DBSA e-Update July 2013

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Linea Johnson

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Everett Page

2013 DBSA Life Unlimited Awards Honor Two Peers

DBSA proudly awarded Linea Johnson and Everett Page with the 2013 DBSA Life Unlimited Awards during a luncheon ceremony on June 16 at the DBSA 2013 National Conference in Miami, Florida. DBSA Board Chair Lucinda Jewell presented the awards before a crowd of peers, including conference attendees, DBSA Board members, staff, and the awardees’ families.

The DBSA Life Unlimited Award was established to honor individuals who exemplify a life unlimited by depression or bipolar disorder and who are actively working to help others do the same. Johnson and Page, each nominated for the award by the peers whose lives they’ve touched, perfectly exemplify the spirit of these awards.

Linea Johnson is a writer, speaker, and photographer who shares her story to inspire others and fight stigma on a global level. The co-author of a nationally published memoir, Perfect Chaos (St. Martins, 2012), Johnson recently returned from working with a community mental health team in India and working on a documentary about world mental health conditions.

Everett Page came to DBSA Boston 27 years ago and has spent a third of his lifetime helping thousands of DBSA members find hope and support through his leadership and group facilitation. He is known for his consistent support and guidance—no matter what kind of day he’s having—to help fellow group members lead their own unlimited lives.

Please join DBSA in celebrating these outstanding peers! To learn more about this year’s awardees, visit DBSA’s Life Unlimited stories page to read personal stories from Johnson, Page, and other peers who lead lives unlimited by a diagnosis.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Postcard from Miami: DBSA 2013 National Conference

Hundreds of chapter leaders, support group members, clinicians, and consumers joined DBSA in Miami last month for the DBSA 2013 National Conference. The weekend was full of hope, help, and inspiration.

On Friday, chapter leaders came together to discuss best practices for operating peer support groups in their communities and welcomed several individuals who were interested in learning how to start new support groups. “It was a great energy. Everyone was positive and friendly. It felt like there was already camaraderie among everyone,” said one attendee.

On Saturday, DBSA joined forces with clinicians and researchers at the International Conference on Bipolar Disorders. Highlights of the day included a keynote lecture from Congressman Patrick Kennedy and a performance of That’s Just Crazy Talk by Victoria Maxwell. Sunday keynote lecturer Melody Moezzi shares her thoughts about Saturday's program at the bp Magazine blog.

Sunday’s program was packed full of educational breakouts and keynote lectures from Melody Moezzi and Priscilla Ridgway. Throughout the day, mental health humorist Chato B. Stewart and his children kept everyone smiling with caricatures of conference attendees, and comic David Granirer, along with several conference attendees newly trained in stand-up comedy, coaxed giggles and guffaws from a packed room on Sunday night.

Thanks to everyone who attended for sharing their stories and perspectives!


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Note from Allen

I sometimes forget that people may not know that DBSA is led—at the Board, staff, and volunteer level—by people with mood disorder diagnoses. And as that fact suggests, I am a person who lives with a mood disorder. At the recent DBSA National Conference, someone asked if I have a diagnosis, and I said yes, and that I was fortunate to live a life mostly in wellness.

Still, I do experience symptoms from time to time. Certainly the past month of my life has had its fair share of struggles with depression. And whenever this happens, I can’t help but think, “Oh no, here we go again,” or, “Ugh . . . haven’t I figured out how to STOP this YET?” But that’s probably the “depressed mind” reacting. If I take a step back and look at things objectively, I have to acknowledge that, while depression is frustrating, it’s not truly a case of here-we-go-again. For even though I do still experience depression—which can be debilitating—I experience it as a person with strength, resilience, and systems I put in place while I was well to help me cope with a recurrence. And, while it’s nice to think that I may be able to vanquish depression forever (indeed, some people have, and I hold out that hope for myself!), it’s likely to be recurrent in a lot of us. Yet, I am resolved to approach depression as a health issue that I can address and move on from, just like I would a headache or a cold or even more serious, chronic conditions, which, like depression, are serious and life-threatening, but manageable with appropriate treatment.

No one—or, I hope, very few people, anyway—would think that a headache or a cold would mean that they could not have an extraordinary, successful life. And I am committed to making sure that I remember, even when it’s hard, that depression will not take away my ability to thrive. I can be awesome while I’m depressed. I see people—my colleagues, my family, my friends, my DBSA family in chapters and at our events—who may experience depression, but who are awesome.

Thank you for your inspiration.

Allen Doederlein,
DBSA President

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

So You Want to Start a Support Group?

Have you considered starting a DBSA chapter in your community? Do you know someone who would be great at starting a support group or who lives in a community without a DBSA chapter? DBSA wants to help individuals bring hope, help, and support to their communities. To help individuals get started, DBSA is offering a special deal in August!

For the month of August only, affiliation fees will be half off! Fees will drop from $175 to $87.50 or from  $125 to $62.50!

DBSA chapters offer peer-run support groups where people with mood disorders and their family and friends find comfort and direction in a confidential and supportive setting. Other chapter services may include education, community outreach, and advocacy activities.

Please spread the word about this limited-time opportunity! For additional information on starting a chapter with its own support group, request our Chapter Start-Up Guide or contact the DBSA Chapter Relations Department at (800) 826-3632 x154 or via email at startup@DBSAlliance.org.  


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Survey Reminder: Getting Help for Suicidal Thoughts

DBSA’s latest survey asks about your experience in dealing with thoughts of death or suicide. We appreciate that this subject is very sensitive, and these thoughts might seem frightening or shameful. But we believe it is important to understand how people cope with thoughts or feelings about suicide or self-harm. Other people may benefit from knowing what has—or has not—helped you. We appreciate your willingness to share your experiences.

Take the survey.


Care for Your Mind: July Highlights

This month, CareForYourMind.org opens discussion on a number of important mental health topics to help educate you about what’s going on in Washington and how you can affect change, as well as to solicit your feedback on how the mental health system has affected you!

Older Adults Need Specialized Mental Health Care
Make Mental Health Part of Overall Health
Change the Culture of Care
Mental Health Coverage in the Media

Coming Up
Don’t miss an informational post on July 18 to help you understand your rights and options in obtaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Visit the site and share your ideas and experiences to help create a mental health care system that works!


Bring Bipolar Into Focus

Distinguishing among bipolar I, bipolar II, and other forms of the disorder makes a big difference in getting the right treatment. Now psychiatry is trying to do it better.

Read the article at bp Magazine.



Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Positive Six: Try Something New This July

Welcome to the third month of the DBSA Positive Six Campaign—six months of small, positive changes to connect with your health and your community.

July introduces our Give It a Try Challenge. This month, we encourage you to try three new things you’ve been hesitant to try in the past. Check out a new type of food, be a tourist in your city, or try out a new hobby. You’ll be proud you did and hopefully have some fun! Visit the July challenge page for inspiration, thought starters, recipes, 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 August for free giveaways and inspiration to help you meet the next challenge!

August Sneak Peak

Don’t forget to join us the first Monday in August for the kick off of the New Connections 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. The August challenge encourages you to reach out to four individuals to make a connection. Whether you start a conversation with someone new, send an email, or write a note, you may make a new friend or reconnect with an old one!


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

Inhale, Exhale
For anxiety: I think sometimes I forget the value of breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.

I have to remember that perspective essentially rearranges reality.

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

July 1–31
DBSA Positive Six Give It a Try Challenge

July 18
Health Insurance Information on CFYM

August 1–31
DBSA Positive Six New Connections Challenge