DBSA e-Update February 2012

Quick Links to Articles Below

A Note from Allen: DBSA Strategic Initiatives In 2012 Apply Today for Our Next DBSA Peer Specialist Training Course
NEW DBSA Positive Six (+6 ) Campaign Kicks Off in May NEW Website Feature: Life Unlimited Personal Stories
Win a Book Collection NEW Survey: Tackling the Tough Questions with Your Clinicians
Ask the Doctor Q & A Can't Keep a Good Woman Down
NEW Innovations Podcast Series: Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy Save the Date

A Note from Allen: DBSA Strategic Initiatives In 2012

In 2012, DBSA is focusing its programming on three core initiatives:

Therapeutic Alliance
The partnership between people who live with depression or bipolar disorder, and the clinicians who help us develop treatments and treatment plans, is a vital component of mental health and a well-balanced life. So we at DBSA are working towards enhancing this relationship, not just by letting you know current information about mood disorders from top medical experts, but also by sharing our needs and concerns with the clinical community.

We at DBSA must advance the understanding and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder based on the unique perspective our lived experience provides. In conjunction with this, as part of our 2012 Innovations initiative, we will present a series of “Innovations” podcasts on new and emerging treatments, such as interpersonal social rhythm therapy, which I discuss with Board and SAB member Dr. Ellen Frank in the first of four “Innovations” podcasts.

Community Engagement
Millions of people who live with or are concerned about depression and bipolar disorder contact DBSA’s national office and/or our local chapters. To ensure that we are able to guide these people and their communities towards better mental health, we must build effective, cohesive structures for wellness across the country. This includes enhanced communication with and support of our chapters. I’m so proud to report that, already in 2012, I’ve had the great experience of traveling to visit our colleagues at DBSA Louisville and DBSA National Capital Area. By prioritizing such visits and ongoing dialogue with our chapters, DBSA aims to strengthen our mutual understanding of our shared work and the needs of our diverse community across the nation.

And we are fortunate to have in our new Board chair Lucinda Jewell a strong, DBSA-chapter-based background in creating an engaged, impactful community around the mental health conversation in the Boston area.

The above video presents more details on how DBSA's 2012 programming supports our three core initiatives. On behalf of everyone at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, I thank you, and I look forward to learning from and sharing with you throughout this year. Keep checking DBSAlliance.org for more details about our programming!

-Allen Doederlein, DBSA President


DBSA Positive Six (+6 ) Campaign Kicks Off in May

In celebration of May as Mental Health Month, DBSA invites you to be part of the DBSA “Positive Six Campaign” (DBSA +6)—six months of positive actions to connect to your health and community.

DBSA +6 challenges you to make small, positive changes in your life for six months. Each month—May through October 2012—we will feature a new +6 challenge aimed at building new connections with your health, relationships, and community. Whether it’s incorporating a new habit, reconnecting with old friends, sharing kindness, or simply making someone smile, little things can make a big difference—in your life and in the lives of others.

We'll be providing more updates in March and April, so you can start spreading the word and planning ways to be part of the fun! And, we'll be sharing how our DBSA headquarters staff are taking on the challenges as well!

DBSA +6 monthly challenges:

May - Feeding Kindness
June - Positive Change
July - Give It a Try
August - New Connections
September - Bodies in Motion
October - Spreading Smiles

The Positive Six website, www.positive6.org, will be fully functional soon, but for now you can view or request a free calendar of the monthly challenges here.
Come on—take the challenge, do something good for yourself and your community—and have some fun!


Win a Book Collection

Thanks to all who visited our Facebook page last month and tagged themselves in our Family Support Banner. Congratulations to Maggie Brown who was chosen to receive the collection of books!

Visit our Facebook page tomorrow, February 16, for the chance to win a FREE combo pack of educational and empowering mental health books! Each of the 9 books are featured in our online bookstore. Some of the titles include A Balanced Life by Tom Smith, Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder by John McManamy, and The Peace of Mind Prescription by Dennis Charney, M.D. and Charles Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D.

Here is how you can enter:
- Visit the official DBSA Facebook page tomorrow, February 16, 2012.
- “Like” us if you are not already our Facebook fan.
- You will see a special message on how you can be entered into the book giveaway…follow the instructions and you might be the winner!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Holly A. Swartz, M.D. is a psychiatrist and researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.  Her research and clinical interests include understanding the role of psychosocial treatments in improving outcomes for individuals with mood disorders. She is also interested in helping to reduce the impact of mood disorders on families across generations.

Ask the Doctor Q & A

What are some ways to get over the fears of trusting others? I suffer from depression and borderline personality disorder. I have issues with being around people I don't know because I am afraid I will say or do the wrong thing. Do you have any coping skills or suggestions?


Both depression and borderline personality disorder (BPD) can cause difficulties with interpersonal relationships. Feeling low or empty can lead people to withdraw from social situations. If, because of illness, you have spent long periods of time unable to work, sustain relationships, or even get out of the house, you may fail to develop reliable social skills or lose the social skills you used to have. A good analogy would: be after breaking a leg, walking is difficult even when the cast comes off because the leg muscles are weak from disuse. Similarly, it may be hard to know how to interact with others, even when you are feeling better, if you have suffered from depression and BPD for a long time. Relationships are more complicated when a person has suffered from emotional or sexual abuse, both of which are common in people with depression or BPD. So it’s not surprising—-and not your fault-—that you sometimes feel uncomfortable around others if you suffer from depression and BPD.

Continuing the broken leg analogy, after the cast comes off, you might need physical therapy to build strength before you walk again. Similarly, specific kinds of psychotherapy can re-build social skills. Types of psychotherapy that have been shown to help individuals with depression and BPD include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Examples of strategies used in these therapies include: 1) Exposure (CBT): the more you avoid situations you’re afraid of, the more difficult it will be ultimately to face them. If social situations make you anxious, you can develop skills to help you manage your anxiety more effectively such as controlling or counter-acting fearful thoughts. You can then push youself to try situations that provoke mild anxiety and practice your new skills. In CBT, your therapist might ask you to put yourself initially in lower-stress social interactions such as joining an on-line chat group or engaging in “pleasantries” with store clerks. Mastering these experiences will prepare you for more complicated situations such as (eventually) asking someone on a date or participating in a job interview. 2) Social skills (IPT): IPT focuses on the two-way relationship between mood and interpersonal relationships. In IPT, the therapist will help you with role-playing and/or coaching to help you find better ways to manage difficult interpersonal situations. You can learn to improve eye contact, better understand non-verbal cues, practice empathic listening, and develop strategies for asking effectively for things. You’ll practice these skills in “easy” situations before trying them in more difficult ones. 3) Emotion Regulation (DBT): With both depression and BPD, unstable mood can interfere with social functioning. DBT helps develop skills like mindfulness to current emotions, labeling and identifying emotions, and tolerating negative emotions without acting impulsively. Improved mood stability can help you to manage more stressful or challenging interpersonal situations.

Thank you to Dr. Holly Swartz, DBSA Scientific Advisory Board member for contributing his expertise to this month’s Q & A.

Do you have a question for a mental healthcare provider? We will be accepting questions for our clinical panel and will publish a select question and answer in each of the DBSA monthly eUpdates. Submit your question here by March 1st to be considered for the March eUpdate.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Innovations Podcast Series: Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy

The new DBSA Innovations Podcast series will showcase important new and emerging treatments for, and information about, depression and bipolar disorder. The first of these four Innovations podcasts features Dr. Ellen Frank, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, DBSA Board member and DBSA Scientific Advisory Board member.

DBSA President, Allen Doederlein, speaks with Dr. Frank about IPSRT, a form of psychotherapy she and her colleagues developed for the treatment of bipolar disorder. This treatment has been proven effective in preventing and reducing the recurrence the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Learn more about this innovative approach to psychotherapy by listening to the podcast.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Apply Today for Our Next DBSA Peer Specialist Training Course

“Dynamic and informative”

“I will definitely be recommending this course to others!”

Past participants agree: DBSA training courses are unique opportunities to strengthen your commitment to the unique role of peer support in recovery, offering knowledge, inspiration, and insights. We at DBSA are proud of our solid track record in preparing individuals to use peer-delivered services to support the recovery of others. Our 5-day core course delivers a foundation in recovery principles, intervention techniques, and ethical peer specialist practice.

Applications are now being accepted for the next DBSA Peer Specialist training course, scheduled for April 23-27, 2012 in Chicago. Due date for applications is March 19.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

NEW Website Feature: "Life Unlimited" Personal Stories

Each month we will be featuring new, empowering stories of individuals whose lives have been touched by, but not limited by, a mood disorder on the DBSAlliance.org homepage. Our hope is to provide inspiration to individuals living with depression or bipolar disorder—to acknowledge that, though there may be dark times, there is also hope, and we are not alone.

This month, DBSA Chapter member Chris Jasikoff openly shares her journey from the time of her diagnosis and initial treatment, to her proactive involvement in starting a DBSA support group and, ultimately, to how she has found wellness. Read her story.

If you would like to participate in our Life Unlimited feature by sharing your story, please submit your contact information.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

NEW Survey: Tackling the Tough Questions with Your Clinicians

Even if you have a great relationship with your doctor or therapist, there may be some communication challenges when addressing difficult topics. We’d like your help identifying the areas of discussion that are the most difficult and most important to you. We’re focusing on some more controversial questions, because they are often the most difficult ones to bring up and/or address proactively.

At the DBSA 2013 National Conference, we are planning multiple sessions focused on improving partnerships between clinicians and consumers/patients. These sessions would include both clinicians and consumers/patients talking openly about how to improve communication and partnership. Your responses to this survey will help us to focus these sessions on the difficult topics that are most important to you.

What you would like your clinician to know about working more effectively with you? Share your opinion and recommendations.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Can't Keep a Good Woman Down

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 Robin L. Flanigan, is from the winter issue of esperanza magazine.

Home from the hospital with her newborn daughter, Lisa M. of Westmount, Quebec, was miserable. She had racing thoughts centered on her own inadequacy. She cried a lot. She forced herself to attend mommy groups and baby classes, only to compare herself to the other new mothers who seemed—unlike her—to have no trouble breastfeeding.

“It was a nightmare,” says Lisa, 35, who was unprepared for the way lack of sleep and hormonal changes exacerbated symptoms of her major depressive disorder. “I kept thinking, ‘What’s wrong with me?’”

Research in the last decade validates that the significant life changes women go through—from puberty and menstruation to pregnancy and menopause—and the associated fluctuations in female reproductive hormones influence different neurochemical pathways linked to depression…

Read the full article

Save the Date

April 23-27, 2012
DBSA Peer Specialist Training
in Chicago, Illinois

May 1, 2012 October 31, 2012
DBSA +6 Campaign

Sept. 5-8, 2012
NAPS conference in Philadelphia, PA

October 10, 2012
DBSA Chapter Leadership Forum
Portland, OR

June 14, 2013
DBSA Chapter Leadership Forum
Miami, FL

June 15, 2013 June 17, 2013
DBSA 2103 National Conference
Miami, FL