32. Improving mental health (Orals)

Advancing indigenous health through partnerships 

Through partnership, Albertan Health Services (AHS) South Zone and the Blood Tribe Department of Health (BTDH) have had significant impact on the health of Indigenous people. The Blood Tribe in the largest first nation reserve in Canada. In 2015, the Blood Tribe began experiencing unprecedented numbers of deaths due to opioid overdoses. BTDH and AHS South Zone developed an action plan which included a suboxone clinic, safe withdrawal site, and enhanced addiction and mental health services. With AHS support, the Blood Tribe developed an addiction framework: Bringing the Spirits Homes. This resulted in a significant positive impact on the ongoing opioid crisis. AHS and the BTDH continue to collaborate on health initiatives, including the development and funding of Alberta’s first on-reserve long term care centre. This presentation explores the development of the collaboration and co-design model, and the impacts these efforts.


Katherine Chubbs – Alberta Health Services

Kevin Cowan – Alberta Health Services


Removing barriers to evidence-based mental healthcare for healthcare workers

Healthcare leaders need effective methods of supporting the mental health of their workforce so they can provide quality care to patients, residents and clients. The project’s purpose: facilitate access and uptake of evidence-based mental healthcare for workers. The project has three components: A novel Face-to-Face Network Program, a Digital Return-to-Health Program, and a Digital Mental Fitness Program. Initial findings include 10% reduction in absences, wait times reduced for face-to-face therapy from 6 weeks to 1 week. Also, 81% of workers recommended the return-to-health program to family and friends, 83% felt more confident returning to work, and 91% felt more resilient. With effective program design, internal communication practices, support and evaluation, healthcare leaders can provide meaningful mental health support to their workers to ensure that quality care is consistently delivered to patients, residents, and clients.


Waqar Mughal – Mughal & Associates Management Consulting Ltd.

Dave Keen – Fraser Health

Andrew Miki – Starling Minds Inc.


Equipping healthcare professionals in the assessment and intervention of patients at risk for suicide

Healthcare professionals are well positioned to identify and intervene with those who may be at risk for suicide. The Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention partnered with mdBriefCase to develop two online learning programs designed to increase physicians and nurses’ understanding of suicide in Canada, suicide risk assessment, intervention, safety planning, available tools and resources, and follow-up care. Since launching in May 2017, over 5,100 professionals have completed the program. Results from pre-course and post-course surveys reveal that physicians and nurses had increased awareness of the possible risk and protective factors for suicide as well as increased comfort in addressing the topic of suicide safely with patient.


Karla Thorpe – Mental Health Commission of Canada

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