Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 20, 2006
Archbishop discusses battle with clinical depression on TV
Archbishop Raymond Roussin
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Vancouver Archbishop Raymond Roussin has given a candid interview to Salt and Light Television about his battle with clinical depression.
The interview airs Thursday, Nov. 23 and again on Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. (MST) on the Catholic Focus program.
"There's this popular notion that happiness is always proportional to closeness with God," said Catholic Focus host and associate producer Kris Dmytrenko.
"So when a Christian admits depression, he worries others assume he isn't praying regularly or he doesn't appreciate his salvation. Worse still, perhaps others will see his depression as evidence that religion is useless. If faithful, accomplished leaders like Archbishop Roussin didn't confront these myths, they would continue unabated."
Roussin took a leave of absence late last year after being diagnosed with clinical depression. In the Catholic Focus interview, he admitted there were risks in going public.
"Bearing the title of archbishop, there are a lot of expectations placed on the title, on the person. This I knew, that by making it public, some people might be scandalized, and they probably were," Roussin said.
Where are you God?
"My faith was deeply tried. Throughout this whole time I kept trying to pray. And by trying to pray, you are praying, but to me it was dark. . 'Where are you my God?'" he said.
Roussin said that in the midst of his journey through depression he received countless letters of support.
"When Christ says it is when you are weak, I am strongest. And this is what has happened with all the letters I received," he said.
Dmytrenko hopes the Catholic Focus segment, entitled Bringing Depression to Light, will raise awareness about the 1.5 million Canadians who battle depression. "The affliction has shaken our families and churches, demonstrating that simply practising your faith does not make you immune," he said.
"While working in campus ministry, I began to see that depression was an epidemic," he said. "But it was like a big secret. No university student wants to admit that they can't fulfill what is expected of them - that they function optimally in their responsibilities and relationships, all the time."
Salt + Light Television is available by subscription on Bell ExpressVu satellite channel 654, Rogers Digital channel 395, Cogeco Digital channel 185 and Videotron Illico Digital channel 242.