At our Distress Centres we often speak with callers who are experiencing depression. According to a new study using data from the 2002 Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-being, and from the 1994/1995 to 2002/2003 National Population Health Survey – almost a half million Canadi! an workers experience depression. Almost 4% of workers aged 25 to 64 have experienced depression in the 12 months before the study.

The Health Reports study "Depression and Work Impairment" revealed that the workers most prone to depression were those who regularly worked evening or night shifts, along with those employed in sales or service.

Nearly 8 out of 10 (79%) workers who had experienced depression in the year before they were interviewed reported that the symptoms had interfered with their ability to work, at least to some extent. Almost one in five (19%) reported a very severe degree of interference.

Depressed workers reported an average of 32 days in the previous year when their symptoms left them either unable to carry out normal activities or totally unable to work.
This study reinforces other research, which found that several crucial elements of job performance, such as time management, concentration, teamwork and overall outpu! t, are particularly vulnerable to depressive symptoms.

A numb er of job-related factors, such as shift work, hours of work, work stress and occupation, were associated with depression. Men and women who worked evening or night shifts were more likely to be depressed than those who had a regular day-time schedule. The prevalence of depression was relatively high among workers who spent fewer than 30 hours a week on the job, and lower among those who worked more than 40 hours.

People who described most days at work as stressful were more likely than those reporting less stress to have had a depressive episode in the year before the survey. This is consistent with other research that has shown a relationship between work stress and psychological disorders. Workers in sales or service and those in white-collar jobs were more likely than blue-collar workers to have experienced depression.

Relatively high percentages of workers who had experienced depression reported specific forms of work impairment. These included redu! ced activities because of a long-term health condition, at least one mental health disability day in the past two weeks, and absence from work in the previous week.

About 29% of workers who had had a recent episode of depression reported reduced work activities because of a long-term health condition. This was three times the proportion of only 10% among those with no history of depression. As well, 13% of workers who had experienced depression reported at least one day in the previous two weeks when they had to stay in bed, or cut down on normal activities, or their daily activities took extra effort, because of emotional or mental health or the use of alcohol or drugs.

Workers who had been depressed were 1.4 times as likely to report reduced work activities two years later because of a long-term physical or mental health condition, compared with workers who had not had a recent depressive episode. As well, two years later, workers who had had a depre! ssive episode were 1.8 times as likely to report having taken at least one disability day in the past two weeks.

If you are interested in more information on this topic....
The article "Depression and work impairment" is included in the latest edition of Health Reports, Vol. 18, no. 1 (82-003-XWE), and available from the Publications module of Statistics Canada website. http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/070112/d070112a.htm



I am new to the world of distress centres, and as a result, there is a lot I need to learn. This puts me in the same situation that many volunteers encounter - finding out what we need to know and deciding how to go about learning it. One thing we do have on our side is the experience we bring from other situations so that we can transfer that knowledge and apply it to learning new skills.

I have spent many years teaching in post secondary education facilities and in a variety of roles ! in the not-for-profit world of professional associations, institutions and charities. My first career - and one that I am still involved with - is that of a health information management professional. Here I learned to abstract, code, retrieve, and present information that could be used in patient care, research and quality evaluation studies. These skills, in turn, I have been able to bring to other situations such as teaching, management, and volunteer training.

When I first began my career in teaching I thought, as many of us do, that there was only one way to learn - the way I learn. It actually came as a revelation to me that not everyone learned the same way as I did. We are much more aware of different learning styles now than when I started out and we are much more aware of the role of the adult learner. I am constantly reminded in my formal teaching how people learn differently. When I see blank stares I try a different approach to what I am teaching. Wit! h the use of computers I can assist students by tailoring something to their learning style. Some students will remember their medical terminology because they have seen a picture that triggers their memory of a specific term. Others need to hear a term constantly repeated so they can remember it.

Adults learn what they need to learn. I am learning about the role of the various distress centres by seeing what materials various centres use to train their volunteers, talking to the people in the centres about how they currently train, and by taking some of the courses that are relevant to the needs of various clients. Access to the information on the internet has been a major help to the adult learner. If there is something we need to know more about we can turn to the many reputable sites that can provide us with the knowledge we need. Two very good sites that provide us with information on how adults learn and various learning styles are: Learnativity.com and agelesslearner.com. Check these sites out if you are planning some new tr! aining sessions. They may help you to come up with some new ways to encourage learning.

Patricia A. Hewes
Coordinator, Learning and Development



95% of our member centres will be attending the day long centre meeting and DCO AGM

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Metro Hall
55 John St.
Toronto, ON

Discussions will include Assurance calls for Vulnerable Populations; Interagency Protocols for Out-of-Area Callers; Volunteer Recruitment - Is the challenge increasing?

Minutes of the meeting and notes on the discussions will be available to all participants and member centres after the meeting.



Once, not long ago, it was a hearty tree
providing shade, food, and oxygen! -
a world of its own.

For a hundred years,
perhaps m ore,
it flourished with breath and life.

Then it was cut, sawed, ground, and pressed
until it found itself resting softly
between two friends.

Peacefully and patiently
it waited for the moment
it would burst forth into the world
and exercise the meaning of its life.

And now the moment has come.
It gracefully caresses my cheek,
wiping the tears from my eyes
and taking on my pain as its own

All those years
as seed, tree, wood
and tissue
in preparation for the fleeting moment
it would console my sadness.

As it gives its life to comfort me
I almost failed to see the kindness of its deed.

Wrapped up in self-centered pain, tear-blinded,
I nearly missed its selfless service.
Who will give witness to such compassion if not me?

Shrivelled and soaked, it died while serving a fool
who discarded thousands of its brothers and sisters
without a thanks –! not one tear shed in gratitude.

Teach me to see through the teardrop, that in the midst of pain
I may understand the true source
of the softness against my face.

Teach me to cry with my eyes wide open.

NAIKAN, Gregg Krech
Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection
Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley, California
Gregg was a presenter at our Spring Conference 2006

Keep your calendars open for the ….


MARCH 1 AND 2, 2007

Lamplighter Inn
London, Ontario

The forum is of interest to staff and volunteers of all Member Centres and interested friends of the Distress Centre Movement.

The topics are varied including looking at how DC’s can play a larger part in disaster and pandemic planning, how to he! lp our callers with concurrent disorders, suicide ideation among the e lderly and more.

We have a wonderful room rate at the Lamplighter of $95.00 + tax per night, so this will be a very affordable forum for all.

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Elizabeth (Liz) Fisk
Executive Director
Distress Centres Ontario
Suite 475A, 700 Lawrence Ave W
Toronto, ON M6A 3B4
416-486-8405 fax

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