Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Mental illness and Depression - recognize the symptoms and get help

What is mental illness?

Mental illness is marked by a disruption of mood, thoughts and ability to function in your daily life.  The disruptions to mood and thought are often overwhelming and can leave a person feeling as though they are unable to cope with life’s demands.  Some mental illnesses, such as depression, can be temporary or episodic, while others, such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, are life-long.  It is not always easy to know if a person is suffering from mental illness, and if they are, sometimes it is unclear as to what illness that might be.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders – IV (DSM-IV) is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental illness.  At present, the DSM-IV includes over 300 different mental illnesses. 

There is no one test that a person can take that will definitively diagnose a mental illness, though tests are given to provide some information.   A trained and experienced mental health provider can provide an accurate mental illness diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment options.  

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have depression or another mood related concern, talk to your doctor.      

Markers of depression include:
(Most of the days, in the past two weeks)

Inability to feel:

o Pleasure,  hope,  love, or attachment
o Emotionally “flat”


o Poor concentration due to difficulty pulling thoughts together,  slow thinking


o “I’m disgusting, worthless, inadequate.”
o “I’ve done something wrong; I’m at fault.”
o “Nothing will work out.”
o “Things will never get better”
o “I cannot do anything.  Nothing helps.”
o “Death would be a relief.”


o Loss of will, desire, interest
o Avoidance of people, work and activity


o Disrupted sleep: too much or too little
o Poor appetite or overeating
o Weight loss or gain
o Reduced or no ability to respond sexually
o Possible crying spells without knowing why

o Restless or slowed activity/speech
o Reduced talking, smiling, motion, energy

You can take an anonymous depression screening test at:  www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org

Additional Mental Health Resources:
Local Mental Health Services:
Leduc Mental Health Clinic  (780) 986-2660

Subsidized Counselling:
FCSS – Leduc (780) 980-7109 
FCSS – Beaumont (780) 929-1369 or (780) 929-3327
FCSS – Devon (780) 987-8325
FCSS – Leduc County  (780) 979-2385
Supportive Listening:
Leduc Regional Hub: Tues to Fri 2-6pm, Sat 11am-1pm      (780) 739-LHUB (5482)
Distress Line (780) 482-HELP (4357)

Local Private Counselling:
Connelly Counselling (780) 237-3510
Iasis Psychological Services –www.icanheal.ca (780) 739-0707 
Karunia Counselling –www.karunia.ca (780) 628-3939

Sheila Gothjelpsen is a Registered Psychiatrist with the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.