Published on The Toronto Observer.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has launched a personalized program to help adults deal with depression, low mood, stress and anxiety, just in time for the holidays.
The CMHA servicing York and South Simcoe region released a self-guided mental health program series of workbooks and DVDs through its Bounce Back Program. The program consists of an instructional DVD, 16 workbooks, personal coaching and telephone support.
It is offered to adults who live in York Region or Simcoe County and have been referred to the program by their family doctor. Doctors test patients using PHQ9 tests, also known as the Nine Symptom Checklist, to determine whether or not they’re suited for the program.
Did you know?
– Every year one in five Canadians experiences a mental health problem or illness. These instances cost the economy more than $50 billion.
– Women are almost twice as likely to suffer from major depression than men (10 vs. 25 per cent)
“It’s a questionnaire generalizing the history of a patient and determining how often they’re bothered with these problems,” said Karen Hicks, director of programs at CMHA York.
She said that the test includes a variety of questions, including whether the individual has little interest or pleasure in doing things.
Once referred by a doctor, coaches assess patients to determine they’re specific needs are which workbooks to assign. The first is titled, overcoming depression, low mood and anxiety, and the second is ‘understanding why I feel as I do.’
Of the list of workbooks available, most patients will require eight or nine. They deal with topics such as noticing extreme or unhelpful thinking, practical problem solving, information for family and friends and planning for the future.
“Those two are usually the starting point for most people,” Hicks said. “But it depends how severe the case is,” she added.
Coaches work with patients throughout the process, which takes about two to three months to complete, said Hicks.
The program has been clinically proven effective in areas across the country. Since debuting in British Columbia in 2008, more than 100,000 people have used the DVDs and reported significant decreases in the severity of depression.
According to the Toronto Distress Centre, initiatives such as these are particularly necessary during the holiday season when cases of depression typically increase.