The Mood Disorders Society of Canada believes that consumers, families and caregivers are entitled to clear, accurate information about mood disorders and other mental illnesses. Informing yourself about your own or a loved one’s illness is an essential step in the journey to recovery. The following documents have been developed to provide you with straightforward facts and tips. Feel free to share them with others.
What BETTER Feels Like
Just like it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression so people will seek treatment, it is also important to recognize the signs of recovery - what better feels like. Mood Disorders Society of Canada embarked on a project to learn from others - who have "been there", what better feels like to them. Ten people were interviewed who had experienced depression. They answered questions like, What is depression like? What are the signs of getting better? What helped and what didn't? And what does better feel like? The results... two documents and several videos in the words of those who have lived experience. "Answers from People who have Experienced Depression" (PDF) // "A Guide to Maintaining Wellness" (PDF) // Videos
What is Depression?
People casually use the phrase, “I’m so depressed” to let others know that they are feeling down. But a temporary case of the blues - something we all experience - has nothing to do with real depression.True depression is not the blues, sadness or even grief. It is an overwhelming and enveloping despair so bleak and dark that people who have experienced it say that it is the worst pain they have ever endured. Depression is a treatable mental illness. Eight percent of Canadians will experience a major depression in their lifetime. Young people are particularly affected with 20% experiencing an episode of depression before the age of 20. Read more… (PDF English / French).
This brochure is based on comprehensive research so you can trust the information it provides. This extended plain text version offers all references. Read more… (PDF English).
What is Depression? (Fact sheet)
We all feel 'blue' from time to time. Sadness is an important part of living. It helps us understand our inner world, communicate with others and gives richness and meaning to our lives. Where the 'normal' sadness that comes from the inevitable losses and frustrations of daily life, parts company with depression as an illness, is the severity, duration and the degree of disability that depression can cause. Read more… (PDF English )
Depression in Elderly
Getting old in our society is depressing - right? For most people aging means a series of progressive losses including withdrawal from work, loss of purpose, reduced independence, loss of friends, increased poverty, the risk of developing an illness leading to long-term disability, isolation and loneliness. Why wouldn’t you be depressed - right? WRONG! According to Health Canada older Canadians are healthier, more affluent, are living longer and more independent lives than ever before. Seniors are physically more active, are engaged with their families and in their communities and are becoming international globetrotters. They are challenging many of the negative stereotypes we hold about aging and showing us that life is for living with vigour and vitality. Read more… (PDF English )
We all get excited by new ideas, pursue our goals with passion, have times when we want to party with our friends and enjoy life to its fullest. There will also be times when we are sad and withdraw into quiet contemplation or feel angry when things are not working out as planned. For people with bipolar disorder, these normal emotions can become a roller coaster ride of wild highs and devastating lows. Moods are driven, not by the events of life, but by a force of their own. Bipolar disorder (previously called manic-depressive illness) is a medical condition that involves changes in brain function leading to dramatic mood swings. These mood swings can be so severe that they impair normal functioning at work, at school and in relationships. Read more… (PDF English // French )
MDSC’s brochure on bipolar disorder is based on solid research so that you can have full trust in the information provided. This text version includes the references used in its creation. Read more... (PDF English)
Individuals with anxiety disorders experience excessive anxiety, fear or worry, causing them either to avoid situations that might precipitate anxiety or to develop compulsive rituals that lessen anxiety. Everyone feels anxious in response to specific events - but individuals with an anxiety disorder have excessive and unrealistic feelings that interfere with their lives in their relationships, school and work performance, social activities and recreation. Read more… (PDF English // French )
Three-quarters of adult Canadians spent money on some form of gambling in 2002, and the majority did so without problems. However, just over one in 20 were, or had the potential to become, problem gamblers, according to a new study. Using data from the 2002 Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 1.2 on Mental Health and Well-being, it is estimated that 1.2 million adult Canadians were at risk of experiencing a problem with gambling, or were problem gamblers. Read more… (PDF English )
If You Like to Gamble
Over the last decade, legalized gambling in Canada has grown rapidly and so has problem gambling. We are only just beginning to understand its public health and economic impact. Government-directed gambling alone has increased four-fold. Marketing and advertisement is widespread and there are now over 100,000 places to make a legal bet in Canada. New technological advances in the gaming industry are leading to forms of gambling that are highly addictive (i.e. Video Lottery Terminals and Online Texas Hold’em Poker). What was once considered an illegal activity and thought by many to be socially unacceptable, has become a popular form of entertainment. Read more… (PDF English )
Support for Families
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada recognizes the vital role that family and friends play in caring for and supporting people with mood disorders. We recognize that these illnesses have a significant effect on everyone they touch. Families have needs that must be understood and addressed within the health care system and they must be included as important members of the treatment team. Read more… (PDF English )
Risk of Suicide
Not all people who experience a mood disorder are at increased risk for suicide. However, there is evidence to suggest that people with depression and bipolar disorder are at considerably higher risk. Those with depression or bipolar disorder who consider suicide, are most vulnerable during a depressive episode. The risk of suicide multiplies if the person is also actively using drugs and/or alcohol. A past experience with self-harm is also known to increase the risk. Read more… (PDF English )
Helping Children Cope
The presence of a serious mental illness affects everyone in the family. Family and friends may rally around. Help is offered and taken. The normal routines of life are disrupted; roles change, uncertainty, and fearfulness may surround the present and cloud the future. Children need accurate information about what is going on and why. However, think carefully about the amount of information you share and the level of detail. Read more… (PDF English )
Resilience is the ability to respond to life with a sense of control and to tolerate surprises or unexpected life events. Resilience goes beyond the capacity just to deal with life’s problems, it is the ability to embrace and fully enjoy life with all its ups and downs. We only really know how resilient we are when life throws us a curve ball - like coping with a mood disorder. The good news is our capacity for resilience grows from managing stressful events. Read more… (PDF English )