Depression can be treated so that people recover and maintain day-to-day functioning. Treatment comes in many forms, including counselling, individual and group therapy, medication, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and alternative medicine treatments (Institute of Health Economics, 2014). These treatments may be used individually or together.
Depression can be a major sign that a person has unmet needs and may benefit from exploring new ways of thinking, especially if they’ve become very self-critical. Depression can result from current or past life experiences or current living conditions, including housing or employment stress. Depression should not be ignored. Counselling can help a person develop the skills that will improve their current state of mind and their future resilience. Self-help organizations, run by clients of the mental health system and their families, can also be an important part of treatment and recovery for people with depression and their families (CAMH, 2012).
New treatments, such as brain stimulation therapy, and alternative therapies, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), show positive results, especially for people who have histories of unsuccessful treatments (Lam et al., 2016). However, these new treatments are not yet widely available, are difficult to gain access to and may not be covered by provincial health care plans.
A person’s treatment plan is based on the nature and severity of the depression (e.g., ECT is an only an option for severe depression), past responses to treatment and their personal and family’s preferences.