CanFASD Issue Paper: Cannabis Use During Pregnancy — In 2018, the Canadian government plans to introduce legislation that would allow adults to legally possess and use cannabis. This paper explores what is known about the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy.

FASD, Stress and Mental Health — Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). Individuals with FASD can experience complex behavioural and intellectual problems that persist throughout the lifespan, and can become increasingly complicated, even when supported. Over the last few decades, further research has begun to reveal a close relationship among PAE, stress pathways and mental health.

Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Implications for Neonatal and Childhood Outcomes — Marijuana is one of the most widely used substances during pregnancy in the United States. Emerging data on the ability of cannabinoids to cross the placenta and affect the development of the fetus raise concerns about both pregnancy outcomes and long-term consequences for the infant or child. Social media is used to tout the use of marijuana for severe nausea associated with pregnancy. Concerns have also been raised about marijuana use by breastfeeding mothers. With this clinical report, we provide data on the current rates of marijuana use among pregnant and lactating women, discuss what is known about the effects of marijuana on fetal development and later neurodevelopmental and behavioral outcomes, and address implications for education and policy.

Addiction and Mental Health Care: Resources to Support Collaboration — The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Executive Council on Addictions have collected a list of examples and resources to support collaboration between addictions and mental health systems and service delivery in Canada.

The Implementation of the 2012 Mental Health Strategy for Canada Through the Lens of FASD — Abstract: It is the current authors’ perspective that the successful implementation of Changing Directions, Changing Lives, which seeks to improve mental health and well-being in Canada, cannot be realized effectively without considering FASD. Given that 94% of individuals with FASD also have mental disorders, practitioners in the mental health system are encountering these individuals every day. Most mental health professionals have not been trained to identify or diagnose FASD, and therefore it goes largely “unseen,” and individual treatment plans lack efficacy. Implementation of FASD-informed recommendations, such as those of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015), can provide a more effective approach to mental health services and improve mental health outcomes.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD): A beginner’s guide for mental health professionals — FASD can feature a diverse range of impairments in cognitive, social, and adaptive functioning. These impairments are often accompanied by co-occurring mental illness, behavioral disorders, substance use, traumatic brain injuries, and developmental disabilities. The presence of these co-occurring conditions creates significant challenges for mental health professionals in terms of screening, assessment, differential diagnosis, and treatment. The key to maximizing the effectiveness of care for clients requires treating each individual’s unique risks and needs in an integrated service delivery framework. Unfortunately, there is typically a lack of expertise in FASD among mental health professionals, which can only be resolved by the increased availability of advanced education and training programs on FASD. To increase awareness of these needs and FASD in general, this article provides general information on the definition and symptoms of FASD, the screening and assessment of FASD, adaptive functioning and memory-related considerations of FASD, and the treatment of FASD.

Toward Quality Mental Health Services in Canada: A Comparison of Performance Indicators Across 5 Provinces — In 2015, the Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF), in collaboration with the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), initiated a project to test the feasibility of creating and reporting on a small number of mental health and addictions services performance indicators that could be compared across provinces. A team of mental health and addictions scientists from ve provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Québec) developed and generated the measures, where possible for ages 10 years and up, using data already available from the healthcare systems. This is the Summary Report. A full Technical Report is available at https://www.sfu.ca/carmha/publications/prov_indic_2017.html

Caregiver Needs and Stress in Caring for Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Lay Summary

Addiction and Mental Health Care: Resources to Support Collaboration — The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Executive Council on Addictions have collected a list of examples and resources to support collaboration between addictions and mental health systems and service delivery in Canada.

Recommendations Developed from a Qualitative Investigation & Clinician Survey infographic
Summary of Findings from a Qualitative Investigation infographic