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Alberta

You are NOT alone! Text4Hope aims to help Albertans shoot down the Covid-19 Blues

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Are you self-isolated or quarantined? Are you feeling anxiety, stress, angst, depressed or struggling through this COVID-19 crisis? Alberta Health Services (ASH) has launched a new daily, no cost mental health and wellness text-based service called, Text4Hope.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, talks about the launch of the new mental health program Text4Hope at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton Photo Courtesy / AHS

“Connection is so vitally important to our mental health and well-being,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health as she explained the free program, “aims to help provide encouragement and hope to Albertans.” Continuing, “Text4Hope sends subscribers (a daily) text message of support and encouragement, to ease stress or anxiety.” All an Albertan has to do to sign-up for this platform, “Is texted, Covid- 19 hope, to 393939 to subscribe.” Hinshaw said, “In return, they will receive text messages on healthy thinking or actions to help manage their mood.”

Dr. Vincent Agyapong, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta & AHS’s Edmonton Zone Clinical Section Chief for Community Mental Health, created a similar outlet for people during the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires, said “One of the biggest benefits to Text4Hope is that it offers immediate support when experiencing stress and anxiety.”

Dr. Vincent Agyapong, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta & AHS’s Edmonton Zone Clinical Section Chief for Community Mental Health created the platform Text4Hope. Photo Courtesy/Department of Psychiatry U of A

No community-based Alberta-wide project like this can come together this fast without the generous financial support of numerous organizations, helping ASH make Text4Hope possible include; the Mental Health Foundation, the University Hospital Foundation, Calgary Health Trust, Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation   and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. 

The initiative cost four dollars per-person to run through this three-month project and is budgeted for 2-million-dollars right now. Donations are being accepted by all of the non-profit partners that have put up in advance to make Text4Hope possible.

While this program provides a free, evidence-based one-way text communication and is a helpful option for people in self-isolation, or quarantined and those in remote locations around the province, Dr. Agyapong stressed, “The program isn’t intended to replace (face to face) therapies or interventions but is rather another added support to someone’s overall care plan.”

All of Alberta Health Services mental health support lines and web resources remain operational during this time. For details and links for the services available in your health region across Alberta, visit this link; “Help in Tough Times

Dr. Hinshaw added that the “program is an additional resource to help us find encouragement and strength as we navigate the day-to-day challenges of a new normal.”

Stay home plea from a healthy Canadian shocked to be a victim of COVID

Alberta

Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

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SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. — Hundreds of people are gathered outside an Alberta church charged with refusing to follow COVID-19 health rules.

On the first Sunday since GraceLife Church was shut down and fenced off by Alberta Health Services, an estimated 500 people gathered outside to oppose COVID-19 regulations and show support.

GraceLife Church and its pastor, James Coates, are charged under the Public Health Act for holding services that break health restrictions related to capacity, physical distancing and masking.

Alberta’s health agency said in a statement when it shut down the church on Wednesday that the church will remain closed until it shows it will comply with public health measures meant to contain the spread of the virus.

Dozens of police officers monitored the large crowd as they sang hymns and prayed for the church to reopen. 

Some supporters shouted at police, saying officers should be ashamed of themselves for the closure.

RCMP said in a statement they will only use the level of intervention necessary to maintain peace, order and safety.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

World men's curling championship resumes amid COVID scare

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CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship playoffs were given the green light to resume Sunday after a suspension of games due to COVID-19.

Four participants, including three from non-playoff teams, tested positive from the virus. The other athlete from a playoff team who tested positive wasn’t allowed to compete Sunday.

Saturday’s playoff game and a pair of semifinals were postponed while more testing was conducted. 

Alberta Health approved the resumption of the championship, the World Curling Federation said.

The United States and Switzerland were to meet in a playoff game  Sunday morning, followed by afternoon semifinals involving Sweden, Russia and Scotland and the playoff winner.

The gold and bronze-medal games were scheduled for the same draw in the evening.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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