DBSA May WellnessMay Wellness

DBSA Celebration of Mental Health Month

May 1st: Intro Program
Welcome to May Wellness—DBSA Celebrates Mental Health Month with a daily wellness strategy post. Each week in May, we’ll post wellness tips about Self-Care on Monday’s, Relationships on Tuesdays, Finding Purpose on Wednesdays, Taking Action on Thursdays, and Bonus tips on Fridays. Little changes can have a big impact! We hope you’ll find these suggestions to be helpful ways to build wellness into your lives and the lives of others. Please share this post to let other know about this month-long event!

May 2nd: Special
DBSA will be participating in Global Day for Hope, hosted by the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred), today, Saturday May 2, 2015, in Chicago. But even if you’re not in Chicago, you too can celebrate all things HOPE by planting sunflowers in your community to share your support and help us raise awareness for depression treatment. Learn how you can spread hope at iFred.org.

1st Week

May 4th: Self Care
Getting the right amount of sleep is a critical component of mental health. Sleep deprivation has an immediate effect on our ability to function effectively and regulate our moods. Sleeping too much or too little can be both a key symptom and/or trigger of a mental health crisis. And, sleep dysregulation can create a vicious cause-and-effect cycle for mood challenges. Learn more about the Impact of Sleep in this podcast with Dr. John Grohol, founder and CEO of PsychCentral.com.

May 5th: Relationships
Connecting with someone who really knows what you’re going through can be a life changing, or even life-saving, experience. DBSA was founded on the idea that peer support is a powerful wellness strategy. If you live with a mood disorder, or are the friend or family member of someone who does, find a peer-led DBSA support group in your local community at DBSAlliance.org/FindSupport. Parents of children living with a mood disorder can find a unique online community of support in our Balanced Mind Parent Network at DBSAlliance.org/BMPN.

May 6th: Purpose
Helping others can often be the best path to helping ourselves. Volunteering takes the focus off our own challenges and put the focus making a positive impact in someone else’s life. Knowing that we helped another builds a sense of pride and accomplishment. And, confirms that we have many gifts to give others and the world! Points of Light connects individuals with volunteer opportunities that match their personal passions. Explore ways to help others at PointsOfLight.org.  

May 7th: Take Action
Learn about the issues that are limiting access to quality health care for people living with mental health conditions. Each month, Care for Your Mindinvites policy, legislative, and regulatory experts to provide insights on challenges to the mental health care system and to suggest ways we can each help to address them. All that is asked from you is to listen. Your feedback provides critical information that we can share with key influencers! Learn more at CareForYourMind.org.    

May 8th: Bonus
Knowledge is power! Learning all you can about your, or your loved one’s, mood disorder helps you to make educated decisions about treatment options and puts you in the driver’s seat. If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to check out the wealth of information, podcasts, webinars, brochures, connections to support, trainings, courses, inspirational stories, educational videos, screeners, wellness tools, and much more at DBSAlliance.org. If you have, please ask your friends and family members to check it out and/or follow us on our social media channels listed at the bottom of our website.

2nd Week

May 11th: Self Care
Many individuals find keeping a daily journal very helpful. It allows us to acknowledge any worries or fears in a safe, private place. In the process of doing so, quite often a solution will surface or we’ll recognize that the problem isn’t nearly as big or as bad as it seems. It also allows us to acknowledge the positive aspects of our lives, to bring them close to our hearts and minds so that we can face each day with a brighter perspective. Create your personal online journal.

May 12th: Relationships
Depression and bipolar disorder pose a challenge not just to our health, but to our closest relationships as well. As partners struggle against the fallout of guilt, confusion, and anger, genuine affection and intimacy often become all but impossible to maintain. DBSA’s Restoring Intimacy webinar takes a realistic look at the challenges as well as practical ways to make intimate relationships work better under such conditions. Watch at DBSAlliance.org/Webinars.

May 13th: Purpose
Creative expression can help us not only to cope but to thrive in the face of life's challenges. Find your creative outlet in the Dave's Spark Creativity Center, which celebrates the creative spark and the important role it plays in living a full and meaningful life. Here, you'll find podcasts, workshops and online courses to help you learn how to use your own creativity as a wellness tool. Check it out!

May 14th: Take Action
The stigma associated with mental health conditions is one of the main reasons people don’t seek help and treatment. It fuels hurtful misperceptions of individuals living with these conditions. It’s time for the world to get it right. To know the truth. You can show your support in a variety of ways.

  • If you live in Colorado Springs, New York City, or Los Angeles, join us for a stop in your city of the DBSA I to We Tour, to help us shift the conversation from danger and drain to potential and contribution. Learn more at DBSAlliance.org/ItoWeTour.
  • Talking about mental health could save a life. If you’re ready to speak up, you may want to:

May 15th: Bonus
Laughter is the best medicine! Stand Up for Mental Health (ST4MH) is proving that with its unique program to teach individuals living with mental health conditions to become stand-up comics. In the process, they find strength in re-writing their stories and by doing something most individuals would never have the courage to do—stand-up comedy! Learn more about this empowering program at StandUpforMentalHealth.com and watch some (ST4MH) comics’ performances at DBSA national conferences. We are thrilled that SU4MH founder, David Grainer, will be presenting/performing at the DBSA I to We Weekend this September. Learn more at DBSAlliance.org/ItoWeWeekend.

 3rd Week

May 18th: Self Care
Navigating your way to wellness and staying on course can be a daily challenge. A wellness plan can serve as a map to ensure that your journey takes you to exactly where you want to go. And tracking your progress serves as a GPS to ensure you’re staying on track. The Facing Us Wellness Plan and DBSA Wellness Tracker are a map and GPS system to help you build a personalized wellness plan and to help you and your clinician monitor how that plan is working. Learn more at FacingUs.org/Plan and FacingUs.org/Tracker.

May 19th: Relationships
“You’re not alone.” “Have hope.” Sometimes these words can seem hollow. Sometimes you need a chorus of voices and to have these words become real to you. We invite you to immerse yourself in a weekend filled with education and inspiration at the DBSA I to We Weekend this September outside of Chicago, IL. At this very special mental wellness conference and leadership forum, you’ll connect with hundreds of peers who are on similar journeys. As one previous conference attendee shares, "This was the most important experience I have had since I was first diagnosed—I finally found others who understood—even without having to say a thing. I don't feel so alone." Learn more and register before May 24 to get our lowest, Early Bird, rate at DBSAlliance.org/ItoWeWeekend

May 20th: Purpose
You can use your lived experience with a mental health condition to improve the lives of your peers, and find purpose in the process.

  • Consider becoming a facilitator at a DBSA peer-led support group in a chapter near you. Or, start a DBSA chapter in your area if there isn’t one already. People share every day the difference it has made in their lives, like this participant, “We care for each other in ways I’ve seldom seen outside of DBSA.” Email Chapters@DBSAlliance.org to learn more about becoming a facilitator.
  • Or, if you may want to become a peer specialist, an individual with lived recovery experience who has been trained and certified to help their peers gain hope and move forward in their own recovery. Learn more!

May 21st: Take Action
Nothing touches the heart so deeply as hearing someone’s personal account of their experience. Hearing directly from other that have been through similar experiences—challenges and successes—can provide the inspiration to take another step towards wellness, embrace hope, and envision a future of wellness. View courageous stories and/or submit your story at

  • FacingUs.org: personal stories of journeys to wellness
  • DBSAlliance.org/LU: stories from people living a life unlimited by their mood disorder
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  • LiveThroughThis: portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors created by photographer, writer, and advocate Dese'Rae L. Stage*
  • iknowiknow.me: personal stories of individuals facing challenges created by singer-songwriter Shannon Curtis*

* We’re thrilled to share that both Dese’Rae and Shannon will be presenting/performing at the DBSA I to We Weekend in September! Learn more at DBSAlliance.org/ItoWeWeekend.

May 22nd:  Bonus
Meditation
has been proven to be an extremely powerful wellness tool to help individuals relax, gain focus, and clear negative emotions. We invite you to try out two meditations, Loving Kindness and Mindfulness, presented by Leah Harris in the Facing Us Media Room.

4th Week

May 25th: Self Care
Happy Memorial Day! DBSA offers our profound thanks to the men and women who serve our country each day in military service. Today we offer a few resources that help Veterans and members of the military, as well as their families, live in wellness.

May 26th: Relationships
Sometimes, you just need someone to talk to. When family and friends aren’t available or appropriate, you may want to connect with an empathetic ear 7 Cups of Tea, an on-demand emotional health and well-being service that anonymously & securely connects real people to real listeners in one-on-one chat at 7CupsOfTea.com. DBSA is investigating a partnership with 7 Cups of Tea and as such would welcome your feedback on this program. You may provide confidential feedback to us at Programs@DBSAlliance.org.

May 27th: Purpose
Cultivating interests that feed your mind, body, and soul is a key ingredient for building a full life. Sounds good right, but what? Take some time to explore and try out a variety of activities to see which feed your sense of passion and purpose. If you need a little help getting started, check out our Roll the Dice, worksheet, created originally for DBSA’s Positive Six Campaign. Download this fun tool!

May 28th: Take Action
The DBSA Advocacy Action Site provide resources to educate yourself about policy and legislative issues affecting individuals living with mood disorders, and take action. Subscribe to receive alerts with easy instructions on how to ask your elected officials to support vital legislation that preserves, protects and creates access to quality mental health care. We and hope that you will join us in creating positive change within our community.

May 29th Bonus
Thank you
for your participation in May Wellness, DBSA’s celebration of Mental Health Month! We hope you’ve discovered some new wellness strategies. But our work must continue beyond this month. We hope you’ll continue to bring awareness to mental health throughout the year—by learning, educating, sharing, participating, speaking up, and taking action.

May 30th Special
In 2015, DBSA celebrates our 30th anniversary of providing life-saving information and peer support! We thank you for your shared passion for improving the lives of people living with mood disorders and hope you’ll continue on this journey with us for the next thirty years. If you’d like to make a gift in celebration of this milestone and Mental Health Month, you may do so at DBSAlliance.org/May30.