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DBSA e-Update June 2011

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The Power of Support Groups and Personal Wellness Tools Featured in NEW Video
Cartoonist Opens Hearts and Minds by Sharing Story of Recovery
DBSA Chapter Highlight: Stomping Out Stigma for 26 Miles!
The 'Cheerleader' Behind Astronaut, Buzz Aldrin
Wellness Tips from Peers

The Power of Support Groups and Personal Wellness Tools Featured in NEW Video

DBSA highlighted the numerous, life-changing, life-saving benefits of peer support in a new video created as part of the 2011 FacingUs Wellness Campaign. Be sure to visit the DBSA YouTube channel to view the piece, which not only showcases the immense power of DBSA support groups, but also the excellent personal wellness tools featured on and The video was first aired during May 2011—Mental Health Month!—at the American Psychiatric Association Meeting in Hawaii. DBSA chapter leaders and Board and staff members offer personal perspectives on why peer support and personal wellness strategies are such critical components of so many individuals’ personal recovery plans.

DBSA’s Allen Doederlein said, “One of the great joys of working for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance is hearing of the progress that individuals who find the right treatment plan can make towards recovery. It is inspiring to know that others have found their own ways to wellness—it reminds us that we can, too. This video demonstrates how people have benefitted from DBSA’s peer-facilitated support groups, and it also shows how those groups can be part of a clear plan that you might create and track using  and the Wellness Tracker

Cartoonist Opens Hearts and Minds by Sharing Story of Recovery

In 2009, husband, father and mental health advocate, Chato Stewart submitted his powerful video recounting his personal journey of recovery to the 2009 Facing Us Video Contest and was selected as the first place winner. In his powerful public service announcement, he tells his personal story of living with a mental illness through his own words and a montage of his Mental Health Humor cartoons.

“My goal through my work as an advocate and an artist has been to tap into humor and use it as a positive tool to cope with the serious and debilitating effects of mental illness. I strongly believe that there is power behind humor, that it can give help, hope and healing.”

To learn more about Chato, visit his blog on PsychCentral:

Share YOUR personal journey towards wellness and be a part of the 2011 Facing Us Video Contest! Between now and September 5, 2011, you can submit your video online at You’ll have a chance to win cash prizes, but perhaps the greatest prize will be to inspire yourself and others in the process!

 Visit or download the flyer for more information!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA Chapter Highlight: Stomping Out Stigma for 26 Miles!

The Stomp Out Stigma team of the DBSA Greater Chicago chapter is recruiting runners who HAVE NOT registered but still want to participate in the 2011 Chicago Marathon taking place on October 9, 2011. Whether you're located in Illinois or out-of-state, the deadline to get a spot is June 30th! Sign up online at or email Participants will enjoy free training to help achieve race goals, inspiration, a team shirt, and a personal fundraising website. And, you’ll be helping to stomp out the stigma of mental illness with each step!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

The 'Cheerleader' Behind Astronaut, Buzz Aldrin

DBSA is pleased to partner with bp Magazine/esperanza to bring you empowering and informative articles featured in the quarterly bp and esperanza magazines.The below article, by Jodi Helmer, is from the Spring 2011 issue of esperanza.

Millions watched Buzz Aldrin take his first steps on the moon in 1969—but when his space mission was over, the beloved astronaut faced depression on his own. Aldrin, who is now 80, was struck with low moods and feelings of hopelessness—what he refers to as a “blue funk”—after he returned from his momentous journey. He was diagnosed with depression in 1971 and started counseling and medication. He chronicles his battle with depression and life after his moonwalk in his memoir Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon (Harmony Books, 2009).

He also chronicles the invaluable support of his wife, Lois, whom he married in 1988. Thanks largely to her interventions, he reports, he has banished the blue funk. “Lois never wavered in her love for me … she was committed to helping me beat depression rather than succumb to it,” he writes in his memoir…

Read the full article:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

In the Facing Us Clubhouse, consumers who have found small ways to make a big difference in their recovery can share wellness tips like those listed here. Visit the Clubhouse to be inspired by your peers…and to pass on some of your own inspiration.

To access the Wellness Tracker visit the Facing Us Clubhouse
Joining the Facing Us Clubhouse is easy and free!

Be Still
When I notice my automatic, negative thoughts racing, I’ve found it helpful to make my mind focus on actually spelling out the letters of the phrase “be still.” The word “free” is also helpful. It slows my brain, and helps bring me into the present.

It’s important to me that I have a desire to do something and many times that desire leads to action. So I savor the desire because it can be the beginnings of motivations to come.

What Helps
When you’re feeling miserable or out of sorts, ask yourself questions:
Have you had enough water today?
When was the last time you ate?
How much sleep did you get last night?
Have you talked with a friend yet?

A Note about
When you visit the Facing Us Clubhouse, you'll notice that several "rooms," including the room that houses wellness tips, require you to log in or create an account. Why is this necessary? Because in these sections, you are creating personal journals, books or a plan that is uniquely yours. So, we need a way to pull your unique information—like pulling your file out of a filing cabinet.

Joining the Facing Us Clubhouse is easy and FREE! We only need two things to create an account just for you—your e-mail and a password. Please be assured that we will not distribute or sell your information to anyone outside of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. The media room and creativity center on the site does not require registration. The only reason we require registration for other parts of the site is so that you can create your own personal wellness tools.