Helping cure the blues

Many of us can experience a shift in mood as we enter into the fall.

Many of us can experience a shift in mood as we enter into the fall. This October offers a unique opportunity to learn more about depression, anxiety, and risky drinking at the 17th annual Beyond the Blues: Depression Anxiety Education and Screening Day. This province-wide event has had close to 52,000 participants since 1995.

Beyond the Blues is a great opportunity for participants to learn more about the effects of mental illness and health,” says Jonny Morris, acting director of mental health promotion for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC division and provincial co-ordinator for Beyond the Blues. “This particular time of year can often bring unique stresses related to work and school and weather and daylight changes can impact peoples’ ability to exercise and connect socially. Beyond the Blues is an ideal time to work on prevention, catch mental health problems early and connect to local help.”

Held during Mental Illness Awareness Week, Beyond the Blues is an annual awareness day to engage people to learn more about depression which affects about one in seven in a lifetime and anxiety problems which affect one in six, as well as related issues like suicide and risky drinking.

For Beyond the Blues 2011, more than 70 local events will be set up across BC October 6 and throughout October.

At an education and screening site, you can take part in fun and engaging activities to learn more about mood and anxiety problems, effective treatments, supports and self-care.

You can then fill out short self-tests on depression, anxiety and risky drinking, talk privately with a clinician about the results and next steps, and find out about resources and supports in your community. The events are free, anonymous, confidential and walk-in. Most sites also host presentations, videos or games, and/or health fairs.

Anyone is welcome to attend, whether you want to fill out a self-test or not.

The Nelson event goes October 12 at the Kootenay School of the Arts campus between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.