Depression is more than being sad or feeling grief after a loss.
Depression is a medical disorder, just like diabetes, high blood
pressure or heart disease. Day after day, depression affects
your thoughts, feelings, physical health and behaviours.
A depressive episode must have a certain level of severity and
a minimum duration of two weeks.
Who gets depression?
• At any given time, almost three million Canadians have
• Depression accounts for 30% of all disability recorded at
three of Canada’s best known companies.
• 10-15% of men and 15-25% of women
What causes depression?
• Family history and genetics
• Medical illnesses
• Certain medications
• Life events or environmental stresses
• Biological factors
• Psychological vulnerability
Signs and symptoms of depression include
but are not limited to:
• Sad mood
• Preoccupation with failures or inadequacies and a loss of
• Feelings of uselessness, hopelessness, excessive guilt
• Slowed thinking, forgetfulness, difficulty in concentrating
and in making decisions
• Loss of interest in work, hobbies, people
• Social isolation
• Low energy
• Changes in appetite or weight – eating too little or too much
• Oversleeping or insomnia
• Decreased sexual drive
• Suicidal thoughts
Depression is not a weakness or character flaw. It is a
medical illness. Depression is treatable. Between 80-90%
of all depressed people respond to treatment and nearly all
depressed people who receive treatment see at least some
relief from their symptoms.
• The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression, Thompson, Tracy,
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995.
• In the Jaws of the Black Dogs, Mays, John Bentley, Penguin
• Living Without Depression and Manic Depression, Copeland,
Mary Ellen, New Harbinger Publications Inc., 1994.
• When Someone you Love is Depressed: How to Help Your Loved
One Without Losing Yourself, Rosen, Laura E., and Amador,
Xavier F., Simon & Schuster, 1997.
• Willow Weep for Me-A Black Woman’s Journey Through