Mothers’ Mental Health Toolkit: A Resource for the Community

The Mothers’ Mental Health Toolkit was born out of a partnership between the IWK Reproductive Mental Health Service and Family Resource Centres in Nova Scotia.

IWK toolkit

It is a  collection of resources intended to support those who work with vulnerable mothers and families and includes materials for mental health promotion, education, screening, intervention, and advocacy. It includes a section on exploring substance use with women.

Visit the IWK Health Centre website to download the Toolkit, find practical worksheets for working with families, online video clips, and a manual for running an 8-week group based on the toolkit materials. There are also resources for individuals providing training on how to use the Mother’s Mental Health Toolkit.




Atlantic Intergovernmental FASD Partnership Update

Image Credit: Joshua Bousel, via flickr
Image Credit: Joshua Bousel, via flickr

The Atlantic Intergovernmental FASD Partnership is made up of representatives from local, provincial, and federal levels of government in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.

The partnership publishes a newsletter three times a year with an update on diverse activities related to FASD.

The most recent newsletter discusses the work of local communities of practice, the first diagnostic clinic held at the New Brunswick FASD Center of Excellence, FASD prevention work by Women’s Services Coordinators in Nova Scotia, a prevalence study in the women offender population at Nova Institution in Truro, Nova Scotia, and a whole bunch more.

Download the summer 2013 newsletter here.

For more on FASD prevention in Atlantic Canada, see earlier posts:

FASD Prevention in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia FASD Intergovernmental Exchange Group has released an 11-minute video called “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A Nova Scotia Perspective” which can be viewed on the Department of Health’s website or on YouTube. The video is accompanied by a pamphlet to introduce the video and guide follow-up discussion.

The video includes interviews with NAT members, Debbie Smith from the South Shore Family Resource Association and Nancy Poole, Prevention team lead for the Canada FASD Research Network.

The video discusses alcohol marketing targeted at young women and rates of alcohol consumption in the population, some of the issues that individuals with FASD face, how to build supportive programs and services, and the importance of intergovernment collaboration.

With respect to prevention, the video comments: “FASD prevention is complex and there are many factors contributing to why pregnancy women may drink such as poverty, past trauma, and family violence. Prevention efforts must address these root causes.” Nancy Poole also comments:”In the past, it was often though that you prevent FAS by thinking about babies. And, actually, it’s women who have to change in order to prevent FAS. So we pulled the lens around the mother-child unit.”

Nova Scotia Alcohol Strategy

At the 5th International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Vancouver, BC in February 2013, Donna Malone from the Public Agency of Canada – Atlantic Region described a range of FASD prevention activities occurring in Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces, including:

  • A recent research report called “Exploring Nova Scotia Women’s Experiences of Alcohol Use, Counseling and Support in Pregnancy” by a research team at the IWK Health Centre
  • A research study called “Women’s Lives and Women’s Health: A Critical Part of FASD Prevention” which uses women’s stories to explore ways of improving treatment and services
  • The development of an alcohol strategy in Nova Scotia “Changing the culture of alcohol use in Nova Scotia” which can be downloaded here.

View the conference video clip here.