Am I Losing my Mind?

He lost weight from his already lean frame; he lost his typical good nature and became irritable; he stopped spending time with his friends.

Collin McLeod was a dedicated transit employee in Ontario. Married with three children, he balanced his work and home life with few, if any, problems.

He started struggling when his nine-month-old daughter’s health problems (including cerebral palsy and seizure disorder) tipped the scales. The added juggling of care at home and at the hospital along with his work and other family duties became too much. He lost weight from his already lean frame; he lost his typical good nature and became irritable; he stopped spending time with his friends. Then he started to miss work, using up all his sick days and parental leave. Finally, he went to his doctor who diagnosed depression.

McLeod’s experience is consistent with the growing concern about mental illness. In a 2005 report, the World Health Organization predicted depression will be the second largest health burden by 2020 (second only to heart disease). Other mental health concerns in the report include bipolar disorder (previously referred to as manic depression), obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and post traumatic stress. If you work in a team with four other people, odds are one of you will receive treatment for a mental health concern at some time in your life. His figure becomes especially startling when you consider that researchers estimate that only one-quarter of people with a mental health concern seek treatment.

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