DIY de-stressor guide

Mental health organization offers Bounce Back Program to help adults

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has launched a personalized program to help adults deal with depression, low mood, stress and anxiety, just in time for the holidays.

Did you know?

– Every year one in five Canadians experiences a mental health problem or illness. These instances cost the economy more than $50 billion.
– Women are almost twice as likely to suffer from major depression than men (10 vs. 25 per cent)

The CMHA servicing York and South Simcoe region released a self-guided mental health program series of workbooks and DVDs through its Bounce Back Program.

The program consists of an instructional DVD, 16 workbooks, personal coaching and telephone support.

It is offered to adults who live in York Region or Simcoe County and have been referred to the program by their family doctor. Doctors test patients using PHQ9 tests, also known as the Nine Symptom Checklist, to determine whether or not they’re suited for the program.

“It’s a questionnaire generalizing the history of a patient and determining how often they’re bothered with these problems,” said Karen Hicks, director of programs at CMHA York.

She said that the test includes a variety of questions, including whether the individual has little interest or pleasure in doing things.

Once referred by a doctor, coaches assess patients to determine they’re specific needs are which workbooks to assign. The first is titled, overcoming depression,  low mood and anxiety, and the second is ‘understanding why I feel as I do.’

DIY tips for de-stressing

– The mineral magnesium has been proven to calm cells and act as a de-stressor as well as a de-toxifier.
– Being in a constant state of “fight or flight” can raise your blood pressure, increase the risk or heart attack and stroke, suppress the immune system and make you vulnerable to mental and emotional issues.
– A 20-minute walk or jog can improve your mood for 12 hours.
– Processed food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress. Omega-3 fatty acids, can help you cope with stress better.
– Changing your habit loops and rewards can help you break out of harmful routines
– Repeating positive affirmations can help you overcome negative thoughts.

“Those two are usually the starting point for most people,” Hicks said. “But it depends how severe the case is,” she added.

Of the list of workbooks available, most patients will require eight or nine. They deal with topics such as noticing extreme or unhelpful thinking, practical problem solving, information for family and friends and planning for the future.

Coaches work with patients throughout the process, which takes about two to three months to complete, said Hicks.

The program has been clinically proven effective in areas across the country. Since debuting in British Columbia in 2008, more than 100,000 people have used the DVDs and reported significant decreases in the severity of depression.

According to the Toronto Distress Centre, initiatives such as these are particularly necessary during the holiday season when cases of depression typically increase.