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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

Saskatchewan ranchers call for investigation into retail meat pricing

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REGINA — A group of Canadian ranchers is calling for an investigation into meat pricing.

The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association says it’s asking the provincial and federal governments to look into what it calls an “imbalance” between the price ranchers receive for the cattle and the price consumers pay at the meat counter.

The group says many ranchers and feedlots are operating at a loss this year. Grass is still scarce on the Prairies due to last summer’s drought, and the cost of feed grain and fuel has skyrocketed since last year.

But packers and retailers are reporting strong profits this year. The Stock Growers say they believe slaughterhouses may be intentionally running fewer shifts to in order to keep wholesale beef prices high and allow fed cattle supplies to build up in the countryside.

In the U.S., the Biden administration has already expressed concerns about rising meat prices and vowed to implement policies aimed at increasing competition in the meat-packing sector.

According to Statistics Canada, the retail price of beef is up 11.2 per cent year-over-year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

First test production of plastic a milestone for Heartland Petrochemical Complex

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CALGARY — The $4.3-billion Heartland Petrochemical Complex, which has been under construction northeast of Edmonton since 2018, has produced its first plastic pellets.

Owner and operator Inter Pipeline Ltd. said Tuesday the newly commissioned facility has been producing test pellets steadily since late June, an important milestone en route to the expected start of full commercial operation sometime this fall.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex will convert Alberta propane into 525,000 tonnes per year of polypropylene beads, an easily transported form of plastic that is used in the manufacturing of a wide range of finished products.

Steven Noble, spokesman for Calgary-based Inter Pipeline, said the facility will be the first integrated propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene production facility in North America. He said approximately 70 per cent of Heartland’s total production capacity has been already contracted out to long-term customers.

“Through the duration of the project’s construction, we’ve seen demand for polypropylene increase significantly … including at one point hitting an all-time record (market price),” Noble said in an interview. “The demand that we initially forecast certainly hasn’t gone away.”

The Heartland facility is being built with the support of a $408-million grant from Alberta’s provincial government. The cash grant, part of an incentive program aimed at growing the province’s petrochemicals sector, is to be paid to Inter Pipeline in equal instalments over three years once the complex is operational.

Noble said by creating a new market for propane, the Heartland facility is an example of how natural resource development in Alberta is diversifying.

“The fact that we’re now looking at our raw resources in a different way, and figuring out different ways to get value out of them and create other refined products right here at home … is really the part of the story that everyone here is excited about,” he said.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex is expected to employ 300 people once fully operational.

The polypropylene produced at the facility will be branded as Heartland Polymers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

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