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Let's Talk About Depression

by Tina Summers

As a clinician working in Lutherwood’s Mental Health division, many clients I work alongside suffer from depression. A Mood Disorders Association of Ontario FAQ Sheet cites “almost 3 million Canadians have serious depression. It accounts for 30% of all disability recorded at three of Canada’s best known companies. Depression affects 10 to 15% of men and 15 to 25% of women.”

Likely you have been impacted by some form of depression directly or through someone you know. Those I have worked with sometimes have been suffering from a treatable and recoverable disorder for many years. The good news is that help is available and accessible in most parts of Canada.

Depression can be difficult to understand as it is a complex mental health disorder and not a typical fluctuation in mood that most experience from time to time. While depression can begin with significant loss and disruption to life - particularly in early life - and could be combined with a nervous system that slows under pressure, it is more than sadness or loss. It is when people have worked through the event or recent stress without returning to previously held function that concern about physical and mental health occurs. Often sleep patterns and appetites are affected, relationships and activities no longer interest or excite and thinking can become focused in the past and on negative events filtering out the positive.

When day-to-day life continues to be affected, many continue alone and pressure themselves to ‘be positive’ or come down on themselves when unable to function. You and those you care about do not need to suffer alone. Talk to your family doctor about your options including antidepressant medication that can help with sleep, appetite and energy levels. Additional supports can be accessed through your family doctor, local counselling agencies such as Lutherwood Family Counselling Services or Walk-Counselling Service for Families. If you are concerned about a child or youth and you live in Waterloo Region, contact Front Door for help accessing local mental health services for children and youth. The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario website has resources and detailed symptoms for adults and teenagers.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from depression, there is always help available through your family doctor or a counselling service.