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Interviewee, Health Technology Assessment – Physical Activity and Support Program for Depressive Disorders or People who Experience Depression

Posted • Last updated


Commitment: Short-term

Connection method: Virtual

Open to Provincial Region

Last updated

Volunteer Opportunity
Regular physical activity is proven to benefit people who experience depression. BC’s Ministry of Health is investigating whether evidence-based group physical activity programs might provide support to eligible patients in the province. Our team wants to hear from people with depression, or their family members, about how group physical activity programs have – or could – work for you.


Lead Organization/Department
Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation

Health Technology Review (HTR) is a joint Ministry of Health and Health Authority process used to provide evidence-informed recommendations about which new non-drug health technologies (tools, devices, diagnostics, treatments and procedures) should be publicly provided in the province. A decision has been made to look at the costs and benefits of evidence-based, group-based, time-limited physical activity support programs for the treatment of mild to moderate depressive disorders.

Through this engagement we hope to gain a fuller understanding of the outcomes that are important to patients with clinically diagnosed depression, as well as their perceptions of and experiences with the role of physical activity in managing their illness symptoms. Family members and caregivers of those with depression are also welcome to participate, as their perspectives also provide important information. This knowledge will contribute to evaluation of the clinical literature and current health funding policies in this area using a patient- and family-centred perspective.

Level of Engagement
This opportunity is at the level of consult on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will listen to and acknowledge your ideas and concerns, and provide feedback on how your input affected the decision.

Open to patient partners across the province who:
• Are 19 years of age or older
• Reside in BC
• Have been diagnosed with depression, or a family member/care giver who has supported someone experiencing a clinically diagnosed depression (ideally, but not necessarily, within the last 5 years).
• Are comfortable to participate in one-to-one telephone or electronic (e.g., Zoom, Skype) conversations about their illness experiences

If you have a strong interest in this work but have not yet completed a PVN orientation and Patient Partner Commitments, are unsure if your experience is a good fit or feel another format of engagement would work better with your availability, please contact Cassy Mitchell.

• Number of vacancies:  4-6
• Date and Time: Interviews will take place between February 15 and March 7th, 2022. The time will be arranged at the patient partner’s convenience, and can include evenings or weekends, if preferred. The interview should take approximately 20-30 minutes. Questions will be provided at least 48 hours in advance, although participants are not expected or required to do advance preparation for the interview.
• Location: By phone or a virtual meeting e.g., Zoom or Skype (dependent on the patient partners personal preference).
• Commitment: One time

No out of pocket expenses are anticipated for this engagement opportunity. However, if you meet the eligibility criteria, but have concerns about your ability to participate, please contact Cassy Mitchell to see if support options are available. We are always seeking to better understand and reduce barriers to participation.

Major Depressive Disorders (MDD) are the most common of the mood disorders in the province, affecting approximately 400,000 British Columbians each year. Mood disorders are characterized as the lowering (or elevation) of the person’s mood, which has a significant impact on the individual’s daily life, ranging from acute episodes to chronic disorders. Onset typically occurs between the late 20s and early 30s. The majority of initial episodes are characterized by mild symptoms with a median duration of 12 to 20 weeks; then, on average, 43% to 50% of MDD patients experience a recurrence during their lifetime. Recurrent patients experience five to nine separate episodes, on average. The median time to recurrence is approximately six years.

Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of depressive episodes as well as improve depressive symptoms. Further, the use of physical activity as a treatment intervention for depression has shown comparable rates of response and remission to antidepressants. To help patients incorporate and maintain regular physical activity as a part of their treatment pathway, group medical visit programs have been designed and include a physical activity component, medication/treatment monitoring, patient education, coaching, social support, goal setting and motivation for improving person’s self-perception.

These elements have been combined within a program which has been trialled in British Columbia, called Jump Step. Jump Step is designed as a 2 hour, once weekly, 10-week physical activity program, designed to help patients set personal goals, breakthrough barriers to exercise and improve mood while working towards achieving health goals. It has been delivered in-person, but virtual options are being explored. The target population for Jump Step at this time are patients with mild and moderate episodes.

We are looking to hear from people who have been part of –or who would have interest in — organized, time-limited, group-based physical activity programs like this as a way of coping with and addressing symptoms of depression.

All information provided from the interviews is confidential and will only be reported in a summary form. Interviews will not be recorded and participants will be free to pause, or end, the interview at any time.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Cassy Mitchell
Engagement Leader, Patient and Public Engagement | Provincial

From Our Community

Laura Klein

Clinical Practice Consultant in Fraser Health

Laura Klein

Seeking the patient perspective doesn’t have to be complicated; it simply entails a commitment to ask and listen. Patient advisors not only bring a valuable perspective but also share original ideas and unique skills. Including the patient and family perspective changes the conversation and aligns the team’s focus towards common goals.