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Fighting depression

Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation sponsors free forum for parents

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Depression can impact kids and teenagers anywhere, not just in our own backyards – that’s why Whistler’s Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation is sponsoring a free forum for parents in Vancouver.

The Foundation has teamed up with B.C. Mental Health and Addiction Services and the B.C. Children’s Hospital to host “Depression … living and winning.” The event will feature a panel of local and international experts on childhood and adolescent depression, offering critical insights into the issues for parents.

They will offer information on causes, signs and symptoms of depression in children and teens, the roles family, friends, prescription drugs and counseling can play, and where parents can turn for help to cope with this disease.

Scheduled speakers include Dr. Jane Garland, a psychiatrist at the B.C. Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Allan Young, psychiatrist and chair of depression research at the UBC Institute of Mental Health.

There will also be a discussion period held after formal presentations.

According to Dr. Garland, depression is caused by many factors, including genetic predisposition; the effects of loss, trauma and abuse; chronic stress; family problems; or medical illness, and can have negative effects on children’s physical health, academic achievement and social development.

While one in five teens experiences at least one episode of depression by the end of their teenage years, 25 to 50 per cent of cases go undiagnosed.

The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation was formed in 2001 by Whistler residents Ginny and Kerry Dennehy, after their 17-year-old son, Kelty, took his own life following a battle with depression.

“Although his family, friends and doctors couldn’t save Kelty, we now have a mission through our Foundation to save others suffering from depression,” Ginny Dennehy said in a press release.

“The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation aims to help remove the stigma and ignorance associated with mental disease through education, treatment and research.”

Since its inception, the Foundation has raised a total of $2.44 million from their annual Drive FORE Life golf events, the Kelty Circle, and other donations.

With those funds, they have helped establish a new mental health building at the B.C. Children’s Hospital, set up a Chair in Depression Research at UBC, supported the Kelty Resource Centre at the B.C. Children’s Hospital, and launched a multi-year depression research study with UBC.

They’ve also launched a number of local initiatives within Whistler, which includes awareness campaigns and screening for depression at local high schools.

The event will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Chan Auditorium and Chieng Atrium at the Child and Family Research Institute at the B.C. Children’s Hospital.

Anyone interested in attending should RSVP through the Foundations website, www.thekeltyfoundation.org.

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