RESIDENT: Impact of Oil Recession on Community Mental Health Service Utilization in an Oil Sands Mining Region in Canada

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Presenting Author(s): Ogechi Igwe

Co-Author(s): Dr. Vincent I.O. Agyapong, Lorella Ambrosano, Sandra E. Corbett, Dr. Marianne Hrabok, Michal Juhás, Olurotimi Ogunsina, Joy Omeje, Amanda Ritchie

Date and time: 24 Mar 2018 from 14:45 to 15:00

Location: Bluebell  Floor Map

Presenting Author(s) Names:  Ogechi Igwe

 Co-Author(s) Names: Amanda Ritchie, Marianne Hrabok, Ogechi Igwe, Joy Omeje, Olurotimi Ogunsina, Lorella Ambrosano, Sandra Corbett, Michal Juhás, Vincent I.O. Agyapong


 Learning Objectives:

  1. To compare changes in mental health service utilization before and during an economic recession.
  2. To identify the impact of recession on mental health
  3. To identify innovations such as the Textformood program

Literature References:

Government stabilized funding for key public services in 2015-16, despite steep drop in oil prices | n.d. (accessed November 24, 2017).

Capital investment in Canada's oil and gas industry down 62% in 2 years. Can Assoc Pet Prod n.d. (accessed November 24, 2017).

Treasury Board and Finance - Economy and Statistics - Index n.d. (accessed November 24, 2017).

Fiscal update and economic statement - Open Government n.d. (accessed November 24, 2017).

Alberta labour force statistics : seasonally adjusted - 2015 December - Labour Force Statistics: Seasonally Adjusted - Open Government n.d. (accessed November 24, 2017).


This study provides a comprehensive description of longitudinal patterns of mental health services utilization before and during a recession in an oil sand mining region in Canada. The findings provide important evidence for policy and planning decisions to encourage resource allocation to help promote accessibility of the most needed community mental health resources. Methods: Sociodemographic descriptors, psychiatric antecedents, clinical characteristics, and follow-up care were compared before and during the recession for newly assessed patients in community mental health clinics located across a Norther Alberta oil mining region. Results: 1,465 patients were included. Sociodemographic factors disproportionately elevated during the recession included: male sex, Caucasian ethnicity, own home ownership, higher levels of education, and unemployment. More patients seeking mental health care were already taking psychotropic medications (e.g., antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and stimulants). At the same time, disproportionately fewer patients engaged in substance abuse or had a prior formal history of mental health problems. The referral reasons during recession were less likely to be associated with substance abuse or mood concerns and more likely for “other” reasons. The patients seeking psychiatric help during a recession were disproportionately likely to be diagnosed with personality disorder and “other” less common diagnoses, and less likely to suffer from mood or trauma-related diagnoses. Referrals for counselling and social services were also disproportionately more common during the recession.

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