Many of us can experience a shift in mood as we enter into the West Kootenay fall.
This October offers a unique opportunity to get ahead of the season and learn more about depression, anxiety, and risky drinking at the 17th annual Beyond the Blues: Depression Anxiety Education and Screening Day in Nelson.
This province-wide event — Wednesday, Oct. 12 at the Kootenay School of the Arts (11 am-2 pm) in Nelson — has had close to 52,000 participants since 1995.
“This particular time of year can often bring unique stresses related to work and school and weather and daylight changes can impact peoples’ ability to exercise and connect socially,” said Jonny Morris, acting director of Mental Health Promotion for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division and provincial coordinator for Beyond the Blues.
“Beyond the Blues is an ideal time to work on prevention, catch mental health problems early and connect to local help.”
Held during Mental Illness Awareness Week, Beyond the Blues is an annual awareness day to engage people to learn more about depression which affects about one in seven in a lifetime and anxiety problems which affect one in six, as well as related issues like suicide and risky drinking.
The Nelson event, organized by the IHA, features activities such as guerrilla art, free snacks and a draw for a “Wellness Basket.”
At the education and screening site, you can take part in activities to learn more about mood and anxiety problems, effective treatments, supports and self-care.
You can then fill out short self-tests on depression, anxiety and risky drinking, talk privately with a clinician about the results and next steps, and find out about resources and supports in Nelson. The event is free, anonymous, confidential and walk-in.
“Another commitment is to support people in identifying and navigating community supports that might offer help. We want Beyond the Blues participants to leave feeling empowered, better informed, hopeful, and supported,” said Karen Miller from Interior Health.
There are specially-tailored screening forms available for adults, seniors, youth, new or expectant mothers, and people who are concerned about a friend or family member.
Brief risky drinking screens also help people see the links between their alcohol use, possible harms, and impacts on their mental well-being.