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Emotional Health

It is important to take care of your emotional health as well as your physical health, especially when facing stressful situations.

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health

It is tough to cope with loss, whatever it might be. In the course of a lifetime we may face many losses— of a partner through divorce or death; of other loved ones; of financial security; of housing or of a job. If you are dealing with loss, your reactions can include a range of feelings — you may feel sad, lonely, confused, resentful, angry or numb. These feelings often come and go and just when you think you are doing better, they can hit all over again. Lots of things trigger these feelings — sometimes we recognize what the triggers are and other times we do not. It is important to accept what we are feeling. It is common to initially feel shock and disbelief. You may think of it all as a bad dream. The hurt and pain of accepting the loss is very real. Adapting to the void created by loss takes time and effort. You can feel happiness again and learn to cope with loss.

Coping with Loss

  • Accept your feelings for what they are. Feelings are not right or wrong—they are just there.
  • Talk about your feelings. Find a friend you trust who will listen; call the SOS Crisis Line at 743-4357 (HELP) or the SOS Rural Line at 1-800-565-3801.
  • Accept help from family and friends.
  • Get back into your normal routine as much as you can.
  • Postpone major decisions until you feel better. Take time to think about what you will need when your life becomes more settled.
  • Exercise—take a walk; go for a swim.
  • Get professional help if you need it.

If you do not begin to feel better within a reasonable time, you might want to consider seeking professional help.

Physical Symptoms of Stress

You are feeling:

  • Tired
  • Digestive problems — feelings of nausea
  • Change in eating habits (cannot eat or binge eating)
  • Problems concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Nightmares
  • Tearful
  • Tightness in chest or throat

Who Can Help?

Psychiatrists Are medical doctors who have completed three years of residency in psychiatry after other medical school requirements. They are well-trained in psychiatric diagnosis, pharmacotherapy (prescribing the appropriate medications) and spotting medical problems that could contribute to mental health problems.

Psychologists (Chartered) Are professionals who have completed graduate degrees (Masters or Doctorate) in psychology. As part of their training they have worked in the mental health field under strict supervision. To be "chartered" (or licensed) in Alberta they also have to meet rigorous professional entry requirements. Psychologists have specific training in psychological and educational testing and in a variety of (talk) therapy techniques.

Clinical Social Workers Hold a Masters degree or above (MSW, DSW) and have also received supervision while working in a mental health setting. They are also trained in varying (talk) therapy techniques. These individuals usually also hold the title of "Registered Social Worker" (RSW) which means they belong to a regulated body of professionals. However, not all RSW's hold advanced degrees (MSW or DSW) so ask about qualifications and training.

Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses: Professionals who have graduated from a 2-4 year program. Many hold Bachelor Degrees in nursing or a more advanced degree (masters or doctorate). They have specific training and experience working with clients having mental/psychiatric issues. Both are required to register each year with their respective professional organizations (AARN & RPNAA) which also monitor continuing education.

Where to Find a Therapist

Places to find mental health professionals include:

  • The Yellow Pages
  • Health Link 1-866-4080-link (5465) or 1-877-303-2642
  • Family and Friends
  • Family and Community Support Services Counseling Department 780-743-7910 
  • Physician/Doctor
  • Employee and Family Assistance Program

Professional organizations such as:

  • ACSW—Social Workers 1-800-661-3089
  • CAP—Psychologists 1-888-424-0297
  • AARN—Registered Nurses 1-800-252-9392
  • RPNAA—Registered Psychiatric Nurses 1-877-234-7666
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta 1-800-561-3899

If you have any questions or believe that you are being treated in an inappropriate or unethical manner, please contact the regulating body of the individual (see list above).

- Taken from Emotional Wellness Service Providers Handbook developed by MENTHA

Questions to Ask

For the therapist:

  • What experience do you have with my kind of problem?
  • What are your professional qualifications?
  • How long have you been in practice?
  • Is the process and my information kept confidential?

For yourself:

  • Do I feel welcomed?
  • Do I feel accepted?
  • Does he or she treat me with respect?
  • Does his or her office feel like a haven?
  • Does the therapist really listen?
  • Does he or she seem knowledgeable?

Stress Busters

  1. Cut down or cut out caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate and cola products)
  2. Avoid alcohol and drugs
  3. Regular exercise—gets rid of excess energy generated by stress—choose something you like
  4. Do something relaxing:
    • go for a walk
    • sit by the fireplace
    • pat the cat
    • listen to restful music
  5. Get enough sleep
    • go to bed earlier
    • take short naps (less than 30 minutes)
    • you should: wake refreshed, have good daytime energy, wake naturally before the alarm
  6. Pace yourself. Monitor your stress and energy levels and learn when to ease up and take a break

If You Need Help Coping

Agency fees vary, some waive fees altogether or have no fees. In Fort McMurray there are a number of counseling choices where you can find a therapist. The agencies that offer low or no fees are outlined below. Be sure to ask about fees when contacting the agency of your choice.

Alberta Health Services: Addiction and Mental Health Previously AADAC

(780) 743-7187
1-866-332-2322 Helpline (24 hrs.)
410—9915 Franklin Avenue
Fort McMurray, Alberta
T9H 2K4

Offers assessment, counselling and intensive treatment to Albertans who have alcohol, drug and gambling problems.

Canadian Mental Health Association

(780) 743-1053
#302 10011 - Franklin Ave
Fort McMurray, Alberta
T9H 2K7

Provides workshops, support groups, educational materials and aids to help mental health clients to cope with their environments. Courses and workshops include parenting, anger management, self-esteem for women, men and teens, working with stress and the art of friendship. Fees for programs range from $20 to $40 and may be adjusted based on your financial situation.

Family Crisis Society Crisis Line

(780) 743-1190 (Unity House)
Sexual Assault: (780) 791-6708 (24 hr)
P.O. Box 6165
Fort McMurray, Alberta
T9H 4W1

Support and crisis intervention for women and children experiencing abuse.

Family & Community Support Services (F.C.S.S.) Counselling Services

(780) 743-7910
1-800-973-9663 (Toll Free)
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Main floor, 9909 Franklin Avenue
Fort McMurray, Alberta
T9H 2K4

Offers counselling to individuals, families, couples, teens and children.

Mark Amy Centre for Healing Addictions Ltd.

(780) 334-2398
P.O. Box 5748
Fort McMurray, Alberta
T9H 4V9

In the native tradition, the Mark Amy Centre will provide holistic treatment in a healthy environment for people suffering from addictions.

Mental Health Helpline

(780) 735-3633
Healthlink: 408-LINK (5465)

Situated in Ponoka—dealing mostly with mental health and mental illness problems and referrals for Central Alberta—but accessible from anywhere in Alberta.

Mental Health Services

(780) 791-6194 or (780) 791-6138

Assessment, consultation and treatment for children, adolescents and adults experiencing mental health problems. Access to a mental health professional is available 24 hours per day via referral of the Emergency Room physician. Clinics held with visiting specialist.

Pastew Place Detoxification Centre

(780) 791-2525
505 Sakitawaw Trail S.
Fort McMurray, Alberta
T9H 4P3

24 hours a day/7 days a week.  Provides detoxification and physical/emotional support for people experiencing the effects of substance abuse and/or problem gambling. Call for further information.

Sexual Assault Centre

(780) 791-6708

Provides crisis intervention, support, referrals and education in the areas of sexual assault/abuse. Sponsored by the Fort McMurray Crisis Society. Also offering a program Healing the Hurt for women survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  For more information e-mail Fcs.sexualassualt@shawcable.com

Some Other Solutions

(780) 743-4357 (24 hour crisis line)
1-800-565-3801 (rural)
780-743-8605 (office)
9912 Manning Avenue
Fort McMurray, Alberta
T9H 2B9

Provides crisis intervention, prevention and postvention. Offers bereavement support.

Start Program (Salvation Army)

(780) 743-4135
9919 MacDonald Avenue
Fort McMurray, Alberta
T9H 1S7

Provides outreach support to children and adults who experience physical and mental handicaps.

Assertive Outreach Services (AOS)

(780) 791-6194
(Operated by Community Mental Health)

Provides support and opportunities to individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.

  • Requiring support in maintaining maximum independence.
  • Transitioning from acute episodes to independent living.
  • Requiring immediate support and assistance during crisis situations.
  • Requiring regular monitoring of mental status and level of independence.

Gamblers Anonymous

1-888-GA-HELPS (424-3577)

Offers support to men and women with gambling problems.

Other Counselling Services Available in Fort McMurray

  • Access Counselling (780) 790-0200
  • Advanced Counselling and Consulting Practice (780) 790-0334
  • APSI/The Ferrance Group (780) 791-7595
  • Denise Mannell, Chartered Psychologist (780) 792-6594
  • Mental Health Services (780) 791-6194
  • Tapestry Counselling & Consulting Inc. (780) 880-6240

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