Nenshi urges Calgarians to get depression screening
Screening test asks 10 questions about how you feel both physically and mentally
The mayor of Calgary has proclaimed Oct. 4 National Depression Screening day, which he hopes will highlight the importance of keeping your mental health in check.
In front of a packed room, Nenshi took a depression screening test that asks 10 questions about how you feel both physically and mentally.
"It's really important for us to take away the stigma that surrounds depression and mental illness in our community, and this is one way of doing that, Nenshi said.
"A lot of people just don't know — are my feelings normal, am I just feeling blue or am I in something else?"
Cindy Radu joined the mayor to talk about the impacts of depression and how it can completely take over one’s life.
In 2002, the busy tax lawyer says she took two years off work after being diagnosed with severe depression.
"I was having a hard time concentrating at work, my door was closed. I was exhausted all the time, I thought for sure that it's mono. I admitted myself to Rockyview on a suicide watch for 24 hours ... so I was as dark as it gets," Radu said.
Lois Hayward, the head counsellor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, said how stressful one's job is can play a role.
"We do know that when people are really really stressed, they are more vulnerable to depression. So it doesn't cause a depression, but certainly more vulnerable," said Hayward.
"There's a stigma against them getting assistance and that's what prevents them from seeking that help, getting that help, and can make it more serious."
Calgary Chamber of Commerce president Adam Legge said that typically employees suffering from depression take more sick days and have a hard time focussing while they’re at work.
"The average cost of lost productivity is about $4,200 per employee ... expand that over the Canadian economy, that's about $8.1 billion of lost economic value due to depression in the workplace," he said.
Experts say it's important for employers to have a strong employee assistance program, but more importantly to create a work environment where employees can talk about mental health issues without fear.