The Winter Update and News from
Mood Disorders Society of Canada
It is now December, and we have all experienced a very hard and unexpected year from any we have lived through before. We have all witnessed unfair tragedies and hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are still facing more months of battling this virus, and while by working together we can reduce its impact, there is just no getting around how it has negatively affected virtually all of us.

We wish to begin our winter newsletter with our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to all of the families who have lost a loved one during this health crisis. As a mental health organization, and as individuals with families, we know how painful these times are for you. For those who have had family members and friends contract the virus, our thoughts and well wishes are being sent to you as you battle your way through this very hard time.  

There is clearly connectivity between our mental and physical wellness/ illness. Canadians who may not have understood this previously, are now much fully aware of how, while the virus itself attacks us physically, the direct impact it is having on our individual and collective mental health is significant. COVID has changed our way of daily living, it has robbed us of our sense of security and safety, it has erased our understanding of normal daily routines, and it has forced us to change our comprehension and trust in previously established schedules and timelines. Many of these new realities we are now forced to accept goes against the trusted things we have always depended upon. It really does not seem to be “fair” at all. Nonetheless, it is what we are now dealing with. We need to accept these even if we don’t like them.  

Similarly, when you are impacted by mental illness, there is no “timeline” for the recovery process. Mental illness operates on its own schedule. It changes our daily lives, and can remove our own sense of security. While we want it to go away and leave us alone, it often won’t until it decides to. No… is not fair at all.

The new reality is the mental health symptoms we are experiencing are as a result of living in a world with COVID-19 all around us. Levels of stress and anxiety are now higher then ever before. Depression rates have risen. Our sleep is disturbed, relationships are sometimes strained, work and school is feeling less enjoyable for many because of the forced isolation and changes necessary to remain safe. People are experiencing physical issues such as sore jaws, (from grinding of teeth due to stress reactions), substance abuse patterns are rising, and issues such as loneliness are impeding our wellness.  

In previous years, the holiday season was focused on bringing family and friends together and reflecting on our many blessings. This year will be different. We will need to muster all of our patience, empathy and community mindfulness to do things a little differently this season. What we have learned from the past 10 months is through our need for socially physical distancing has forced us all to realize what is truly important in all our lives. We have seen neighbours and families looking out for each other, and random acts of kindness for others, along with gratitude to those who were on the frontlines looking after all of us.

Yes it has been a challenging year, we ALL feel it. We need to stay the course and work together to find our way back to a healthier world – both mentally and physically.

MDSC and many other mental health organizations and stakeholders have been working diligently to create new support programs and new resources to address the mental health crisis caused by the virus. Please take advantage of these resources by Clicking Here

A special thank you goes out to our incredible national sponsors for their continued help for our efforts. As well, the generosity of Canadians in donating to our organization. Without your support we would not be able to continue to provide the level of care we do.

Please stay healthy and stay safe.

Dave Gallson
National Executive Director
Mood Disorders Society of Canada

Send a Loved One a Special Gift
MDSC is offering, for a limited time, the ability for you to send a thoughtful card to your family member and/or friends, while supporting mental health. MDSC’s Care Cards are available online and we thank you for your donation.  

Please click here for more details! 
Caring For Your Mental Health during Covid-19
We continue to develop new resources that support your mental health needs related to the pandemic - all are free and are downloadable resources. Our most recent resource is called: Working from Home. You can find it here . In case you missed it, we also created a comprehensive list of links to key resources from a wide array of government and stakeholders organizations. These tools are for your use, please access and use them to help you through this time. Share with colleagues, family and friends.

Join the Discussion!
Mood Disorder Society of Canada's Peer Support Discussion Forum continues to be a way of bringing people together online, who share a common concern, interest, or issue. By joining the Forum you can ask questions, read about how others are living with and managing mood disorders, connect with people by sharing your experience and offering you support — all from the privacy, and comfort of your own home and on your schedule. The contents are anonymous.

We are proud to announce our 2020 award winners
Thank You to all of those who answered our call for nominations for our two annual national awards! The Mood Disorders Society of Canada’s Board of Directors has selected the following two candidates from the many nominations received, as the 2020 recipients:

The 2020 Marg Starzynski
Mental Health Leadership Award

The 2020 Jordan James Pickell Award
With over 2.7 million visitors to our website, (500 visitors a day), MDSC’s is a very valuable free resource for persons impacted by depression, as well as their families, caregivers and health care providers. Offering information in four languages, this website has in-depth information, tools and supports. 

We are pleased to announce that we are working on implementing new upgrades and content to the website and resources. We will be including important research and knowledge, feature key information for ensuring Canadians have access to the best therapies and programs. The revised site will feature Lived Experience content and testimonials, as well as supports, tools and resources for a coordinated approach to mental wellness. Please stay tuned for more information over the next short while.

Please visit the today and share with family and friends.

MDSC NYAC finds itself amidst an exciting phase of growth. Since August, they have accepted a new internal council representative from the University of British Columbia, welcomed a peer support consultant and two equity advisors. They are in the process of developing new council sub-committees so in their expansion they will have specifically dedicated teams for marketing and social media, resource development, event planning, and research.
This September, NYAC released an online peer support video series for students focusing in particular, on online learning, digital self-care, strategies to cope with Covid19 and health anxiety, setting boundaries, and accessing support. The council also created and distributed a national youth resource booklet with support services in each of the provinces.

Over Mental Illness Awareness week in October, the NYAC hosted an online auction in partnership with local independent businesses from around the country. As their first-ever fundraiser, the team considered the event a success! They expanded their network of professional connections and raised $500 in donations to put towards their future initiatives. The council also launched a redbubble shop to raise mental health awareness and offer an opportunity for youth to feature their art online.

Looking forward, the council is excited to run an awareness and fundraising campaign “NYAC: Project Blue” during February. To battle the “winter blues” the council aims to promote the integration of physical and mental wellness practices by offering online challenges and activities over the month. The team is collaborating with various trainers, mindfulness instructors, and yoga teachers etc. to lead synchronous and asynchronous classes to encourage audience connection, education, and growth. This is particularly exciting as some of these professionals are also willing to work in partnership with the council in the launch of a new ongoing virtual physical health program beyond February.

In the New Year, the council is also planning to launch a multi-media online publication that will feature submission pieces from youth around the country to share lived experience, combat stigma, and engage audiences in meaningful conversation

The Elephant in the Room (EITR) anti-stigma campaign is an international success. Many hundreds of corporations, workplaces, health providers, agencies, government departments, colleges, universities and schools have successfully implemented and used the campaign to eliminate stigma. The campaign offers a safe place for anyone to talk about mental illness without fear.

MDSC has recently collaborated with Vale Sudbury Operations and Vale Thompson. To implement this turn-key, customizable anti-stigma campaign visit our EITR website today at; and follow us on social media. Show you are fighting the stigma by implementing the campaign today! Share your photos!

As 2020 draws to a close, we have been working diligently towards our 2021 events. We have been meeting and coordinating with caring people from across Canada to bring the Defeat Depression campaign to new communities. We look forward to being able to provide much-needed mental health support to more community partner organizations. We are closely monitoring the fight against the pandemic and we will adhere to community health guidelines in all we do. Based on the current parameters, we are excited to put in place, as we did in 2020, the ability for people to register online and to take part in the campaign virtually. Participants will set their individual fundraising goals and complete their runs, walks or other activities, in the weeks leading up to Defeat Depression Day (May 29th). They will share their photos and videos online, challenging others, and sharing their successes. On Defeat Depression Day we will be able to celebrate again a national virtual event on May 29th, 2021, as we did in May of 2020 WATCH IT HERE

Stay tuned, we will keep you informed. Our goal is to engage participants in a fun campaign that provides each participant with an outlet for maintaining their wellness while supporting local mental health programs and staying safe. 

We are welcoming new organizers for the 2021 season including organizers in Victoria BC, Vancouver BC, Red Deer AB, Bruce-Grey County ON, Newmarket ON, Brampton ON, Peterborough ON, Ottawa ON, Toronto ON, Montreal QC, and Charlottetown PEI.
If you would like to be part of an organizing committee, please contact us.

The campaign is growing, if you want to bring an event to your community and would like to be part of an organizing committee, please contact us.

Follow Defeat Depression on Social Media
Peer Support Training Online
Up until the worldwide appearance of Covid-19 the majority of our two-day peer support training was held in-class at two locations, Sharon and Ottawa within the province of Ontario. We also had a venue in Alberta for True Patriot Love funded workshops. 
Then in April 2020, Covid-19 occurred and shut our standard approach to training down.

By September of 2020, we shifted to an on-line training format and we were pleasantly surprised as to the interest and wide reach we were accomplishing. Since introducing on-line training, we have held 7 workshops and we have had participants from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and Wales. Our participants have included nurses, psychologists, police officers, EMS, fire fighters, family members and veterans in all walks of life. 
During our Belfast training, we were also humbled to have a visit by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge on-line who took a personal interest in our peer support training. We were also proud to see our very own Syd Gravel awarded with the Order of Ottawa for his many years of peer support work. 
We are presently working on translating our workshops into French, have expanded our team to include a French-speaking psychologist, and lived experienced presenters. 

We are also proud to announce that Christine Newman, our PATSS team LGBTQ2S liaison and lead facilitator will be offering our first LGBTQ2S focused on-line peer training in January 2021. 

We look forward to our new approach to training and even post-Covid-19 think that on-line and in-class will both be our new normal. 

Our 2021 Peer Support Training Workshop Schedule for the first quarter has now been established, as follows:

Project Trauma Support has continued to offer our 6 day residential program to military members, veterans and first responders who have been psychologically injured as a result of their service.
In December 2020, we will be running our 50th cohort and will have had over 500 graduates in total since the program began in 2016.
With the support of Veteran Affairs Canada-Veteran and Family Wellbeing fund we have been able to deliver the program to 96 military and RCMP veterans, completing the 3rd and final year of the grant.

We have successfully enrolled the 96 veterans into the University of Alberta study researching outcomes of the PTS program. We have also enrolled 50 serving military members into another research study being conducted by the University of Alberta. These two studies now have the full complement of participants enrolled. The preliminary results will be published in the spring and summer of 2021, and longer-term longitudinal studies will be published in the years to come.
We would like to thank:
  • The Royal Canadian Legion, individual Legion branches, to the 'Stan and Back, and Boomer's Legacy for their continued financial support, assisting serving members and veterans from the Canadian Military and RCMP to attend the PTS program. 
  • "Happy Beads", I've Got your Back 911 and the countless other organizations and individuals who have made donations that have allowed us to help first responders from across Ontario and the rest of Canada as well.
  • Bennett Tools for assistance with travel for first responders and military members/veterans from other provinces to attend the Project Trauma Support program.
Our Project Trauma Support team is so grateful for the financial assistance that allows us to serve our participants, who deserve the best for their willingness to put themselves in harm's way for the benefit of society. 

Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) is proud to partner with MOODIE; a ground-breaking, evidence-based mental health app and innovative behavioural health platform. The MOODIE App is a tool for improving mental health supports available for youth, adults, and vulnerable populations. The App is designed to increase wellness maintenance and reduce risk factors associated with the worsening of symptoms. Download the free MOODIE APP today!
We embarked on a project to learn from others who have "been there," to understand what better feels like to them. Here, ten people who had experienced depression were interviewed to answer questions such as: What is depression like? What are the signs of getting better? What helped and what didn't? and what does better feel like? Through this, we can learn from each other. Read how others learned to recover and what worked for them. Watch these insightful videos and hear their stories personally from these inspiring people. Use the maintenance guide to help you in your recovery
These stories have been submitted to us for sharing on this site. The stories are as unique as their authors. Recovery is a journey of hope that is unique to each person. We hope you find the stories helpful and inspirational

Innovi Cares
Regardless of your existing public or private health coverage, innoviCares allows you to receive the brand­name medications and healthcare products prescribed by your physician at an equal, or similar price to the generic alternative(s).

Did you know you can create a fundraiser in facebook? Click on the image above and choose "Mood Disorders Society of Canada" as the non-profit to support. If you need help email
With the COVID-19 Crisis impacting the charitable sector significantly, we are facing a crucial time. Increased demand for resource development and support provision at a time where we have seen donations drop by 52% is having a negative impact on our organization.

If you are able to support our efforts with a donation, please do, we would be greatly appreciative. Know that your donation helps us continue to offer mental health programs, develop new effective resources and maintain our wellness promotion and education activities for all Canadians.

Please make your tax-deductible charitable donation to MDSC by clicking the button below. Thank you for your support!
Additional Educational Resources
Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) was launched in 2001 to provide people with mood disorders, their families and caregivers a strong, cohesive voice at the national level on issues relating to mental health and mental illness. MDSC has evolved to become one of Canada's best-connected mental health NGOs and aims to improve access to treatment, inform research, shape program development and government policy to improve the quality of life for people affected by mood disorders. The Society fulfills its mandate through an active partnership approach that engages like-minded organizations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. MDSC is engaged on an ongoing basis in a wide range of projects and initiatives designed to support the inclusion of persons with disabling mental illnesses in Canadian society and it has taken a lead proactive role in public policy and program development in many capacities on the national stage.
We are proud to present our MDSC Organizational Profile, which highlights our programs, educational resources, national campaigns, research activities, tools and supports for Canadians. This booklet offers a comprehensive overview of how MDSC is working diligently at developing and providing effective mental health resources for all. We are especially proud of our success in collaborating with partners to reach as many people as possible.