The Pulse: May 25, 2023

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • 20°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming north 20 km/h near noon. High 20. UV index 6 or high. (forecast)
  • White/Blue: The High Level Bridge will be lit white and blue for AI week, which is organized by the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) and runs May 24-27. (details)
  • 161,000: According to Elections Alberta, more than 161,000 Albertans cast advance poll ballots on May 23, which is 16% more than on the first day of advance polling in 2019. (details)

Dóchas Psychological Services founder Kim Long stands in her office while holding her phone with the Lifejacket app open.

New mental wellness app Lifejacket offers in-the-moment support

By Colin Gallant

A new app from a psychology practice in Spruce Grove is bucking trends in the market by offering support for real-time stress management and emotional regulation.

Dóchas Psychological Services released the free app, called Lifejacket, on May 1.

"What I was looking for was a really simple solution to help clients manage their stress outside of sessions, and sometimes we don't know what we need until we're in that moment," Dóchas founder and registered psychologist Kim Long told Taproot.

Long said that there are two key differences between Lifejacket and market leaders Calm and Headspace, which focus on regular practice.

"We wanted something where daily use wasn't going to be required," she said. "A lot of other apps that are out on the market — which are amazing — (only) focus on one stress-management tactic, like journaling or meditation or positive affirmations. And we wanted to branch out because it's not one-size-fits-all."

Among the varied tactics for stress management are exercises that stimulate all five senses, another element that sets Lifejacket apart, Long said.

"Some of them are really what you would expect, like meditation or having a bath or things like that. But then they also get a little bit more inventive," she said. "Sometimes we need to let out that anger or that frustration, and a really good way to do that is to move furniture or pop bubble wrap."

Other sensory experiences include listening to comedy or specific kinds of music, exposing oneself to favourite smells, breathing strategies, cooking and baking, and more. Users simply fill out four fields — Feeling, Mind, Body, and Sense — and swipe left. The app then generates suggestions with links to things like recipes and playlists.

"If you didn't like any of those (results), you could just swipe back and then swipe forward again … and it should auto-populate some of the ones you saw, but some different options as well," Long said.

The app is for Dóchas clients and non-clients alike. Though the app does list Dóchas's contact info and even has a "book appointment" button, it's completely free to use and available on both iOS and Android.

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Headlines: May 25, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • Officials lifted mandatory evacuation orders for residents of Fox Creek, Little Smoky, Swan Hills, and O'Chiese First Nation on May 24, although some remain under evacuation alert and may need to leave at any time. "The extreme rate of growth we saw on these wildfires earlier this month has now slowed," said Alberta Wildfire information officer Christie Tucker, adding that firefighters have made significant progress over the past few days. Crews are still battling wildfires about one kilometre from Fox Creek, but Mayor Sheila Gilmour said no structures within the community have been destroyed. As of May 24, there were 65 wildfires active in Alberta's forest protection zones. Around 7,000 Albertans remained under evacuation orders on May 24, compared to about 10,000 one day earlier.
  • The Edmonton Folk Music Festival unveiled this year's performer lineup, which includes Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves, the Ukrainian quartet DakhaBrakha, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Ben Harper. Other major acts playing the main stage are Feist, Fleet Foxes, Gregory Alan Isakov, Half Moon Run, The Tallest Man on Earth, and country singer Margo Price. The festival runs Aug. 10-13. Tickets go on sale June 3 and will be the same price as last year.
  • The city is inviting Edmontonians to celebrate Splash Day on May 27 at City Hall Plaza and Churchill Square. The family-friendly event will feature live music, food trucks, and activities including table tennis, basketball, and large-format chess. The City Hall fountain will operate seven days a week from June 3 to Sept. 4.
  • Lyft, a competitor of Uber, officially launched its app-based service in Edmonton and Calgary on May 24. The company is offering users a 25% discount, up to five dollars, for their first three rides within 14 days of activating an account.
  • Stingers Entertainment Group (SEG) announced the launch of a new charitable foundation called The Stingers Foundation. According to a release, the foundation aims to "bring the power of sports and the universal appeal of basketball to work in our community twelve months a year." The foundation will be chaired by Marcie Kiziak, who is also the CEO of Nova Cannabis. SEG purchased the Edmonton Stingers, the city's Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) team, in February 2023.
  • A group of more than 190 emergency room doctors released an open letter on May 24 calling on the Alberta government and Alberta Health Services to immediately address the "capacity crisis" in Alberta's healthcare system. The letter emphasizes a lack of access to family doctors, a lack of hospital beds, and a shortage of healthcare professionals, including nurses. "There is an election fast approaching, and we hope that healthcare is a top priority for political parties and for voters," they wrote. "The health of our population depends on this."
A tree-lined trail in Edmonton's river valley

Calls for public engagement: Trees, zoning, and neighbourhood improvement

By Karen Unland and Kevin Holowack

Here are some opportunities to offer your input to the City of Edmonton on various civic issues, such as renewal projects, service provision, and bylaws.

Upcoming events

More input opportunities

Photo: The City of Edmonton wants to know how you think we can make Edmonton greener in Phase 2 of its public engagement on naturalization and tree planting. (Mack Male/Flickr)