DBSA e-Update October 2013

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Facilitating Wellness from Childhood throughout Adulthood

DBSA and the Balanced Mind Foundation (TBMF) are joining forces to improve the mental health of, and facilitate wellness for, individuals living with mood disorders from childhood throughout adulthood. Historically our programming has been almost exclusively focused on adults with the lived experience of mood disorder. TBMF on the other hand has centered their programming to support families of children and adolescents living with bipolar disorder and other mood disorders.

“Early identification and treatment of mood disorders is critical to maximizing the potential for children to grow into adults living in mental health and wellness,” explains DBSA President Allen Doederlein. “Parents and guardians are the most influential factor in helping children achieve full, thriving lives and therefore it is imperative that they receive the support, tools, and resources they need to ensure the best possible outcomes for children as they grow into adulthood.”

Under a single organization, we have a greater potential, through early intervention, to help reduce the severity of mental health issues for children as they grow. We will be able to provide consistent support as they transition from childhood to adulthood and throughout their lives.

Susan Resko, Executive Director of The Balanced Mind Foundation agrees. “By joining forces, our members, volunteers, and supporters will not only benefit from renewed support for current TBMF programming, they will gain new educational and empowering tools and resources. Additionally we will greatly benefit be having a larger voice in shaping the future of mental health through access to DBSA’s research, peer specialist and advocacy initiatives.”

We expect the transition to DBSA, including TBMF’s comprehensive family-focused programming to take place on January 1, 2014. DBSA members will have access to TBMF’s online family support network as part of DBSA’s programming and resources. And TBMF will be enriched with the input from our more than 300 chapters and 750 in-person and peer-led support groups nationwide. Read the press release.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Lucy Ingram

Life Unlimited: Lucy Ingram

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during my sophomore year of college. I distinctly remember how alone and scared I felt during the months leading up to my diagnosis. I knew that something was wrong when I began to fail classes, withdraw from friends, and experience depression and mania, but I did not know what was wrong or where I could go for help. When I finally did open up to family and friends and get the treatment that I needed, it was a relief. At the same time, though, the diagnosis felt like a burden. Like many young adults, I had begun to develop an image of who I was and where I wanted my life to go, and my diagnosis put many goals on hold. My focus shifted from classes, friends, and my future to therapy, medicine, and the belief that my life would be limited by my diagnosis and that I could never fully recover.

The turning point in my recovery journey came when I joined a group on campus, Active Minds, dedicated to educating the college community about mental health and reducing stigma. I realized that I was not alone and that there were other students facing similar challenges, as well as those who did not have a mental health issue but cared and wanted to make a difference. Through participating in the group, I no longer felt isolated and began to see my bipolar disorder as a strength that could be used to help others. I now viewed past events, such as taking a semester off or struggling in a class, not as failures but instead as obstacles that I had overcome. I finally felt optimistic about my future and my ability to lead a productive and happy life. Read Lucy’s story

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Note from Allen

October is the "Spreading Smiles" challenge of DBSA's Positive Six campaign, now in its second year. I feel absolutely aligned with this challenge, as I'm smiling a whole lot this October. With so many challenges--a government shutdown, continued and distressing misrepresentation of mental health issues in the media, and far too much more--you may wonder how it's possible to smile so much?

My smile, and I suspect a great many smiles within the DBSA family, are coming from our alignment with the child-, adolescent-, and young adult-focused education and advocacy organization The Balanced Mind Foundation. The DBSA family is working with TBMF Board, staff, and volunteers to create a unified organization under the DBSA umbrella that addresses the full lifespan of the mood disorder experience. The opportunity to learn from and work with TBMF is one we are thrilled by, for it allows us to serve our chapters better. In all of our visits to chapters across the country, one of the most common refrains is, "We need more resources for young people and their parents!" Now we can address that need in a substantive way. We also feel very strongly at DBSA that a prevention mindset that focuses on strengths and resiliencies is the crucial direction our field needs to take. This is exactly where our colleagues at TBMF are in their programming--and naturally so, as their work has focused on youth, who inherently inspire our thoughts of possibility, potential, and hope.

As we work with TBMF on sustaining existing youth-focused programs and evolving and creating new ones, we pledge to continue to look for synergies and opportunities for alignment like this within the mental health community. It is together that we are strongest, as peers, and families, well know.

Allen Doederlein

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Positive Six: Spreading Smiles

There’s only a few weeks left of the DBSA Positive Six Campaign—six months of small, positive changes to connect with your health and your community.

Our October Spreading Smiles Challenge encourages you to do something unexpected and nice for six (+6) people this month (a friend, a family member, a co-worker, or a stranger). Smiles are contagious, so spread the laughter and the love! Visit the October challenge page for inspiration, thought starters, conversation starters, and more!

Safety Net: Social Media & Online Support

Finding support and information via the Internet and social media has the benefits of privacy plus convenience—but it pays to be aware of the risks. Read the article.

DBSA Ambassador: Jane Kornegay

Jane was “just a young kid trying to feel better,” when her depression caused her to reach a point of crisis. Luckily, she felt comfortable enough to reach out for help and for the first time in her life felt support and learned coping skills. Jane is now 16 and speaking out about her experiences and life living with depression at her high school.

In honor of our alignment with TBMF, read Jane’s story and support her efforts to bring hope to more teens and youth like Jane everywhere.

Mental Health Advocacy

Care for Your Mind: October Highlights

Check out this month’s Care For Your Mind. By lending your voice we create a community, where we can help policymakers understand the realities of the mental health care system for individuals living with a mood disorder and their families.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

When I don’t want to move my music will always help me get up and out of my funk!

Bipolar Disorder
Stay centered mentally. I have the correct medical treatment now. I can take a chance and focus on now. I deal with the future when it becomes the present.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will begin to change- adapted from Dr Colbert’s Book, Stress Less

Visit the Facing Us Clubhouse to get more tips, create your own tips, track your wellness, and connect with peers. Joining the Facing Us Clubhouse is easy and free.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Save the Date

October 1–30
DBSA Positive Six Spreading Smiles Challenge

October–January, 2014
Lilly Reintegration Scholarship, a program that helps those battling with severe mental illness go back to school in order to gain the skills to secure employment and reintegrate into society has expanded to include Major Depressive Disorder. Applications are currently available to download and print at http://www.reintegration.com. Applications must be postmarked by January 31, 2014, and recipients will be notified in June 2014.

October 29
7:00 PM–8:00PM (ET)
hosted by: Family for Depression Awareness
Free Coping with Stress and Depression Webinar
Join FFDA as psychologist Mitch Abblett covers what stress is, along with a variety of healthy ways to manage it; how to recognize when it’s more than stress, i.e., anxiety or depression; and how to get help.

November 5
12:00 PM–1:00 PM (ET)
Webinar hosted by: International Bipolar Foundation
Being a Woman of Resilience with Bipolar Disorder Webinar
DBSA board member, Rev. Cheryl T. Magrini MS Ed., MTS, Ph.D. shares her life perspective to embrace resiliency while living with bipolar disorder, migraines and fibromyalgia. Her webinar will address: the concept of resiliency, when and how on her own journey from preteen years to her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2006 to today, she has risen from the ashes to one of soaring into being a woman of resilience living deeply into the mind-body-spirit connection, and shares a life-strategy as the cornerstone for living with resiliency.

November 13
4:00 PM–5:00PM (ET)
Webinar hosted by: Family for Depression Awareness
Free Teen Depression Seminar
Learn from Dr. Mary Fristad as she discusses what teen depression is; what are behaviors of concern; what are treatment options; where and how to get help; and how to talk with teens about depression.