Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) is a significant mental health issue with wide ranging impact on Canadians, families, communities and the health care system according to the findings of the April 2018 national survey on TRD, by Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC). The results of the survey reinforce depression is a very serious, often debilitating illness that desperately requires new innovation in treatments and collaborative approaches in the various federal and provincial mental health care systems.

Of particular concern to MDSC:

  • One-half of the respondents report having experienced more than 10 acute depressive episodes since being diagnosed with depression, while an additional three in ten respondents experienced between five (5) and 10 such episodes.
  • Overall, few report to be coping well with their symptoms, and many require assistance with day-to-day living. These findings suggest a clear need for greater access to support services to aid with coping strategies and self-care.
  • Emergency Room visits and hospital admission for depression is common among those experiencing TRD. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of the respondents report having visited the hospital Emergency Room for their depression in the past, while just over one-half report to have been admitted to hospital.
  • Approximately two-thirds of respondents have visited the hospital Emergency Room (ER) for their depression on at least one occasion. One-half of respondents had visited between two and five times.
  • Among those who have been admitted to hospital, respondents most commonly report staying between 11 and 30 days in hospital the last time they were admitted directly, with the average stay lasting 13 nights.
  • One-third of respondents report to be currently engaging in self-harm and/or substance abuse as a means to cope with depression.
  • In addition to TRD, three-quarters of survey respondents report currently receiving treatment for anxiety.
  • Depression is widely regarded as a medical condition that is not taken seriously enough by society, and the majority of respondents appear frustrated by the difficulty experienced in accessing mental health services.

Moving Forward

The survey clearly indicates that Canadians are calling for proactive action to recognize and address Treatment Resistant Depression. Overall, nearly all respondents strongly agree that all Canadians living with depression should be offered free access to innovative medication, while a similar portion offer the same level of agreement that all medications approved as safe and effective treatments for depression should be fully covered by public funding. Levels of agreement for both statements were generally consistent across audience segments.

MDSC Treatment Resistant Depression Study – April 25


Media Contact:
Dave Gallson
National Executive Director
(613) 921-5565