

This project was made possible due to the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership and was developed by CanFASD with consultation from an excellent advisory committee of academics, clinicians, researchers, frontline mental health service providers, and individuals with lived experience. Their valuable perspectives guided the content and development of this resource, and we hope that it will allow for professional development, growth, and knowledge regarding supporting people with FASD.

What content is included in the guide?

The content of the resource guide is organized into eight sections, each providing an overview of the topic, questions for reflection, downloadable handouts, and additional resources.

  • Section 1: Introduction to FASD
  • Section 2: Understanding FASD
  • Section 3: Addressing our Biases
  • Section 4: Mental Health and FASD
  • Section 5: Diagnosis and Assessment of FASD
  • Section 6: Substance Use and FASD
  • Section 7: Trauma-Informed, Strengths-Based, and Culturally Safe Approaches
  • Section 8: FASD Prevention
  • Conclusion and Additional Resources

We hope that this resource guide will help mental health professionals engage in reflection, increased their knowledge of FASD, and allowed people to feel more comfortable supporting people with FASD.

The Mental Health & FASD Resource & Practice Guide is now available here:

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