Pet Therapy - Zoe's Animal Rescue

Animals can improve your mental health? Say what!! It's true!!! How might you ask? Firstly animals help to get us outside where we get fresh air, vitamin d from the sunshine and of course exercise! Exercise helps us increase our fitness, reduces blood pressure, increases circulation, decreases risk of cardiac disease and increases self esteem as we get stronger! When our bodies feel stronger we are less susceptible to mental health issues.

Did you know that something as simple as petting your dog or cat actually helps improve your mental state? As you connect with your pet your body releases oxytocin that helps combat anxiety and depression! 

Pets can help us feel less alone and are great listeners! Engaging with your pet helps you to be present which is a huge part of mindfulness. They can help you to get out of the house even on the worst days and give you a sense of purpose. They are always happy to see you and it's hard to not smile when you have a dog licking your face or a cat pawing at your toes. They love you unconditionally and that is a special thing! You can adopt an animal in need at Zoes animal rescue society and not only improve the life of a very deserving pet, but you can improve your mental health too!!! 

Maybe adopting isn't in the cards right now, but don't fret there are other ways to get involved!
1. Volunteer
2. Foster
3. Sponsor an animal
4. Spread the word about rescue as well as the Benefits of animals on our mental health!

Click the image above to find out more information about this great organization and the animals waiting to meet you!!!

Team Mental Rescue Is At It Again

The 4th Annual Mammoth Half Marathon carries runners over a breathtaking, scenic course through California’s picturesque High Sierra mountains and the Inyo National Forest. The route starts nearly 9,000 ft above sea level at Horseshoe Lake and finishes in downtown Mammoth Lakes (~7,800 ft). Since their inaugural race in 2013, they have added a scenic loop around Lake Mary and brand-new Waterford bridge, making their world-class course even better!

Team Mental Rescue was there and they did not disappoint. Co-founder, Rob Schwabenbauer and his lovely wife Carrie, battled the scenic course and both finished respectfully holding hands across the finish line. Rob and Carrie set out to run this race in honour of Rob's father who sadly passed away last year and Carrie's father who died too young when Carrie was a little girl.

"I'm very proud that my wife Carrie, she finished this tough race with me and moreover, she completed her very first half marathon. This race meant a lot to us as it was not only my 40th birthday today but also Father's Day." - Rob

We are proud to say that our compression sleeves graced another beautiful event. The race organization and staff of Mammoth Lakes Half Marathon were right when they said the scenery will lose you in your quest to run 13.1 miles. Rob and Carrie took the bus up 9000 feet to the start line where they reflected on what to expect during the run on the way down. The smell of campfires and breakfasts being cooked distracted them the first few miles but after that it was very obvious that the steep downhill descent was not going to be easy. Sometimes you need to pull yourself away from the task at hand and just appreciate the beauty of your surroundings to surge ahead. These two ambassadors of Team Mental Rescue did just that. They embraced the views and conversation with each other to push through and achieve a goal they set out for months ago. Many people along the way had questions about the green coloured sleeves and what they stood for. They passed time by explaining their involvement with the society and listening to others share their stories.

"It just goes to show that no matter where you go in the world someone has a story to share and this is what keeps Mental Rescue Society going." - Carrie

Training for such events can seem long and daunting. Many hours and many miles ran to condition the body to be able to run for 13.1 miles can feel like a never ending task. But the amount of joy you feel when crossing the finish line puts it all into perspective. We are so very proud of Rob and Carrie setting out on this journey together and accomplishing a milestone in their lives. They will forever have this event in their minds when they reflect on Fathers Day in the future.

Want to be apart of Team Mental Rescue and showcase your great achievements no matter what they are. Contact us today for details

Emotional Recovery Following a Disaster

Disasters such as vehicle accidents and wildfires are typically unexpected, sudden and overwhelming. For many people, there are no outwardly visible signs of physical injury, but there can be nonetheless an emotional toll. It is common for people who have experienced disaster to have strong emotional reactions. Understanding responses to distressing events can help you cope effectively with your feelings, thoughts and behaviours, and help you along the path to recovery.

What are common reactions and responses to disaster?

Following disaster, people frequently feel stunned, disoriented or unable to integrate distressing information. Once these initial reactions subside, people can experience a variety of thoughts and behaviours. It is important to note that responses to stressful events is natural and should be dealt with in a respectful manner to help with recovery. Common responses can be:

  • Intense or unpredictable feelings. You may be anxious, nervous, overwhelmed or grief-stricken. You may also feel more irritable or moody than usual.
  • Changes to thoughts and behaviour patterns. You might have repeated and vivid memories of the event. These memories may occur for no apparent reason and may lead to physical reactions such as rapid heartbeat or sweating. It may be difficult to concentrate or make decisions. Sleep and eating patterns also can be disrupted — some people may overeat and oversleep, while others experience a loss of sleep and loss of appetite.
  • Sensitivity to environmental factors. Sirens, loud noises, burning smells or other environmental sensations may stimulate memories of the disaster creating heightened anxiety. These “triggers” may be accompanied by fears that the stressful event will be repeated.
  • Strained interpersonal relationships. Increased conflict, such as more frequent disagreements with family members and coworkers, can occur. You might also become withdrawn, isolated or disengaged from your usual social activities.
  • Stress-related physical symptoms. Headaches, nausea and chest pain may occur and could require medical attention. Preexisting medical conditions could be affected by disaster-related stress.

How do I cope?

Fortunately, research shows that most people are resilient and over time are able to bounce back from tragedy. It is common for people to experience stress in the immediate aftermath, but within a few months most people are able to resume functioning as they did prior to the disaster. It is important to remember that resilience and recovery are the norm, not prolonged distress.

There are a number of steps you can take to build emotional well-being and gain a sense of control following a disaster, including the following:

  • Give yourself time to adjust. Anticipate that this will be a difficult time in your life. Allow yourself to mourn the losses you have experienced and try to be patient with changes in your emotional state.
  • Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen and empathize with your situation. Social support is a key component to disaster recovery. Family and friends can be an important resource. You can find support and common ground from those who've also lived through the disaster. You may also want to reach out to others not involved who may be able to provide greater support and objectivity.
  • Communicate your experience. Express what you are feeling in whatever ways feel comfortable to you — such as talking with family or close friends, keeping a diary or engaging in a creative activity (e.g., drawing, molding clay, etc.).
  • Find a local support group led by appropriately trained and experienced professionals. Support groups are frequently available for those needing help. Group discussion can help you realize that you are not alone in your reactions and emotions. Support group meetings can be especially helpful for people with limited personal support systems.
  • Engage in healthy behaviours to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. If you experience ongoing difficulties with sleep, you may be able to find some relief through relaxation techniques. Avoid alcohol and drugs because they can be a numbing diversion that could detract from as well as delay active coping and moving forward from the disaster.
  • Establish or reestablish routines. This can include eating meals at regular times, sleeping and waking on a regular cycle, or following an exercise program. Build in some positive routines to have something to look forward to during these distressing times, like pursuing a hobby, walking through an attractive park or neighbourhood, or reading a good book.
  • Avoid making major life decisions. Switching careers or jobs and other important decisions tend to be highly stressful in their own right and even harder to take on when you're recovering from a disaster.

When should I seek professional help?

If you notice persistent feelings of distress or hopelessness and you feel like you are barely able to get through your daily responsibilities and activities, consult with a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist. Psychologists are trained to help people address emotional reactions to disaster such as disbelief, stress, anxiety and grief and make a plan for moving forward. 

Remember also to reach out for support. In Edmonton, Momentum Walk-In Counselling is an accessible resource that offers both individual and group services. Momentum is a mental health triage centre, helping individuals who cannot pay for or wait for aid through the traditional health care system.

Whether you are harmed from such emotional disasters, or someone dealing with the aftermath of an emotional event, take care in knowing that the feeling you have are normal. You are not alone and simply talking with someone can make the difference you might be seeking. Mental Rescue Society encourages you to embrace the path that is before you, reach out to your support groups and enjoy the journey to recovery. Although the path might seem long remember to take it "1 step at a time".


Bonanno, G. A., Galea, S., Bucciarelli, A., & Vlahov, D. (2007). What predicts psychological resilience after disaster? The role of demographics, resources, and life stress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology75 (5), 671. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.75.5.671

Bonanno, G. A., Papa, A., & O'Neill, K. (2001). Loss and human resilience. Applied and Preventive Psychology10 (3), 193-206. doi: 10.1016/S0962-1849(01)80014-7

Butler, L. D., Koopman, C., Azarow, J., Blasey, C. M., Magdalene, J. C., DiMiceli, S., ... & Spiegel, D. (2009). Psychosocial predictors of resilience after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease197 (4), 266-273. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31819d9334

Silver, R. C., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., Poulin, M., & Gil-Rivas, V. (2002). Nationwide longitudinal study of psychological responses to September 11. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association288 (10), 1235-1244. doi: 10.1001/jama.288.10.1235

We All Believe In You Event Success

We All Believe In You is a movement that is sweeping the town. Created by Blake Loates, a local photographer that has battled depression for most of her life. Her aim is de-stigmatize and  de-mystify mental illness. 

My project is not a project. To say something is a project is to say that there is an end in sight. There is no end in sight for what i am planning.

Well I'm proud to say that she hit the mark last night with her collection of photos on display at the Edmonton Art Gallery. The moment you walk in, you are greeted by a flood of more than 400 guests all there in support of participants in the photos and in support of Blake her self. Food and drinks were served as you walked the room and read many of the heart warming stories attached to each photograph. Blake did an amazing job bringing light to mental illness. She put a face to many stories that would have gone untold if not for the courage displayed by those she photographed. The venue was excellent which lent to the infectious atmosphere of guests mingling and expressing thoughts for each display.

The night could not have been complete without the many gracious companies donating a wide range of silent auction items. There were paintings, jewelry, clothing and even a bike up for bid. All the money raised was going to support some of the programs that the Canadian Mental Health Association has created.  

The dialogue that she wants to create with his movement has surely begun. During one moment in the night Blake took to the microphone and expressed her deepest gratitude for everyone that was able to come and even for those that could not. Kleenex would have made a mint during this short speech, as she described why she felt the need to create this movement and how her life has changed for the better by meeting so many incredible new friends. Everyone of the participants on display last night showed strength by telling their stories and ultimately created the dialogue Blake was set out to achieve. 

For more information as to the We All Believe In You movement, or how to contact Blake to participate in a session for print, visit:

Congratulations Blake on such an incredible journey this has been. You must be proud to see it finally all come together. With open arms we thank you for creating this movement and look forward to seeing all the places it can go. If one thing is for certain based on the event last night, "We all believe in YOU!"

First Responder PTSD Support YEG Update

Well April 1st came and went, for all those who have been following Lachelle and her quest to build awareness for First Responders PTSD. Here are the results to an incredible campaign we are all so proud to be apart of.

It all begins at around 12:30pm on April 1st. Lachelle, visibly excited and nervous at the same time, arrives at the Salon, Studio 107 in St. Albert, where her friend Rebecca works. She is met with open arms from all the incredible staff that have been following along with her journey. First, we'd like to thank Studio 107 for their generous hospitality. We felt very welcomed in their salon, being pampered with fresh coffee and great tunes, only to find out thats how they treat all their guests. Well done!

After engaging in deep meaningful conversation with guests awaiting their turn, it was time... Lachelle crossed the point of no return and was seated in the chair, robe draped around her shoulders and the cutting began. 

Now lets take a minute to reflect of some of the things Lachelle may have been thinking at this very moment. She has had her hair long for most of her life with the most being cut at any one moment is about an inch. I've been told that there is a sort of an attachment to the hair and that cutting it would be like losing apart of themselves. For those that know Lachelle personally, this campaign came as a bit of a shock, to hear that she was going to remove such a telling feature. True courage was displayed there that day as Lachelle went from long to short.                                                            



Now lets put something else into perspective, Lachelle was in great hands. Not only did she trust her friend Rebecca's judgement on all the cool styles but she trusted her to do the one thing no one has ever done in a very long time. Cut more than an inch!

For information on booking with Rebecca, go to or call 780.458.0107

Rebeca has been a stylist with Studio 107 since 2011.  As a professional, Rebeca takes pride in staying up to date with the forefront of the industry; she is committed to taking cutting edge colour and cutting classes so she can help you achieve the look you’ve always wanted. From trendy to classic looks, she brings a unique flair to all her work – ensuring that every client she meets has a look suited to their needs, while maintaining the integrity of one’s hair.  With endless creativity, inspiration and motivation she can consistently deliver to high standards.  She also represented Studio 107 at an industry leading hairdressing school in New York City, in June 2015 for advanced cutting and styling.

Lachelle is graciously donating her cut hair to Locks of Love. Which by the way is an excellent idea. Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under the age of 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. Check them out and see how you too can help. Got to have some hair to cut first though and ask Lachelle, Its not that easy!

Well Lachelle our hats off to you. Your courage and willingness to act on such an important topic within our community will truly inspire others. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is real and it affects many people from all walks of life. We thank you for bringing much needed attention to this illness and we hope that people reading this can show empathy to those that suffer and help build a language full of encouragement and free of stigma.

        Rebecca created an incredible new look. Congratulations on such a successful campaign.

       Rebecca created an incredible new look. Congratulations on such a successful campaign.

Show your support and tell us what you think. Like, Follow, Share

First Responder PTSD Support YEG


Hi  everyone,
I'm Lachelle Farris, and I think that living in Edmonton is pretty great. In the grand scheme of things, we are pretty fortunate and lucky to live in such a great city, province, and country.

In my opinion, one of the things that makes our city so great is the committment that our first responders make toward keeping our communities safe. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to make sure that we can live a comfortable life. They put their lives on the line for our safety without fail and without complaint. They do this selflessly, expecting nothing in return.

First Responders get into the profession because they have big hearts. They are people who believe  that all people are equal, and that fostering a sense of community is important.

Because they have these big hearts and care about what they do, they can be affected negatively by some of the things they see and experience on the job. We call this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Nobody wants to experience PTSD. For First Responders, PTSD is a reality; their human hearts must collide with tragic scenes that we wish no human would have to experience. They take this on willingly, for the betterment of all people and the community.

"They put their lives on the line for our safety without fail and without complaint"

We, as community members who have the privledge of being watched over by First Responders, need to support them. We need to raise awareness of the realities of PTSD. We need to create more programs and supports for First Responders who may be affected by symptoms of PTSD. We need to make sure we are watching over the ones who watch over us.

I want to raise money to give to a local Society called Mental Rescue (

Mental Rescue is a start up not-for profit charity that is working to develop more mental health programming and supports for our local First Responders. Mental Rescue was started by a YEG Firefighter who wants to be part of a solution for our Edmontonian Heros. Their site is still under construction, but I am hoping that donating some funds to their site and their very worthy
cause will help them a little further on their way.

What I'm going to do: I am going to be cutting my very very long hair in support of this cause. I have had long hair for pretty much all of my life, so for those who know me, this is pretty shocking!!!

I will give all funds raised to Mental Rescue Society.

I will donate my hair to Locks of Love (

I will be a life-long supporter and proponent of the Mental Health Support of our First Responders. This includes Fire Fighters, Emergency Medical Responders, Police, RCMP, Nurses, Doctors, Hospital Staff, Dispatchers, Social Workers, and everything in-between.

This is for you, who give up your comfort and safety for ours. We are forever grateful.

For more information on this GoFundMe initiative, please click the link below and please feel free to donate what you can to show support.

San Diego Half Marathon Finishers


"Every participant battles the mind and body at some point"

Well, as predicted, this year's San Diego Half Marathon and 5K race was well managed and great to participate in. I want to thank Aaron Hains and Mark Chalifoux for representing Team Mental Rescue at this year’s race and wearing our green compression socks with pride. Including myself, Mark, and Aaron, we made up 3 of the 30 Canadian racers of the 7000 total participants in this year’s half marathon. Sadly, Aaron was injured but jumped into the race to help pace Mark through the last few miles. This was Mark’s first half marathon and he made his goal of under 2 hrs, well done Mark!

As for myself, I was pleased that I completed my first half marathon since my knee surgery and back injury. This, like all races, is more of a mental battle than a physical battle and for myself this played true once again. Perhaps it’s that mental battle that keeps myself and others signing up for more and more races and challenging yourself for longer or faster times. Challenging and pushing your limits in any capacity is tough business but the reward is well worth it. To see the winner cross the finish line at 1hr 6min and see the very last racer being carried by two other members finish at 3hr 30min really shows the vast level of determination. Every participant battles the mind and body at some point in the run for the same and many different reasons.

Many thanks to the San Diego volunteers who support and do so much for the race and runners. Run your heart out! Tire your body! Challenge your mind! Push your limits! But leave it all out there…let all the negative thoughts drip off you like beads of sweat and be proud!

We are so proud of these ambassadors that traveled down to San Diego to live out and accomplish such an incredible goal. Congratulations on attaining the elusive finishers medal and helping us build the awareness on Mental Health. Your green compression socks Im sure were a big hit and we thank you for joining our team. We look forward to hearing what you have planned this year in the race season and encourage you to continue wearing green. You will truly inspire others to build healthy minds through keeping active. Our hats go off to you!!!   

Edmonton Fire Rescue Mental Health Program

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services to unveil progressive mental health programs


One in three Canadians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life, and the earlier the problem is detected and treated, the better the outcome. Emergency responders can be especially prone to these issues; they are often in dangerous and highly stressful situations that have the potential of long lasting effects. To address these concerns, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) has partnered withMental Health First Aid Canada to provide firefighters the early help that is needed to detect and treat mental health issues.

Mental Health First Aid has created a number of programs to help people who have developed a mental health issue, or are experiencing a mental health crisis. The program will teach EFRS’ officers how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, provide initial help, and guide a person towards appropriate professional assistance.

Individuals trained in mental health first aid are not intended to be councillors or therapists; instead, they administer assistance until appropriate treatment is found- just as physical first aid is provided until medical treatment can be obtained. It is a program Fire Chief Ken Block hopes will entice other emergency response organizations to develop their own mental health initiatives.

“Mental health issues pose a significant risk to the well-being of our staff and emergency responders throughout Canada and the world,” said Block. “When someone has a physical injury, there is a process for recovery, and mental health is no different. It is time that we start reducing stigma and building programs so our staff can have access to the help they need.”

Beginning at the end of November 2015, sixteen instructors were trained by Mental Health First Aid Canada to deliver this two day course to EFRS employees. These individuals began to train officers in January 2016.

A second program is also being developed to help employees recognize these symptoms in themselves. The program is called “Road to Mental Readiness,” and is aimed to reduce stigma and provide employees with the tools they need to seek help if they are struggling with a mental illness.

These programs are being developed as part of Edmonton Fire Rescue Services’ mental health initiative, and they are considered to be amongst the most in-depth and progressive mental health programs in the country.

Global News Article

 Click image to watch the full video - Hosted by Global Edmonton

Click image to watch the full video - Hosted by Global Edmonton

EDMONTON — A group of Edmonton’s toughest firefighters and supporters are getting ready to participate in one of the most challenging races in Canada – the Sinister 7 Ultra Marathon in the Crowsnest Pass.

“It’s intimidating” admitted team member Kyle Kozlowski. “The majority of the race and finishing the race is going to come down to your mental capacity, not your physical [capacity].”

Each team member will complete the 100 miles through the Rocky Mountains this July.

Taking part in the 30-hour race is not just a personal goal; the eight runners will also be raising funds and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation, which is why they’re calling themselves Team Mental Rescue.

In recent months, PTSD and mental illness have been brought to the forefront for the team after members of Edmonton’s Emergency Services have died by suicide.

“It’s such an invisible illness,” said local firefighter and team leader Paul Semeniuk.

“In emergency response, individuals, on a daily basis, deal with traumatic injuries and situations the average citizen doesn’t have to see or be put through.”

Semeniuk said it reaches far beyond the fire hall.

“It’s affecting everyone in different ways.”

Throughout their training, at various local events and on race day, Team Mental Rescue will be wearing bright green as a way to bring light to what Semeniuk called an invisible disease.

“It says ‘I’m in support of it, and it’s not so invisible anymore.'”

“I see a lot of people suffer with it. They don’t know what they can do. They don’t know what’s out there,” Kozlowski added.

The group is also using social media to help raise awareness of the resources out there for those living with mental illness.

Come race day, Kozlowski said the funds and the support they’ve received so far will help motivate them to cross the finish line.

“You don’t sign up to get halfway through. You sign up to finish.”

By Quinn Ohler - Global News

Mountain Marathon

Finally!!! Jasper announces its very first half marathon and Team Mental Rescue will be there.
This race leaves Jasper town and takes you on a beautiful journey through the mountains,
around lakes, JPL, and returns to town for what should be a great finish. Hotel rates are pretty
good at the moment for this weekend and camping is usually pretty warm this time a year as
well. Sign up soon as this race will sell out fast and don’t forget to purchase our famous green
compression shorts to help you attain your PB this year in the mountains. Happy training.