National Depression Screening Day

Next week, Kelowna's mental health community will host the seventh annual Depression Screening and Education Day.

October 9th is set-aside across BC as a day of action to raise awareness and educate people about depression. From 10:00am to 8:00pm at OUC's KLO campus in the Student Services Building (1000 KLO Rd.), everyone is welcome to come in and learn more about this debilitating illness that affects roughly 400,000 British Columbians every year.

Depression Screening and Education Day provides individuals with the opportunity to be screened for depression in an anonymous and confidential manner. There will also be educational materials available, videos and appropriate contact information for community resources. The event is free and all are welcome to participate.

This year, the event comes shortly after a new Statistics Canada survey found that depression, anxiety and addictions are just as common as many chronic illnesses including heart disease and diabetes.

Depression affects a large portion of our population and is sadly under diagnosed, under treated and even stigmatized in our society. This survey found that only one third of people with a mood disorder seek treatment - leaving many to face this frightening illness alone.

Depression is among the most painful experiences in human life. Those who experience it are robbed of their enjoyment, interests, energy and motivation. Not only do they feel sad, there are also characteristic feelings of worthlessness and helplessness that go along with depression. Often, people feel as though life will never change for the better.

Along with the direct symptoms of the disorder, depression can also lead to complications in other areas of life including relationships, work and physical health.

Being unable to participate in daily activities causes strain in many relationships and often leads to conflict. An increased number of sick days and lost productivity in the workplace costs the economy billions each year and can cost individuals their jobs.

There are several different treatment options available for people who suffer from depression. Family physicians, group therapy programs offered through mental health programs, psychiatrists, private (fee for service) therapists and clinical trials.

Your family doctor can talk with you about your symptoms and then refer you to a psychiatrist or mental health program if appropriate. Private therapists can be contacted directly. There are a number of ongoing depression clinical trials in Kelowna, which can be accessed without a referral and which are therefore highly confidential.At the Depression Screening and Education Day event, participants have the opportunity to learn more about depression as well as other related conditions and treatments; fill out a short questionnaire to see if symptoms of depression are present; talk privately with a clinician about the quiz results and find out about resources in the community. There is no obligation to fill out a screening questionnaire. Information is available for anyone.

For further information about Kelowna's Depression Screening and Education Day, please contact Okanagan Advocacy & Resource Society at 979-0201.


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