Depressed students can get help with developing program

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Depression at Western”
Mar. 23, 2007

To the Editor:
I read with concern the Gazette article, “Depression at Western.” It was very timely, since a new program is currently being developed at the London Health Sciences Centre. The First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP) is being created to meet the mental health needs of the exact population on the wait list mentioned in your article.

The rate of mental health and substance abuse problems among youth aged 15-24 in Canada is 18 per cent (Kirby & Kion, 2004). Combined with the stress of being a university student, it’s no surprise the difficulties described in the article have emerged. The First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program is a clinical and research program for youth having difficulties associated with mood or anxiety symptoms. Through this program, we hope to solve the problem of long waiting lists for individuals with these symptoms at Western and in the London-Middlesex region generally.

As a first step towards this end, FEMAP is currently concentrating on research enrolment and will take into care any individual who meets criteria for a two half-day research project. The goal of the research is to help understand how and why young people get depressed so we can develop better ways of preventing and treating depression. Those who qualify will be seen by me for clinical care. They will be followed up until stable or until they find another care provider. Anyone with depression may qualify. For information, contact JoAnne at 519-685-8500, extension 34842. This is a potential treatment avenue for individuals on a wait list.

When FEMAP grows into its full clinical outreach, diagnosis and treatment program, we can address the growing number of the mental health needs of Western and London-Middlesex’s young adults. We all look forward to the day when every young person with a mental health concern receives the immediate attention needed to get back on track with the activities and joys of their lives.
"Dr. Elizabeth A. Osuch, M.D.
Rea Chair in Affective and Anxiety Disorders, University Hospital, LHSC
Associate Professor, Schulich School of Medicine

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