Long-Term Disability Series: Depression’s Impact On Life & Work – The Importance of Disability Insurance Benefits

Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP – Personal Injury Law – Accident Benefits

Many of my clients suffer from the effects of depression, often preventing them to return to work and/or to previously held positions, and have unfortunately been denied long term disability benefits. I find that not everyone understands or accepts the debilitating effects of a condition they cannot see, including employers who may be concerned about their bottom line and lost productivity. Receiving disability benefits when grappling with depression is crucial to ensuring a potentially speedier recovery.

More than a momentary feeling of sadness, depression is a mood disorder which results in persistent and prolonged feelings of loss, emptiness, disinterest and despair. The Mayo Clinic explains that depression “affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.”[1]

Health Canada estimates that about 11 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women in Canada will experience depression in the course of their lives,[2] and a 2012 Statistics Canada study on Mental Health found 11.3 per cent of the population over the age of 15 reported symptoms that met the criteria for depression over their lifetime.[3] Clearly, depression is common, if not nearly as visible as other types of health issues.

Thankfully, there are numerous treatments available to minimize the negative effects of depression including anti-depressive medications, counselling (“talk therapy”), psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), alternative treatments including meditation, yoga and light therapy, and lifestyle changes regarding diet and exercise.

Finding a treatment that works well for you can take time and some trial and error. Moreover, some treatments do result in side-effects which, like depression itself, can make it difficult to work or perform job duties as you would otherwise. Employee assistance programs, options for short or long-term disability leave, and support groups run by organizations like the Canadian Association for Mental Health may help you manage this condition and your recovery.

Although campaigns to educate and reduce social stigma about mood disorders among the general public have made great strides (for example, the Bell Canada Let’s Talk Campaign[4]), there is still much work to be done.

I will review Fibromyalgia / chronic pain and its effects in my next blog post.

For more information or to speak about a denial of short term disability or long term disability claims, please contact personal injury lawyer Brad Moscato at 416-646-7655 or bmoscato@hshlawyers.com.

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/definition/con-20032977

[2] http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/depression-eng.php

[3] http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cd-mc/mi-mm/depression-eng.php

[4] http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

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