'Depression Confessions' offering hope for the holidays

By Sheldon Spackman
December 29, 2017 - 7:38am Updated: December 29, 2017 - 8:36am

While many of us enjoy time with family and friends celebrating the holiday season, many others are struggling through depression.

Mental health and wellness is a growing concern in our society but thankfully it’s becoming more and more common to talk about it.

One example of that is an event taking place in Vancouver December 29 called ‘The Depression Confessions,' a one-day consortium to be streamed live online for anyone to access and aimed at helping people recover from depression, addiction and other mental health and wellness issues.

The event features six presenters, including Nova Brinsky from Red Deer, a local hockey mom and depression survivor herself. Brinsky says the consortium is simply made up of people who care and want to bring more awareness, understanding and positive solutions for those struggling with mental health.

“We’re discussing life coaching, we’re discussing personal experiences,” says Brinsky. “We have Andrew Feldmar, he’s a renowned psychiatrist who has been in practice in Vancouver for a long time and brings a wealth of information to the event, so we’re very lucky to have him. We also have myself presenting with my story, Barry Samson presenting, Dan Barraclough is a life coach as well. He has never struggled with it personally but this is a job that he does for completely different reasons than the rest of us, so it’s very exciting. I’m really excited to be a part of this because it is so difficult to talk about.”

Other presenters include Candace Plattor – an addictions therapist and internationally renowned author, and Alnoor Kassam – international businessman and suicide survivor.

Brinsky says they plan to do similar events in Alberta in 2018.

“We’ll be coming through Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, so we’re hoping to gather steam and just touch as many people as we can,” explains Brinsky. “I know when I was going through my struggles, there was an element of ‘I’m tough, I’m strong and I’m stubborn and I’m going to get through this.' Nobody told me it was okay to ask for help or even look for it, so by the time I realized that I needed help, it was already at that desperation level. So we’re hoping to just reach out to people who are suffering, who know people who are suffering and just give them another option.”

Brinsky points out, “It’s normal for people to have struggles and it’s normal to have help, so if we can at least bring a little bit of comfort to people knowing that there are other people out there that have suffered and been through this and it’s not deadly and you can come out the other side, that’s really what it is for me.”

Although Brinsky feels mental health supports are everywhere, she acknowledges accessibility is an issue.

“If you’ve got internet service and you can’t make it to the event personally, you can even just stream it. Plus, it’s the privacy of your own home,” says Brinsky. “If you’re one of these people who is a little bit nervous about reaching out or admitting or where to look for help, the supports are there. It’s such an under-discussed topic. Everybody tip-toes around it because it’s not talked about enough.”

“The most important thing is, we as a society, we’re so programmed to just leave everybody to their lives and every single one of us that’s in this, is so passionate about helping other people,” explains Brinsky. “Nobody’s getting paid to do this. This is something that we all feel highly motivated and compelled to do almost, like it’s our duty to share it. So I think if it’s something that anybody is curious about, we have zero motivations other than helping people get the help that they need and provide another option.”

The Depression Confessions will begin streaming live starting at 3 p.m. (MST) December 29 and can be accessed at www.depressionconfessions.org.

Brinsky says presenters will take a supper break around 5 p.m., then resume the event for their evening session which will include a chance for listeners to participate and ask questions of the presenters.

The event will be streamed live online until 11 p.m.

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