Cathy Keough Speaks About Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

6Cathy Keough Speaks About Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

Cathy Keough, Director – Counselling Initiatives at the Calgary Counselling Centre, offered her insight on breaking the stigma around mental health and depression on a podcast for the I Will Survive Association. The Calgary-based association is dedicated to reducing stigma and raises charitable funds through concerts featuring local musicians. I Will Survive Association was founded when one of its directors lost a friend to suicide. Since then, it has been educating and raising awareness about mental health through music and interviews on podcasts.

Cathy provided insight on the benefits of counselling, the severity of depression in today’s society, and the effective methods that the Calgary Counselling Centre uses to improve the well-being of its clients.

“Mental health today continues to carry a huge stigma. Mental health is not something that you either have or don’t have,” Cathy said. “It moves, it ebbs, and it flows.”

About 10 years ago, The World Health Organization predicted that depression would be the second leading cause of disability by 2020. Cathy says recent statistics indicate that unfortunately, we’ve already reached this point. She says the sooner someone engages in counselling, the faster and better the outcomes. In fact, results can be noticed in as little as 8-10 counselling sessions.

Cathy says these fast results are attributable to the Centre’s Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) process, which uses a questionnaire designed to track a client’s progress. Similar to how a doctor takes a blood pressure reading, FIT allows counsellors to take a clients’ emotional vital signs which they use to determine the best form of treatment.

“It helps us look at where they’re doing well and where they aren’t doing well, so we can refine what we are working on,” Cathy explains.

Cathy also highlighted the importance of viewing mental health and wellness in a more accepting light. Many people who suffer from depression never seek help due to a fear of being judged.

“The first step often is to talk to someone who cares about you and reach out. We try to make it easy for you,” Cathy said.

To listen to the full podcast, please visit:

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