New Resource launched designed to increase the capacity of mental health professionals and service providers

The Canada FASD Research Network has launched a new resource to help mental health professionals and service providers provide appropriate and tailored support to individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) who are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.

This project was made possible due to the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership and was developed by CanFASD with consultation from an excellent advisory committee of academics, clinicians, researchers, frontline mental health service providers, and individuals with lived experience. Their valuable perspectives guided the content and development of this resource, and hope that it will allow for professional development, growth, and knowledge regarding supporting people with FASD.

Understanding Mental Health and FASD

Research has documented, since as early as the 1990’s, that individuals with FASD can experience mental health challenges, as well as co-occurring mental health diagnoses and other related difficulties. Without proper support, these challenges can persist across the lifespan.

Despite this knowledge, there are few evidence-informed therapeutic responses and a considerable lack of research regarding approaches to supporting individuals with FASD. As such, service providers, counsellors, and other mental health professionals may feel unprepared to appropriately and effectively work with people who have FASD.

The Mental Health and FASD Resource and Practice Guide

The FASD and Mental Health Resource and Practice Guide is designed for frontline mental health counsellors/therapists, prevention mentors, crisis workers, community mental health providers and those who work directly with individuals with FASD. It outlines and provides resources to better understand FASD throughout people’s lifespan, promising practices that may be useful and effective, and opportunities for reflection.

The content of the resource guide is organized into eight sections:

  • Section 1: Introduction to FASD
  • Section 2: Understanding FASD
  • Section 3: Addressing our Biases
  • Section 4: Mental Health and FASD
  • Section 5: Diagnosis and Assessment of FASD
  • Section 6: Substance Use and FASD
  • Section 7: Trauma-Informed, Strengths-Based, and Culturally Safe Approaches
  • Section 8: FASD Prevention
  • Conclusion and Additional Resources 


“We hope that this resource guide will help mental health professionals engage in reflection, increased their knowledge of FASD, and allow people to feel more comfortable supporting people with FASD.” ~ Emma Jewell, Research Assistant, Canada FASD Research Network

About CanFASD:

CanFASD is Canada’s first national FASD research network. CanFASD works collaboratively with researchers and partners across the nation to address complexities of FASD. Our mission is to produce and maintain national, collaborative research for all Canadians, leading to prevention strategies and improved support services for people affected by FASD.


Emma Jewell
Research Assistant

Audrey McFarlane
Executive Director

For more information on this resource please visit


The Canada FASD Research Network (CanFASD) is a Member of Research Canada: An Alliance for Health Discovery. Visit to learn more.