Coast Capital Savings Credit Union

Coast Capital Savings Credit Union

June 19, 2008 19:05 ET

Coast Capital CEO Recognized in U.S. For Leadership in Fighting Depression

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 19, 2008) - Coast Capital Savings president and CEO Lloyd Craig has been recognized in the U.S. for his longstanding commitment and work to combat depression and address mental health issues in the Canadian workplace.

Craig shares the award, from the U.S.-based National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) and the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation, with his wife Heather. The husband and wife team has been active in creating awareness on the issue and raising funds for depression research while serving as co-chairs of the B.C. Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health.

The honour also recognizes Coast Capital Savings for its organizational leadership on the issue of employee depression.

"We share this award with everyone in the Canadian business community who has been part of the effort to bring industry, government and academia together to tackle mental health and depression," Craig said. "While much remains to be done, a lot has been accomplished in Canada in terms of moving depression higher up the national agenda."

NARSAD is the world's largest charity dedicated to mental health research. It was founded in 1986 to support top psychiatric research scientists across the globe with funding needed to accelerate scientific progress, find better treatments and eventually cures for major mental illness. NARSAD has awarded more than $219 million in research grants to more than 2,500 scientists at 418 universities (including UBC), institutes and teaching hospitals in the U.S., and in 26 other countries.

The NARSAD award cites the Craigs' "exemplary efforts on behalf of those living with mental illness," which helped fund a Chair in Depression Research and an Institute of Mental Health at the University of British Columbia.

Half a million British Columbians will suffer from depression this year. Within the North American labour force, mental health problems are driving disability rates up and represent a significant business cost. Studies show depression is the leading source of disability in the world and as a percentage of the burden of disease, it is growing faster in the global population than cardiovascular disorders, yet it remains largely under-researched, detected, diagnosed or treated.

"In addition to the terrible human toll that we can't even begin to quantify, depression, on average, takes an employee off the job for 40 days," Craig said. "We know that mental health disorders in general cost Canadian industry between $20 to $30 billion a year. Using the middle point, that's 2.5 per cent of our one trillion dollar economy a year in lost production."

Craig however commended some of the recent efforts by government to tackle the issue, such as the work of the Canadian Mental Health Commission in leading the development of a national mental health strategy.

He said Coast Capital has been active in promoting employee mental health through internal programs and staff awareness and organizes an annual charity golf tournament to help fund depression research through the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation.

Coast Capital Savings is Canada's second largest credit union with total assets under administration of $11.9 billion, 380,000 members and 50 branches in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia. Product innovations from Coast Capital Savings include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution and the first business account in the country to offer unlimited transactions for a flat fee. The credit union is one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies and is designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada. To learn more, visit www.coastcapitalsavings.com.

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