September 10th: Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

In Canada, suicide is the leading cause of non-natural deaths.

The stigma of mental illness, and the many barriers to getting help, mean that people often don't get the help that they need and deserve.

It's our job to make it easier for people to come forward and find the resources that they need. Spread the word, do your part to reduce stigma, and support those who require help.

More info here: link.

Here To Help BC: link.

The Vancouver Crisis Centre: link.

And a powerful video from the Movember Foundation Canada (link):

Many people go without the help they want and need.

depression hopeless| Dr. Jason Winters | Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Over the years, there's been a lot of discussion and debate about funding for psychotherapy. Currently, psychologists in Canada are not covered by government-funded health care plans.

While some extended health care plans do provide coverage, it's usually limited. Also, many people do not have access to those sorts of plans. This leaves a lot of people paying out of pocket. For many, it's worth it as their quality of life after treatment will be much, much better.

A recent study, described in the link, shows that in BC, way too many people struggling with depression go without the care that they want and need (both medication and psychotherapy).

Some quotes from the CBC:

"The study's authors found that, of all British Columbians diagnosed with depression, only 53 per cent received the minimum baseline of treatment."
"They found that only 47 per cent of those prescribed antidepressants received them for 12 weeks, and only 13 per cent received four therapy sessions.
Puyat said the actual number of depressed people receiving inadequate care is likely much higher than the study found, since the study only considered patients who sought treatment, and many people do not."

You can read the rest of the article here: link.

Doing things on your own can be pleasurable, too.

pleasure own depression anxiety behavior| Dr. Jason Winters | Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Social connections are clearly crucial for the vast majority of people. There's a huge pile of research demonstrating that social isolation has an immense negative impact on well-being. Social connections help buffer us against all sorts of negative experiences and make it easier to cope. They also provide value and meaning to us.

People with depression and anxiety (among other things), tend to have reduced social connections. Isolation contributes to, and results from, anxiety and depression. It's a vicious circle of feeling shitty and avoiding social contact.

But what about spending time alone for those who aren't badly depressed or anxious?

Being able to be content alone appears to be important to us, too. Strong discomfort with being alone can be a red flag.

This short piece on being alone reviews an interesting set of studies which demonstrate that many people are comfortable doing things on their own but choose not to. It's related to a fear of being judged (i.e., what a loser), and the prediction that doing things alone will be less enjoyable. Neither, it turns out, are true.

From the Atlantic:

The Unexpected Pleasure of Doing Things Alone
People avoid going out by themselves because they think they'll appear antisocial, but it turns out they'll end up having a lot more fun than they expected.
By Joe Pinsker
Two years ago, a Dutch creative agency opened a concept restaurant in Amsterdam that would be, in the words of its founder, “the perfect place to dine in pleasant solitude.” The restaurant is called Eenmaal—this name has been translated into English as “dinner for one”—and was launched in an attempt to start dissolving the stigma attached to going out alone. Apparently picking up on the same cultural drift, a new fast-casual restaurant in Washington, D.C., has tiered, bench-like seating with individual trays, an arrangement that caters to solo diners.
As antisocial as those ideas may sound, it’s surprising that the world hasn’t seen more of them. Today, more than a quarter of American households are home to just one person—a figure that has tripled since 1970. Also, the median age at which Americans get married has recently reached a record high. Given these demographic shifts, one would think that by now, going out to the movies or to dinner alone wouldn’t be the radical acts they still are.

Read the rest here: link.

How complaining only holds you back.

complaining angry mindfulness | Dr. Jason Winters | Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

A great piece on the brain science behind complaining (and worry) and how we can re-train our brains to reduce the impact of negativity on our lives. It ties in nicely with cognitive behavioural therapy (restructuring the way that we think) and mindfulness (acceptance, living in the moment, and letting go of the past).


The Science of Happiness: Why complaining is literally killing you.
by Steven Parton
Sometimes in life, all the experience and knowledge simmering around in that ol’ consciousness of ours combines itself in a way that suddenly causes the cerebral clockwork to click into place, and in this fluid flow of thought we find an epiphany rising to the surface.
One such point for me came in my junior year at University. It changed the way I viewed the world forever as it catapulted me out of the last of my angsty, melancholic youth and onto a path of ever-increasing bliss. Sounds like I’m verging on feeding you some new-agey, mumbo-jumbo, doesn’t it? Well, bear with me, because I assure you the point here is to add some logical evidence to the ol’ cliches, to give you what I would consider my Science of Happiness. 

Read the rest here: link.