Dr. Ted Jablonski and SAD No More Tour visit Durham College

Dr. Ted Jablonski, family physician, speaks to Durham College students, faculty and staff about seasonal affective disorder as part of Mental Health Awareness Day for Students, which took place on campus on October 25.

November 2, 2010

Durham College welcomed Dr. Ted Jablonski, family physician and creator of the SAD No More Tour, to campus last week as part of Mental Health Awareness Day for Students. The day promoted the importance of mental health and the support available to students on campus and within the local community.

Dr. Jablonski spoke to students, faculty and staff about seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and its impact on individuals living in Canada. A sufferer of SAD, he is running and cycling across Canada to raise awareness about effectively managing the disorder.

“Getting diagnosed then treated was the hardest and best decision I have ever made,” said Dr. Jablonski. “It is time to come out of the mental illness closet.”

Running about 10 km each morning and then cycling for about six to seven hours a day after that, Dr. Jablonski has taken three months off of his medical practice to educate Canadians experiencing symptoms of SAD about the importance of seeking help, getting diagnosed and receiving treatment.

Known as winter depression or blues, SAD is a mental health disorder that consists of major recurrent depressive episodes that take place in the fall and winter with remission in the spring and summer.

Symptoms include hopelessness, crying spells, anxiety, irritability, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, loss of interest in usual enjoyable activities, appetite changes, weight gain and difficulties with concentrating and processing information.

Dr. Jablonski talked about the ways SAD can be managed using methods such as lifestyle changes (e.g. increased exposure to light, a well-balanced diet and regular exercise), light therapy, counselling and anti-depressants.

In addition to hearing his presentation, attendees had the opportunity to view various educational displays related to mental health created by the college’s many community service providers.

Dr. Jablonski began his tour in Victoria, B.C. on August 1 and will end his journey on Wednesday, November 3 in Calgary, Alta.