DBSA e-Update October 2011

Quick Links to Articles Below

Announcing Winners of the 2011 Facing Us Video Contest Use Your Experience and Become a Peer Specialist in 2012
Zen In The Art of Living Bipolar with Greg Montgomery DBSA Promotes Peer Support and Recovery at the Alternatives Conference
Win a Book Collection Pound Advice: Peers Weigh In with Diet Tips
Ask the Doctor Q & A: Weight-Loss Surgery You’re Invited to Participate in the National Consumer/Survivor Call
A Note From Allen: Our Stories Make a Difference Wellness Tips from Peers
CABF is Now The Balanced Mind Foundation Save the Date: Upcoming Mental Health Events

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Announcing Winners of the 2011 Facing Us Video Contest

Congratulations to the winners of the DBSA 2011 Facing Us Video Contest! And thank you to all of you who participated! We received many very moving and powerful video stories, and the decision was a difficult one. The contestants submitted videos showing—in their own unique way—the personal journey of recovery they travel while living with depression or bipolar disorder. The winning videos are now posted on www.FacingUsContest.org.

1st Place: Melanie Oldham (Eustace, TX)
2nd Place: Kristen Famiano (Rochester, MI)
3rd Place: Katrina Rochon (Orefield, PA)

Honorable mentions went to:
Roxanne Hughes (Rowlett, TX)
Amy Johnson (Kannapolis, NC)
Walter Logan (Washington, D.C.)
Chet Miller (Allentown, PA)
Dianne Wilson (New Tripoli, PA)

In January 2012, we’ll be moving the videos to the “personal stories” section of the Media Room on FacingUs.org so that they can continue to serve as an inspiration to others facing the challenges of depression or bipolar.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Zen In The Art of Living Bipolar

All-Pro NFL punter Greg Montgomery shares his experiences of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder in his educational and inspirational blog, Zen In The Art of Living Bipolar. Read an excerpt below from Greg’s latest blog post Living Bipolar (and Enlightened).

For the last couple months, my girlfriend and I have been reading 'Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life' by Dr. Wayne Dyer. In this book, Dr Dyer examines the 81 verses of the Tao Te Ching (The Way of Life) written by philosopher Lao-tzu over 2000 years ago. Within each verse, as in any spiritual text, there is a powerful message that can be examined, discussed and applied to our lives. In the 17th verse, coined by Dr Dyer as 'Living as an Enlightened Leader, gives us a nice point of reference. Not only does it advise us on how to lead, but also to figure out our past (the Why). I feel to acknowledge the roots our pain, deal with them, let go and move on is a very brave act. Choosing to change our minds(our ways of thinking), take action and mentor others that are suffering, even braver…"

Read the full blog entry here and check out all of Greg’s enlightening posts, such as Lessons Learned - My Perpetual Recovery, The 12 Steps to Surviving Bipolar Disorder, and Family Recovery The Thin Red Line.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Win a Book Collection

Thanks to all who visited our Facebook page last month and tagged themselves in our Peer Support Banner. Congratulations to Ray C. who was chosen to receive the collection of books on bipolar disorder!

For those who are new to our Facebook page, we hope you find it a helpful and supportive place to connect with peers and to learn more about the resources within and outside of DBSA.

Visit our Facebook page tomorrow, October 20, for another chance to win a FREE package of educational and empowering books. The collection of X books will be related to depression. Each of the books are featured in our online bookstore. Some of the titles include Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder by John McManamy, The Depression Handbook by Steve Harrington, and the Peace of Mind Prescription by Dennis Charney. M.D., and Charles Nemeroff, M.D., P.h.D

Here is how you can enter:
Visit the official DBSA Facebook page tomorrow, October 20, 2011.
“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!

Stay tuned for more book giveaways information in our future eUpdates:
November - Books for family/friends giveaway
December - Mental health combo pack giveaway

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Dr. David E. Kemp

Ask the Doctor Q & A

When I saw a doctor about weight loss surgery, he said I had to have a mental health evaluation from my psychiatrist. What is that for? If I did go ahead with the surgery, how might that affect the medications I take? Is there anything specific I would have to watch out for?

Bariatric surgery programs often ask for a pre-operative mental health evaluation. The main purpose is to identify any barriers to success after surgery, especially barriers that can be effectively addressed or overcome. We do know that people with some specific mental health conditions such as an active eating disorder, active drug or alcohol problems, severe mood symptoms, or psychotic symptoms - can be barriers to recovery from surgery and losing weight. In these situations, delaying surgery and getting effective treatment can increase the chances of success. Another purpose of a pre-operative mental health evaluation is to understand the psychological factors that may interfere with success, such as using food as a coping mechanism. Counseling focused on these issues can increase the chance of successful weight loss after surgery. It is important to emphasize that having a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder does not mean that bariatric surgery is not safe or effective. Research shows that people with depression are just as successful losing weight after surgery. And losing weight often leads to improvement in depression.

While bariatric surgery is more and more common, we lack good research about how surgery affects the dosing, effectiveness, or side effects of mental health medications. Bariatric surgery can certainly change or reduce absorption of medications - so they are less effective. This may be a bigger problem with sustained- or slow-release medications. With some medications, your doctor may want to measure blood levels before surgery and again after to see if doses need to be adjusted. Monitoring of lithium is particularly important, because large changes in weight can affect how your kidneys clear lithium from your body. If you are planning weight loss surgery, you’ll want to discuss these issues with your health care providers well in advance. And you’ll want to make sure that your different health care providers (psychiatrist, therapist, surgeon) communicate clearly with each other. They will usually need your written permission to do that.

Thank you to Dr. David Kemp for contributing his expertise to this month’s Q & A.

David E. Kemp, MD, is an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood & Metabolic Clinic at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center of Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Kemp’s research focuses on improving psychiatric outcomes by targeting the treatment of comorbid medical conditions, particularly obesity, pre-diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. He is currently investigating whether insulin sensitizers can reduce the severity of depression symptoms by acting on novel pathophysiological targets that influence mood. Dr. Kemp is a recipient of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders Research Fellowship Award and the DBSA Klerman Young Investigator Award. His research is currently supported by NARSAD and the Cleveland Foundation.

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 November 1st to be considered for the November eUpdate.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

A Note From Allen: Our Stories Make a Difference

October begins with several important events that focus on mental health: Mental Illness Awareness Week, National Depression Screening Day, and World Mental Health Day. We at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance appreciate our colleagues at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Screening for Mental Health, and the World Health Organization for their efforts to make mental health issues real for our policymakers and elected officials, for people concerned about prevention and treatment, and for a diverse (yet ever-closer) global community. These efforts are essential to our shared goals to help people towards wellness.

DBSA’s focus this October is inspiration: showcasing and celebrating the achievements of people who have found their own unique paths to recovery, as we do year-round at the Facing Us Clubhouse. In this spirit, we proudly announce the winners of the 2011 FacingUs Video Contest. The winning individuals demonstrate the very real possibility of recovery. And this is something each of us is striving for, working towards, and achieving in our own way, every day. That is what DBSA is all about—listening to and articulating the voices and stories of people who live with mood disorders so that our peers can benefit from the knowledge and power of our lived experience.

What’s your story? And whose story has been particularly important to you? Let me know.

Thanks for being so inspiring, and for your vital role in the mental health community,


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

CABF is Now The Balanced Mind Foundation

DBSA would like to congratulate and commend our friends at The Balanced Mind Foundation for expanding their reach to address the needs of children living with all types of mood disorders. We look forward to working together to help individuals of all ages, together with their families and support networks, to provide the hope, help, and support that is critical for ensuring the possiblity of recovery from mood disorders.

CABF launched its pioneering www.bpkids.org in 1999 when childhood bipolar illness awareness was in its infancy. Since then, scientific research from the past decade has fundamentally changed the understanding of bipolar disorder in children. Children experience a number of “working labels” and there are often co-morbid conditions that cloud the picture. This makes a single condition name for the organization - like “bipolar” limiting for families who seek support and answers for their children.   

Due to these factors, CABF’s board of directors voted to expand our mission from a single condition to include all mood disorders: bipolar disorder, depression and a proposed new DSM-V diagnosis for children which will attempt to capture children who are currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but do not meet full criteria. It became apparent that we needed an updated CABF brand to reflect these changes. Our market research revealed a strong consensus around the labels, “balance” “mind” and  “resource or foundation.” Families did not want a medical sounding name, which they found to be stigmatizing. They also wanted to know that “we are you” and that people who walk in their shoes run the organization.

Therefore, the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation is now The Balanced Mind Foundation.  The Balanced Mind Foundation guides families raising children with mood disorders to the answers, support and stability they seek. Our vibrant online community helps parents connect with one another, learn about the most scientifically-credible treatment, and find trusted local resources. Children and teens with depression or bipolar disorder can learn to manage their illness and grow up to lead productive lives. You are not alone and we welcome you to join us at www.thebalancedmind.org, on Facebook or Twitter.  The Balanced Mind Foundation. Bringing Hope Home.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Make a Difference. Use Your Experience and Become a Peer Specialist in 2012

We’re pleased to announce that the next DBSA Peer Specialist training course will take place January 23-27, 2012 in Chicago. DBSA Peer Specialist training prepares people like you to use their recovery experience to assist others as peer specialists. Facilitated by nationally-recognized trainers, this comprehensive course delivers a foundation in recovery principles, intervention techniques, and ethical practice. Training takes place Monday-Friday, followed by certification testing at a later date.

DBSA actively seeks a diverse group of applicants for this unique training experience. Applications for the course will be available on the DBSA website (www.DBSAlliance.org/Training) beginning November 1.

Note: Each individual state or service delivery system sets its own peer specialist training and certification standards. Please check local requirements with your state certification body, office of consumer affairs, or service delivery system before making the decision to participate in this training course. DBSA can provide information on training curriculum content on request.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA Promotes Peer Support and Recovery at the Alternatives Conference

If you’re attending the Alternatives 2011 Conference in Orlando next week, make sure to stop by the DBSA exhibit booth where we’ll be distributing information on recovery resources.

We hope you’ll also plan to attend events where DBSA will be taking a leadership role. Lisa Goodale, Vice President of Training, will co-present a workshop on New Directions in Peer Support Supervision with Dan O’Brien-Mazza, National Director of Peer Support Services for the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services, on Fri., Oct. 28 from 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Goodale will also represent the National Association of Peer Specialists as a panelist at the Recovery to Practice project workshop: Integrating Mental Health Recovery into Behavioral Health Professions. That workshop takes place on Thurs., Oct. 27, 3:45-5:15 p.m.

Finally, if you are peer specialist, or interested in development of the peer specialist workforce, plan to attend the Peer Specialist Recovery to Practice caucus on Thursday, Oct. 27 beginning at 7:00 p.m.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Pound Advice: Peers Weigh In with Diet Tips

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 Elizabeth Forbes, is from the Fall 2011 issue of bp magazine.

Carrying extra pounds isn’t just an unwelcome byproduct of bipolar disorder. Earlier this year, researchers looking at obesity in North America estimated that one in three Americans and one in four Canadians has a body mass index higher than 30 (the baseline for obesity).

Still, shifting moods and psychiatric medications create additional challenges to maintaining a healthy weight. That’s why we turned to our readers and asked: What tricks and techniques help you eat better?

Many of you noted that along with a well-balanced diet, exercise is also an important part of weight control—and an overall healthy lifestyle. Having a healthy lifestyle, meanwhile, is a vital complement to medication in maintaining mood stability…

Read the full article: http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/880/pound-advice

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

You’re Invited to Participate in the National Consumer/Survivor Call

Interested in what’s happening nationally in the consumer movement? You are invited to participate in a monthly national networking teleconference sponsored by the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. This call provides an opportunity for consumer/survivor leaders from around the U.S. to get together, share information, and network. There is no agenda; each call is a free-flowing forum! Calls take place on the third Monday of each month at 12:00 noon Central time just call (866) 906-0123 toll-free and enter this pass code: 2571948#.


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!

Mini Goals
I often find it difficult to keep up with my obligations, such as cleaning my apartment or doing homework. I have found it helps if I set 15 minute alarms. For example, if my room is a mess, I set an alarm for 15 minutes in which I have to be actively cleaning. It breaks the chore down to mini goals that are much easier to manage, and I can usually get motivated to go longer.

Personal Responsibility
When I take personal responsibility for my mental health, I begin to take back control of my life.

I find it can help to confide in a close friend that I have known for many years. I will take a break and call him or go for a coffee with him. I find coming away from the conversation feeling good. He tells me to call him whenever I’m feeling like this, and he occasionally checks in with me to see how I’m doing.

A Note about FacingUs.org
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.

Save the Date


October 26-30
The 25th annual Alternatives conference in Orlando, FL


November 19, 2011
International Survivors of Suicide Day
January 23-27, 2012
DBSA Peer Specialist Training course in Chicago, IL