Supported Self-Management of Psychological Health Problems

This program of work aims to enhance the capacity of the Canadian mental health system to disseminate and support self-management of mental and psychological health problems. This has involved:

1. The co-development of 4 self-management workbooks: Antidepressant Skills Workbook, Antidepressant Skills@Work, Dealing with Depression (for Adolescents), and Positive Coping with Health Conditions. These workbooks present practical self-management skills in a step-by-step manner. Each of these workbooks is available from for free download or inexpensive hardcopy from the Carmha website. These workbooks are also being disseminated through health services in Alberta, Québec and Ontario.

2. Training of healthcare providers to encourage and coach self-management skills. Approximately 1000 family physicians have been trained in methods for supporting their patient in application of the self-management skills, mainly via collaboration with the British Columbia Practice Support Program.

Some of the most important skills taught in these workbooks are:

  1. Reactivating your life. When they are depressed, most people don't do the things that would normally keep their mood positive. But if you stop taking care of yourself or doing the things you normally like, this can maintain a depression and make it worse. This skill involves setting specific and achievable goals and then putting them into practice in a gradual way that is likely to be successful.
  2. Problem-solving. As people get depressed their ability to solve problems may decline – they're less able to estimate the severity of the problem, come up with different solutions or plan a course of action. This skill shows you how to systematically tackle problems, taking you through the steps of effective problem solving towards a realistic action plan.
  3. Realistic thinking. Depressed people often have a negatively distorted way of thinking that can trigger or worsen the experience of depression. Depressive thinking includes unrealistic and unfair negative thoughts about your situation, yourself and your future. This skill shows you how to identify and challenge depressive thinking, then to gradually replace it with realistic thinking that is accurate, fair and helpful.



Provincial Health Services Authority

Contact Info:

Dan Bilsker (