Ongoing Research Projects

the Society Health Integration Project (S.H.I.P)

October 2022 to Current

Our Focus

Mental Health

In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. By the age of 40, around 50% of Canadians will have or have experienced some form of mental issue. Those already experiencing poor mental health before COVID-19 were impacted even more by the pandemic, especially those between the ages of 15-24 years old. only 40% of this age group felt they had good mental health compared to 60% pre-Covid.

Symptoms of mental illness can include:
• Nervousness
• Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
• Unexplained weight loss or gain
• Depression
• Sleep disturbances
• Lack of motivation or low energy

Some may even experience physical pain such as an upset stomach or the feeling of “butterflies”, chronic headaches, lack of concentration, unexplained muscle soreness, and many more.

There are many factors that can cause a person to not be or feel balanced in their emotional life. These can include but are not limited to poor nourishment, hormonal imbalance, stress/anxiety, wealth, and genetics. Without recognition of one’s illness and without support and help, those suffering may eventually turn to drugs and/or alcohol to help them cope.


According to Statistics Canada, 1 in 4 Canadians aged 15 years or older lives with chronic pain.

Many studies have demonstrated the negative effects of how chronic pain influences quality of life and mental health. If left untreated, pain not only causes psychological stress but may exacerbate mental health. Depression, anxiety, and addiction may also develop.

The importance of pain management is significant to improve the overall wellness of the body. Managing and recovering from pain symptoms also benefits mental health for proper brain function.

The Society Health and Integration Project (SHIP) provides an innovative approach by integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) services with conventional medicine to help achieve social recovery and improve economic participation. 

SHIP’s mission is to provide complimentary CAM treatments that are accessible to those between the ages of 14-55 that are struggling with pain, mental health, and addiction-related health issues


One can have poor mental health and no addiction, but one cannot have an addiction without some form of mental health complaint.

Addiction will have both mental and physical dependencies and is marked by a change in behaviour caused by the biochemical changes in the brain after continued substance abuse. Emotional responses to people, places, or events can cause a “stress trigger” which happens on a continual basis.

Since COVID-19, some Canadians continue to report increases in their alcohol (16.2%), cannabis (6.1%), and tobacco (4.8%) consumption. Those reporting poor mental health are up to 4 times more likely to report increased substance use since the beginning of the pandemic.

To help those suffering from addiction, there needs to be an opportunity for the brain to heal and the hippocampus to regenerate. Not only does the individual need to be clean from the substance, but they also need to be provided with a safe environment, free from abuse or trauma, and administer treatments to help relieve stress and promote mental healing.

Our Program and Services

Study for Albertans with Pain and/or Mental Health concerns:

We’re looking for patients 14-55 years old who suffer from pain or mental health issues to examine the effectiveness of using Complementary and Alternative Medicine interventions such as Acupuncture and Mind-Body Exercises to treat or manage these health concerns.

Participants will be asked to take part in:

1. Free acupuncture treatments over 1-2 months and/or free Baduanjin Qigong classes
2. Average 4 surveys:1 at the initial visit; 1 at the 6th and 12th acupuncture treatment; 1 post-treatment over the phone or online.

We will use treatment protocols for pain management and mental health that have been developed and validated in an interventional research project led by the University of Calgary. Previous interventional studies have suggested that CAM services may be beneficial for the management of various pain and mental health issues.

Participants will not need to pay for the interventions they receive in SHIP.


3rd Floor, 628 12 Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta

Parking: 2 hours of free parking provided

Applying to S.H.I.P

If you or someone you know think they would be a good fit for the program and would be interested in participating, please click the link below.

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