Opinion

Latimer: Defeat depression campaign reflects spring mood

May is a hopeful month. Those April showers (and snow storms in many parts of the country) have truly produced their promised results.

The flowers are blooming, the air is warm and the anticipation of summer is everywhere.

I can’t think of a better time of year for people across the country to join together to raise awareness and funds for depression and other mood disorders.

This year marks the second year the Mood Disorders Society of Canada has held a pan-Canadian campaign to defeat depression and it all culminates in events across the country on May 26.

Participants will Move for Mental Health by participating in runs and walks to battle the stigma surrounding depression and other mental health conditions and raise money for local mental health organizations.

In addition to the above goals, some of the other objectives of the Defeat Depression campaign are to:

• develop and share resources and supports

• build a larger mental health network of communities

• develop increased coordination between communities to defeat depression and

• create an environment that encourages people to come forward for early intervention and treatment.

Events are taking place in most areas of the country.

In B.C., there are four communities holding run/walks on May 26. As of today there is not an event planned for Kelowna, but there is one in Penticton and also in Vancouver.

I think this sort of community initiative is just the sort of thing we need to help drag mental health issues out of our closets and into the open.

According the Canadian Mental Health Society, mood disorders affect about 10 per cent of the population—and depression is the most common.

In spite of this, many still view depression as a sign of a weak character rather than the serious and chronic illness that it is.

When mood disorders enjoy wider public awareness and understanding, people experiencing them will likely feel more comfortable getting help sooner.

Not only could this save years of needless suffering, but it could also prevent the cumulative damage that takes place in the brain with many untreated episodes of depression.

If you are interested in learning more about the Defeat Depression campaign or would like to take part in one of the organized events, visit their website at www.defeatdepression.ca.

Finally, if you or someone you love lives with depression, speak to your doctor about it. Help is available.

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