Recovering from depression with Dr. Corneau

Dr. Ivelia Comeau is going through the statistics about depression. They are, to her, startling, and are part of the reason she will be administering a 10-week Depression Recovery Program at Hope Church in Wilton.

“In men, one out of four get depression,” she said. “It used to be one out of eight.

“In the U.S. and Canada, one out of four high school girls.”

She continues, saying 350 million people worldwide suffer depression, and it is the leading cause of disability. More than 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from it and the surgeon general has deemed it a major epidemic.

The impact that depression has on individuals is equally startling.

“It raises your risk of stroke by 50%,” she said. “It increases your risk of cardiac death by two and a half times. It increases the risk of heart disease in men.

“It’s the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S.”

There are more numbers, and she shakes her head at the thought of what depression does to people.

The Depression Recovery Program, beginning on Monday, Sept. 23, was developed by Dr. Neil Nedley. According to Dr. Nedley’s website, he is “a full-time practicing physician in Internal Medicine with emphasis in Gastroenterology, Mental Health, Lifestyle Medicine, and the difficult-to-diagnose patient.”

The classes last two hours, and cover topics stretching from identifying depression and its causes to nutrition for the brain and how to improve brain function.

Positive thinking and lifestyle choices, along with addressing stress, will be a part of the program.

Originally from “the middle of Long Island,” as she puts it, Dr. Comeau, who is known as Dr. C., moved to Wilton with her husband. She was driven to present Dr. Nedley’s program, and Hope Church, which Dr. C attends, felt it was something they would like to host.

Each attendee will receive a bag of useful items, including Dr. Nedley’s books, a DVD of his presentations, and an exercise workbook.

While one wouldn’t necessarily think of food in association with depression, Dr. Nedley believes in eating for optimal brain function. As such, cooking demonstrations will take place, along with participants receiving free food.

Many more items are included for those who attend, and they are listed on the website at

Dr. C says medication is not the answer.

“The FDA in the UK says: ‘No anti-depressant is recommended for the initial treatment of mild depression,’” she said.

According to Dr. C, Dr. Nedley’s program is 90% successful. She said she first heard of his program on the radio. As a counselor, she reached out to him and took the necessary training to learn how to facilitate the program.

“Most people think you go on medication and there’s nothing you can do,” she said. “People don’t know about this.”

Morning and evening classes are available.

“I don’t want people to think this is just for depressed people,” she said. “This is really a health program. All of us have anxiety, or some kind of addiction, from time to time.”

She’d like to see people — depressed or otherwise — attend with the hope of making a change if necessary.

She’d also like to get it out to more people.

“I want people to grow and profit from it,” she said. “Your health is the most important thing.”