Problem description

Almost everyone feels sad or "depressed" at certain times. Clinical depression (also called Major Depressive Disorder) is confirmed by the presence of a number of symptoms for at least a two-week period. These symptoms include sadness, loss of interest in usual activities, changes in appetite, changes in sleep, changes in sexual desire, difficulties in concentration, a decrease in activities or social withdrawal, increased self- criticism or reproach, and thoughts of, or actual plans related to suicide. Clinical depression may vary in its severity, and in its extreme forms, can be life threatening and may require hospitalization.

Services available

Consultation is provided regarding diagnosis and treatment. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral and Experiential Therapy are provided in group and individual formats. There is no cost to this service.  In addition, those waiting for service can receive access to our website ( for helpful tips on coping with depression.

Description of services and treatment

Research shows that psychological treatments are effective for persons with depression.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy is offered in group (10 weeks) and individual (2-10 session) formats. This approach teaches people to improve upon activity levels, and recognize and change self-critical and negative thoughts, which in turn improves their mood (all sites).

Interpersonal, Experiential, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is offered individually (2-10 sessions) and/or in group classes (Managing Difficult Emotions) to teach people to increase their awareness and expression of feelings, and improve upon their relationships with others, which in turn improves their mood (all sites).

A combination of these approaches is offered for women experiencing depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Services are also offered for depression secondary to miscarriage or termination of a pregnancy, or due to loss related to still birth or neonatal death. Referrals are accepted during pregnancy up to the 6-months postpartum timeframe.

Key Provider(s)

Drs. Valerie Krysanski/Darren Neufeld
Victoria General Hospital

Drs. Phoenix Gillis/Jo Unger
Grace Hospital

Drs. Maggie Penfold/Norah Vincent
Health Sciences Centre


Health Sciences Centre
Phone: 787-7424
Fax: 787-3755


Groups are offered several times per year and Individual therapy is offered year-round. This varies depending upon available staff resources.

Referral process
Referrals from health-care professionals are requested. An initial interview is conducted prior to the group in order to determine appropriateness of services.

Link to other resources
Canadian Psychological Association fact sheets on effectiveness of psychological treatments:

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