DBSA e-Update September 2013

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Say It Forward Anti-Stigma Campaign Uses Truth to Break the Chains of Stigma

When it comes to mental health conditions, silence is not golden. Silence breeds stigma, and stigma hurts: it prevents people from seeking life-saving treatment and support. That’s why the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) and the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) have joined forces to promote Say It Forward 2013, an email and social media anti-stigma campaign that educates people about the reality of mental health conditions.

“Although much progress has been made to change attitudes about mental health conditions, many still acknowledge discomfort towards people with mental illnesses,” explains Scott Suckow, Executive Director of the International Bipolar Foundation. “These perceptions lag behind those of other health conditions, such as diabetes and cancer. Through campaigns like Say it Forward, we can separate myth from fact and help those facing mental health issues feel comfortable seeking care and support.”

DBSA President Allen Doederlein confers, “The work DBSA and IBPF do to educate and support people living with mood disorders is important and impactful—but it’s only the beginning. The Say It Forward 2013 campaign provides a vital next step, with a user-friendly and simple way to connect with a much broader audience, made up of people who may or may not have mental health concerns themselves. All of us, across the globe, need to be reminded that these conditions are serious and life-threatening, but also highly treatable. The first step to wellness is speaking up, and that’s what Say It Forward is all about!”

Join Us September 30–October 10
Truth has the power to affect change. IBPF and DBSA invite you to join us by taking a simple step. Visit the Say It Forward Campaign  between September 30 and October 10 and share the myths and facts of mental illness by email, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Together we can break the chains of stigma!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Melody Moezzi

Life Unlimited: Melody Moezzi

If you met me five years ago, it may well have been on a locked psychiatric ward. I may have told you I was a prophet, or a high-level advisor to Barack Obama, or a goat, or all of the above.

It took ten years, a suicide attempt, an acute manic episode and a psychotic break for me to finally get an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder. By that time, I was 29, and I had already graduated law school, passed the bar, earned a Master’s in Public Health, published my first book and won an award for it. I’d also overcome a serious physical illness that nearly killed me, married the smartest person I’ve ever met and read all three parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy. In short, things were going well.

Then I lost my mind. For years I’d been jumping from paradise to purgatory to hell and back. It was my normal. I was sensitive, eccentric and creative. I was highly in tune with the bigger picture. I was a philosopher. I was not crazy. Read Melody’s story

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Note from Allen: The Velocity of Partnership

It’s no surprise that every strategic choice within DBSA’s 2013-2017 strategic plan includes the idea of partnership: “We develop relationships with strategic partners to further our mission and fulfill our mutual goals.” Because, at its heart, DBSA, as an organization founded upon and proud still to maintain a peer-facilitated support group model, is all about how much stronger we can be when we work together to address challenges. Indeed, the work we can do together not only tends to be more effective, but it also tends to have much greater velocity.

Certainly the current legislative and regulatory environments boast a great deal of challenges. So we at DBSA are immensely proud to be fresh off the heels of the largest mental health-advocacy event in the nation, National Council for Behavioral Health, (NCCBH’s) Hill Day 2013, a partnership among NCCBH, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness,  Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, and DBSA. As an organization with a renewed and growing, commitment to advocacy, we are grateful to these partners, as well as the 25 DBSA Chapter and Board members, who joined us in Washington, DC this year. We could not be as far along in our advocacy journey without you!

Monday’s tragic events at the Washington Naval Yard took place only a few miles from the Hill Day training and, as we have already seen, have put mental health in the public spotlight. On behalf of the entire DBSA family of Chapters, Board, and staff, I extend our deep-felt wishes for healing to the individuals wounded; sympathy and comfort to the families, friends, and colleagues of those lost; and continued resiliency to the D.C. community.

Another partnership we’re so proud of is our work with the International Bipolar Foundation on their Say It Forward campaign. For our advocacy work doesn’t just relate to policy and regulation; it must include media relations and social media that reach a broad audience. Say It Forward is a great tool for engaging people who may or may not have mental health conditions, but who definitely need to join our commitment to wellness for all—because mental wellness, as opposed to mental illness, will benefit us all.

Thank you, partners, for providing such velocity!

Allen Doederlein

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Free Webinar on Cultural Awareness Tomorrow, September 19

The Cultural Awareness for Peer Supporters webinar is designed for peer specialists and is also applicable for recovery coaches. No pre-registration is required!

Scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19, from Noon to 1 p.m., EDT, the webinar is based on part of a recovery curriculum from the SAMHSA-funded Recovery to Practice Project. Presenter Denise Camp, of On Our Own of Maryland, will review strategies to provide more effectively peer support as well as introduce the Recovery to Practice Project and the full recovery curriculum. See flyer for directions on how to participate.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Positive Six: Get Moving this September

There’s only 6 weeks left of the DBSA Positive Six Campaign—six months of small, positive changes to connect with your health and your community.

September introduces our Bodies in Motion Challenge. This month, we encourage to get moving. Start a walking club with a friend and try to hit five (+5) miles this month, or infuse your household chores with a dance routine for five (+5) minutes each day. However you put your body in motion, you’ll feel energized and have fun! Visit the September challenge page for inspiration, thought starters, conversation starters, and more!

Get Involved

  • Join the Positive Six event on Facebook and invite your friends to take the challenge, too!
  • Let us know about your successes! Post to the Facebook page to let us know how you’re meeting the challenge.
  • Join us on Facebook on the first Monday of October for free giveaways and inspiration to help you meet the next challenge! We will be giving away Positive Six merchandise at the top of every hour (9 a.m.4 p.m. Central) on our Facebook page.

October Sneak Peak

October’s 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 love!

Buddy Up

When it comes to losing weight, finding a "diet buddy" may be just the thing to keep you headed for success. Check out your options for getting that extra boost at Buddy up.

Jaclyn M. Daniels
DBSA Ambassador

DBSA Ambassador Highlight

Jaclyn silently endured her “roller-coaster of occasionally-happy, occasionally-sad, and tried to find a way to get better,” without success for years. It wasn’t until her husband pushed her to take control and regain the life she wanted that she finally found relief. Read more about Jaclyn’s journey and support her ambassador efforts with a gift today her ambassador page.

Care for Your Mind: September 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.

Take our Poll. How Can We Improve Timely Access to Mental Health Care Services? 
A Conversation with David Baron, MSED DO
Two Stories of Not Having Enough Insurance through Work
Visit the site and share your ideas and experiences to help create a mental health care system that works!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

Jumping to conclusions
Whenever your silly brain starts to tell you something like, “That person hates me” or “No one at my job enjoys my company” or “they were all just talking about how bad I look today” or etc., STOP IMMEDIATELY and ask your brain, “How did we get to THAT conclusion?” 99% of the time, your brain made a very obvious argumentative gap. The other 1% of the time, someone may not like you, but that’s normal and totally ok.

I-n-h-a-l-e Thankfulness. E-x-h-a-l-e Worry. I-n-h-a-l-e Smiles. E-x-h-a-l-e Frowns. I-h-a-l-e the Calm. E-x-h-a-l-e the Storm. B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Make sure to smile about something today

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

September 1–30
DBSA Positive Six Bodies in Motion Challenge

September 19
Cultural Awareness Free Webinar

October 1–31
DBSA Positive Six Spreading Smiles Challenge

November 5
Being a Woman of Resilience with Bipolar Disorder Webinar