Calgary Counselling Centre’s Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner offered her insights on how to tackle one of the most pressing mental health issues – depression.
Babins-Wagner set the stage on the severity of depression to the approximately 100 professionals in the mental health industry in attendance.
“(Depression) has been the main request for the past 20 years, followed closely by couple or relationship counselling,” Babins-Wagner said. “About a decade ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that depression would become the second greatest cause of human suffering and disability by the year 2020. WHO’s timing was a little off – we’ve already hit that milestone.”
Babins-Wagner explained Calgary Counselling Centre’s Defy Depression initiative, which is designed to enhance, enrich and build a strong community by raising awareness around depression, reducing stigma, and treating this rapidly growing issue. To complement the initiative, the Centre has designed a proven, effective formula of treatment that improves a person’s recovery from depression. This formula is also applied to all of the Centre’s counselling programs. The treatment begins with individual counselling sessions to develop coping skills and then advances to a group setting to help clients develop new skills to help change their behaviour.
“Having other people with depression in the group decreases their isolation and provides them with much needed peer support,” Babins-Wagner explains.
Babins-Wagner explained that every person’s progress is measured through a continued feedback approach.
“It’s an evidence-based treatment. We call it FIT for Feedback Informed Treatment and it significantly improves mental health,” Babins-Wagner explained. “In 2013 we used this formula to treat nearly 800 people for depression. And consistent with the research, we found that 78 per cent of them improved.”
Babins-Wagner says Calgary Counselling Centre wants to broaden its partnerships,
“I hope you’ll consider helping us treat more people in our community—and beyond—people who are struggling in the grips of this crippling disorder,” Babins-Wagner said. “What are we waiting for? Let’s defy depression.”
Other speakers at the conference included Dr. Douglas Hamilton, former NASA Flight Surgeon and now professor at the University of Calgary. Frank Kelton of Potential Place Society and Karen Hume, CMHA Workplace Consultant also spoke.
Calgary Counselling Centre would like to thank the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) for organizing this important event. We’d also like to thank all the participants for providing their expert insight on how together, we can combat mental health issues.