Okanagan Panorama

Monday, 06 April 2015 06:31

The Stigma of Depression

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Penticton Defeat Depression Walk

The Stigma of Depression


A recent posting to Facebook from a colleague has resonated with me and I thought I would share it with everyone. Depression and mental illness affects all of us whether it be at work, home or business.

He wrote “The coverage German Wings tragedy is bothering me. The co-pilot had mental health issues, but he hid them, However all sorts of so-called “experts” are now on various news broadcasts discussing testing and screening and how this all could have possibly been averted. My fear is that for those who are troubled by Anxiety and Depression and have not come forward to acknowledge it and seek treatment and information to deal with their Mental Illness, will instead be driven further into shame and silence.”

My response was as follows:

People choosing to be driven into shame & silence, is one scenario that some may undertake. Another scenario is that horrific scenarios such as this can have some benefits if people look for the lessons to be learned. According to the media, this individual had mental health issues. If we scratch deep enough, probably every one of us has mental health “issues.” Some people are better at working through them or resolving them than others. This negative media coverage can have a positive message if we choose to see it. Mental health problems do exist. Having them doesn’t make us mentally deficient or substandard in any way. Perhaps it makes us more normal, if there is such a word that applies to mental health.

I have worked with hundreds & hundreds of mental health clients suffering from depression & anxiety. “Suffering” is an apt word as they certainly do. I have worked with many suicidal clients as well over the years. My professional colleagues & I have helped to save countless lives, helping people move through their depression & despair. Not everyone is able to move on though.

Perhaps the lesson here is for all of us to be aware of the symptoms of suicidal ideation and what to do about it if we discover it. Psychiatric first aid if you will.

I think that we may find something else as the media and so-called experts did deeper. This appears to be a very angry man who chose to take his life and a large number of innocent victims with him. From my perspective, poor anger management skills, compounded by the blanket of depression, made for a tragic news story. While everybody is pushing for more stringent mental health screening, perhaps psychological testing for antisocial tendencies may be of more value.

On the local front volunteers in the South Okanagan Similkameen have created a great opportunity to help break down the barrier of stigma, which is so often associated with mental illness, and get people talking about their mental well-being. Join them on May 9, 2015 when they will be following the elephant in downtown Penticton.

Join them in creating a caring community to support a person recovering from a mental illness.

Take part by signing up online at http://mdsc.akaraisin.com/pentictondd2015http://mdsc.akaraisin.com/pentictondd2015 to create and personalize your own fundraising profile page or make a donation. All donations over $25 receive a tax receipt. 

“As family members, we are dedicated to creating a caring community when a person has a mental illness. The Mental Wellness Centre wants to help those in the South Okanagan Similkameen who struggle with their mental health and those who care about them to share their stories and open the lines of communication so that both feel comfortable asking for help and reaching out”. 
Their goal is to raise $3,000 or more!

More information needed? Call 250-493-7338 or email

Here are some startling facts about stigma and mental illness for your consideration.

  • Public stigma & discrimination undermines the opportunities a person with mental illness is afforded.
  • There is value in incorporating mental health check-ups into medical check-ups.
  • In Canada, about two-thirds of those diagnosed with mental illness don’t seek help.
  • To move away from stigma we need to treat individuals with mental health issues as individuals, not problems themselves.
  • Different mental illnesses have different stigmas. Kinds of stigma vary depending on the kind of provider.
  • The economic burden of mental disorders in Canada has been estimated at $51 billion per year with almost $20 billion of that coming from workplace losses.
  • Perceptions of violence & fear still taint the image of recovery & perpetuate stigmatizing attitudes & discrimination.

Keep the conversation going …


Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 27+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the personal/professional self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.


Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books, paperbacks and on-line courses:


Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro

52 Power Networking Tips: 52 Power Networking Tips: How to Network Like a Pro

PROtect Yourself Now!PROtect Yourself Now! Violence Prevention for Healthcare Workers

The Savvy EmceeThe Savvy Emcee: How to be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

You're Hired! Job Search Strategies That WorkYou're Hired! Job Search Strategies That Work: Available as an easily downloadable e-book or as an on-line e-course.

You're Hired! Resume Tactics:You're Hired! Resume Tactics: Job Search Strategies That Work

Job Interview PreparationJob Interview Preparation: Job Search Strategies That Work

Leveraging Your NetworkLeveraging Your Network: Job Search Strategies That Work

You're Hired! Power Tactics: You're Hired! Power Tactics: Job Search Strategies That Work

You're Hired! Job Searching Success Tips ListYou're Hired! Job Searching Success Tips List

Working With Words:Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations

Blow Your Own Horn! Blow Your Own Horn! Personal Branding for Business Professionals

Make it Safe!Make it Safe! A Family Caregiver's Home Safety Assessment Guide for Supporting Elders@Home


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or info@raestonehouse.com

Rae’s social … are you?

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RaeStonehousehttp://twitter.com/RaeStonehouse

Linkedin? Rae is http://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehousehttp://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehouse

Copyright 2018- 2021 Rae A. Stonehouse.

The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.


To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at https://raestonehouse.com.