2017 – the year ahead

“Stress up almost two-fold as Calgarians worry about jobs, lagging economy” – Calgary Herald, September 2015.

“Oil and gas layoffs pose new challenges for couples” – CBC.ca, November 2015

“Economic downturn impacting mental health of Calgarians, study says” – CBC, February 2016

“As oil has gone down, mental distress has gone up” – Calgary Herald, October 2016

These are just a few of the headlines we have seen and articles we have participated in since the price of oil dropped over two years ago.

With the New Year, comes a clean slate, and while some continue to be optimistic about the current state of the economy, experts predict that it may not fully recover until 2018 or later.

Mayor Nenshi acknowledges that we’re all in this together

In 2016, Calgary Counselling Centre saw a 10% increase in the number of counselling sessions provided to clients. Since November 2014, the month that the price of oil dropped, we have seen a 17.7% increase in requests for service. Through our client-feedback model, we have seen that the levels of depression, anxiety and mental distress in our clients are continuing to rise significantly in correlation with the state of the economy. In 2016, we provided more than 31,950 counselling sessions to those in need, and we don’t foresee that number slowing down in 2017.

In times of economic uncertainty, our role is to continue to be a constant, highly professional, counselling service delivering the best results for our clients. The Centre is committed to providing barrier-free access to services and as such eliminated our waitlist over 15 years ago, ensuring those who need help can access it immediately. In 2017 our aim is to help more Calgarians in need than ever before.

Here’s how:

Expanding our mental health services

In September of 2016, Calgary Counselling Centre moved to the newly renovated 10th floor of the Kahanoff Centre in an effort to meet the increased need of our community. Our new space features an increased number of counselling rooms, brand new technology, and a play therapy room all centrally located. In our new location, Calgary Counselling Centre will be able to provide more counselling services to more Calgarians. You can learn more about our new space here.

Helping create a better mental health strategy for our province

We are pleased to share that Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, CEO of Calgary Counselling Centre, is a member of the Valuing Mental Health Advisory Committee. This committee provides consultation based on expertise and advice to the Valuing Mental Health Executive Steering Committee, Alberta Health. Specifically, the committee provides expert advice and guidance regarding implementation of the intent and direction of Valuing Mental Health; reviews direction and deliverables and make recommendations to the Executive Steering Committee as appropriate; are ambassadors of Valuing Mental Health throughout its life cycle; and communicates on progress and achievements.

Prior to the economy changing, we launched our Defy Depression campaign. With a bold vision and a comprehensive plan, we began rallying Calgarians to help spread the word that depression affects all of us, depression is highly treatable, there is a proven solution that works and that together we can tackle depression head-on.

Did You Know?

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

  • The largest group of sufferers are 25 to 44 – prime parenting and working years. The fastest growing group are kids of depressed parents.

  • Canada’s youth suicide rate is the highest in the industrialized world.

  • Every depressed person that doesn’t get treatment affects the lives of at least three others.

  • Depression is the most treatable of all mental health issues and the sooner a person seeks help the better and faster the results.

In order to Defy Depression in our community, we need your help.

Here’s where you support goes:

  • Ensuring people get the help they need when they need it

  • Screening and engagement activities to build awareness that help is available

  • Training more counsellors and mental health providers about effective depression treatment

  • Ongoing evaluation, analysis and improvement of services, delivering higher client results

Depression affects all of us. If it’s not you it’s your spouse, friend, colleague or neighbour.

Our plan is ambitious, but together we will get there. With vision. With commitment. With your help.

To learn more about how you can help defy depression in our community, or to make a donation visit defydepression.ca

Nick Heer