Media Notice - Unique conference focuses on depression in adults

    CALGARY, Oct. 13 /CNW/ - Media are invited to attend a unique conference
highlighting the latest information on depression in adults including its
causes, most effective treatments, and benefits to individuals and society.
The conference begins at The Westin in downtown Calgary on Wednesday,
October 15 and runs until Friday, October 17.
    The Consensus Development Conference on Depression in Adults: How to
Improve Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment is set up much like a court
hearing. At its conclusion a distinguished jury who has heard evidence from
experts over two days generates a consensus statement or "verdict" that is
then widely disseminated across the Canadian health-care system to be
considered in health policy and practice.

    Conference presentations will include:
    -   How negative experiences in childhood affect adult emotional health
    -   Alternative treatments such as healing practices in the Aboriginal
    -   Workplace issues
    -   Overcoming stigma
    -   Appropriate use of medication

    After hearing these and other presentations, the jury will make
recommendations addressing the following questions:

    -   What is depression and how common is it?
    -   What are the effects of depression for the individual, family, and
    -   What are the risk factors for depression and how can prevention of
        these improve?
    -   What are the most appropriate ways for diagnosing depression?
    -   What are current treatments for depression and what evidence is
        available for their safety and effectiveness?
    -   What are the obstacles to effective management of depression and
        strategies to overcome them?
    -   What further research is needed in the field?

    Conference participants include: Shelagh Rogers (CBC Radio), the Hon.
Michael Kirby, and Drs. Scott Patten and Glenda MacQueen from the University
of Calgary.
    Two pages of story ideas are attached to this media notice.

                     Story Ideas - Depression in Adults

    1.  Interview with Shelagh Rogers, Broadcast Journalist, CBC Radio

    As someone who suffers from unipolar depression, Shelagh knows about the
high personal stakes that come with that diagnosis from exclusion to
rejection, from low self esteem to downright shame. Feeling this way puts
stress on the family who may themselves become more predisposed to depression.
Shelagh has created a Top 10 list of things a depressed person hates to hear.

    2.  Interview with Dr. Glenda MacQueen, new Head, Department of
        Psychiatry, University of Calgary

    Dr. MacQueen has just taken up her role as the new Head, Department of
Psychiatry at the University of Calgary. She is also a researcher whose work
includes examining whether there are factors within the brain to determine who
is at risk of suicide, in much the same way genetic studies look at the risk
for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
    Dr. MacQueen recently reviewed the brain images of more than 1,000 people
with depression and 1,000 healthy control subjects, and found the hippocampus
to be smaller in those who had suffered several episodes of depression.
    The hippocampus is the part of the brain that houses memory. It is also
being looked at by mood disorder researchers because people with depression
often report problems with memory.

    3.  Interview with the Hon. Michael Kirby, Mental Health Commission of

    Michael Kirby will speak on the lack of a national strategy for dealing
with depression and other mental illnesses in Canada. He will be jury chair
for the consensus development conference on depression in adults to be held
Oct. 15-17 in Calgary

    4.  Impact of depression on individual and families

    a.) Dr. Scott Patten (University of Calgary), Chair, Conference
        Speakers' Panel
    (co-author of A Profile of Clinical Depression in Canada, February 2008)

    Major Depressive Disorder is among the world's most burdensome health
problems. According to some projections, Major Depression will be the leading
cause of disease burden in high income countries by 2030. Dr. Patten can
provide a profile of clinical depression in Canada.

    b.) Dr. June Bergman, family physician in Calgary

    Dr. June Bergman has been a full service family physician for over
35 years in Alberta and Ontario. She believes that Primary Care involves
caring for the whole person from a biopsychosocial perspective. She states
that as primary care physicians, the care of individuals must include physical
and mental illness as well as their roots in their family and community. She
has been involved for the past 15 years in program development with mental

    5.  Depression in the workplace

    Employers have a lot to gain by addressing the root causes of stress and
depression in the workplace and having policies and programs to deal with this
issue and other mental health related concerns. The Global Business and
Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health estimates mental illness
costs the Canadian economy $50 billion annually in lost productivity.

    a.) Mary Ann Baynton, RSW, MSW, speaking on work-related risk factors

    The majority of supervisors and managers in the workplace have neither the
time nor the interest in doing a thorough review of the literature in the area
of mental health risk factors. What they want and need is a practical approach
that answers the questions, "Why is this my concern?" and "What exactly do you
want me to do about it?".
    Mary Ann is the director of Mental Health Works, an initiative of the
Canadian Mental Health Association of Ontario. Her current work includes
consulting on complex return-to-work situations as well as working to improve
unhealthy workplace relations.

    b.) Zorianna Hyworon, CEO, InfoTech Inc., speaking on the impact on the

    A study just released by The Journal of Occupational and Environmental
Medicine (JOEM), investigating predictors of productivity loss, shows that
depression, balance of stress and satisfaction, and personal life challenges
significantly impact on productivity loss for employees, limiting their
ability to meet the normal demands of their job. In fact the study shows that
while health related issues play a significant role in employee productivity,
non-health related issues, such as personal financial concerns, can be equal
or greater in their significance.
    This case study is based on benchmark data collected through Wellness
Checkpoint, a comprehensive health risk assessment that considers employee
health and lifestyle risk factors in the context of their job and their life
outside of work.

    6.  Interview with Dr. Vincent Felitti a noted U.S. physician and
        researcher on how negative experiences in childhood impact adult
        mental and physical health

    Dr. Felitti is one of the principal investigators of the Adverse
Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, a long-term study that tracks the current
health status of 18,000 adults against adverse childhood experiences - such as
physical, sexual and psychological abuse, emotional and physical neglect and a
dysfunctional household - which are strongly related to problems later in
    They underlie high rates of depression, use of antidepressants, obesity,
suicide attempts, substance abuse, promiscuity, many chronic diseases and
other problems.
    Findings to date reveal a powerful relationship between our emotional
experiences as children and our physical and mental health as adults, as well
as a strong link with the major causes of adult mortality in the United
States. In other words, the ACE Study documents the conversion of traumatic
emotional experiences in childhood into organic disease later in life.

For further information:

For further information: to obtain a conference program and speaker
abstracts, or to set up interviews, please contact: Rhonda Lothammer,
Institute of Health Economics, Cell: (780) 935-0382

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