While there is still some stigma attached to mental illness, and depression is sometimes not considered a “real” illness, help is available for Canadian citizens who experience severe mood swings or have been diagnosed with clinical depression. In addition to a wide range of services available through clinical and social service agencies, individuals may qualify for assistance under disability guidelines.
The Canada Revenue Agency has ruled that depression can be considered a disability if it results in the “marked restriction” of one or more aspects of normal life for a period of 12 months or more.
Is Depression Considered a Disability in Canada?
Claiming medical disability in Canada can be confusing, and there are specific rules and regulations to be followed. However, the simple answer is that a diagnosis of clinical depression is considered disabling under broad, well-defined guidelines and circumstances.
Eligibility is determined not on the basis of specific effects, but by applying the test of disruption of normal activity for a specified length of time. Any inability to earn a living or live independently, disruption of family life, excessive time lost from school or work, hospitalization or long-term confinement, or associated physical effects and chronic impairments may all be used to verify the claim and the need for financial assistance in the form of tax relief. The time frame is essentially the same as that for claiming physical disability under Canadian law.
Depression Disability Assistance
There are numerous causes of depression, and symptoms vary from one individual to another. Depression affects women at a ratio of about 2:1 over men, but more than 12 percent of the Canadian population is estimated to have met criteria for diagnosis of major depression over the course of a lifetime. Common symptoms include:
- Feelings of loss or extreme anxiety
- Withdrawal from normal activities and associations
- Lack of interest in sex
- Diminished motivation
- Thoughts of suicide
Depression can also cause physical ailments, including headache, muscle or joint pain, stomach upset, sleeplessness, loss of appetite or weight loss. Severe depression is also a prime cause of suicide, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for the age group between 15 and 24, according to sobering statistics.
While mental illness can be every bit as difficult as physical illness, medical treatment is now widely available. Seek such medical advice and treatment as early as possible. The medical community and social services agencies in Canada are increasingly committed to expanding public awareness of and assistance for mood disorders and emotional upsets.
The Canadian Disability Tax Credit offers a sort of financial safety net for individuals and families affected by depressive behavior, and should be investigated by anyone who suffers from debilitating or recurring depression. Additional forms of assistance are also available to Canadian citizens. New treatments and drug options are always under development. Referrals can be made to various agencies and counseling groups for support and assistance, and expanded aid programs are available for family members and children.
If you suffer from clinical depression, and need assistance with options to benefit yourself or your family, do not hesitate to call for assistance.