DBSA e-Update November 2011

Quick Links to Articles Below

Greg Montgomery Teleconference Chat November 22nd A Note from Allen
Share Your Opinions of Mental Health Research 2012 DBSA Peer Specialist Training and Certification
Free Webinar We Connect Now Website Unites College Students with Disabilities
Ask the Doctor Q & A New Health Resource
DBSA and Smoking Cessation One-Two Punch: Men with Depression and Anxiety

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Greg Montgomery Teleconference Chat November 22nd

Join us for a live telechat with All-Pro NFL Punter and Mental Health Advocate, Greg Montgomery on Tuesday, November 22nd. DBSA President, Allen Doederlein, will chat with Greg about his inspirational story of living with bipolar disorder as well as the educational work Greg is doing within the mental health community. The chat will feature a lengthy Q & A session, so please bring your questions for Greg or submit them in advance here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
5:00-6:00pm Central (6:00 - 7:00pm Eastern, 4:00 - 5:00pm Mountain, 3:00 - 4:00pm Pacific)
To participate in the call, dial (866) 679-8068 and enter the conference code 1188276976

All-Pro NFL punter Greg Montgomery's journey with bipolar disorder began in 1997 while playing with the Baltimore Ravens. Ultimately, his journey towards recovery has been a positive and successful one. Now almost 14 years after his diagnosis, Greg is a powerful advocate in the field of mental health. He recognizes that help is desperately needed for the millions living with mental illness and is making a difference by speaking out. Through his blog, Zen In The Art of Living Bipolar, Greg openly shares his experiences of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder with educational, honest, and engaging content.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Share Your Opinions of Mental Health Research

Help us better understand what people living with depression or bipolar disorder think about mental health research by taking a brief, 10-minute survey. Your answers will help researchers work better with communities of people living with depression or bipolar disorder. Take the survey!

This survey is being conducted by DBSA in partnership with researchers at the University of Michigan Depression Center. This partnership, supported by a 3-year grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is creating a unique forum for communication between consumers and investigators while raising awareness of depression and bipolar research.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Free Webinar December 12th:
Seven Proven Strategies to Enhance Your Wellbeing During the Holidays

Join presenter Graeme Cowan: Monday Dec 12, 7-8pm CST (8-9pm EST, 6-7pm MST, 5-6pm PST)
Let’s face it, the Holidays can be stressful time. Lots of presents to buy, too much food and alcohol consumed, and exercise ignored. For some it represents seeing people that have been avoided all year. Not surprisingly, calls to helplines and charities go through the roof during the holiday period. This one hour interactive webinar will help cover strategies to help inoculate you from harmful stress, and will include:

  • Proven low cost actions to enhance your mood and wellbeing
  • How to avoid unhelpful situations
  • Questions and answers

Space is limited to 100 people. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/697964326
(Please note: the registration page will reflect Australian time, but the webinar is at 7pm Monday Dec 12, Central time.)

Graeme Cowan is an Australian author and speaker who is partnering with DBSA to produce the book “BACK FROM THE BRINK: Americans tell their stories of overcoming depression”. He spoke at the DBSA conference in Chicago when blogger Marcia Purse wrote "The highest point of all was the last event - keynote speaker Graeme Cowan's "How to Bounce Back and Thrive in Challenging Times." LinkedIn http://au.linkedin.com/in/graemecowan1

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Dr. Greg Simon
Greg Simon, MD, MPH, is a psychiatrist and researcher at Group Health Cooperative at the Center for Health Studies in Seattle. His research focuses on improving the quality and availability of mental health services for people living with mood disorders, and he has a specific interest in activating consumers to expect and demand more effective mental health care.

Ask the Doctor Q & A

I've been through ECT treatments for 2 years. I worry about the treatments causing long-term damage to my brain. Can any of the current or upcoming treatments replace ECT for treatment of medication-resistant medication illness?

It's clear that ECT affects short-term memory. If you think of your brain as a computer, ECT can erase anything that you haven't yet saved to your hard disk. Some people can't remember events from the day of each treatment. Some people lose memory for the previous few days. For people receiving ECT treatments two or three times a week, that can mean remembering very little of the whole treatment.

It's less clear if ECT causes ongoing memory problems. To continue the computer anaology, the question is whether ECT damages your hard disk so you can't save information in the future. Most research says that ECT doesn't cause long-term memory problems. But some people do describe long-term problems with memory after ECT.

Concerns about risks of ECT (memory problems or other risks of anesthesia) were a major motivation to develop alternative treatments. These alternatives - transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) - were hoped to have the effectiveness of ECT without the risks or side effects. Both TMS and VNS have both been approved for treatment of major depression that does not improve with standard antidepressant medications. But it is not clear that either VNS or TMS is as effective as ECT for severe depression that has not responded to treatment with several medications. For the most severe and treatment-resistant depression, ECT still has the strongest evidence for effectiveness.

Thank you to Dr. Greg Simon, Chair of the DBSA Scientific Advisory Board, 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 December 1st to be considered for the December eUpdate.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA and Smoking Cessation Leadership Center Partner to Reduce the Burden of Tobacco Use

A Smoking and Mental Health Survey was conducted by DBSA with support from the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). This groundbreaking survey examined tobacco use, quit attempts, tobacco-related attitudes and intentions among individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder who smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.

Judith J. Prochaska, Ph.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor in Residence, Department of Psychiatry, UCSF, published and disseminated the study, which was initiated with DBSA leadership. Allen Doederlein, DBSA President, remarks on the partnership, "We at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance appreciate the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center's interest and investment in smoking cessation research and education among the significant percentage of smokers who live with mood disorders. We are immensely proud to have been part of this study, article, and area of work."

Read more about the study and survey in “An online survey of tobacco use, intentions to quit, and cessation strategies among people living with bipolar disorder,” published in Bipolar Disorders, An International Journal of Psychiatry and Neurosciences.

Contributors to the project include Prochaska; Reason S. Reyes, MPA, Director of Technical Assistance, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center; Steven A. Schroeder, MD, Distinguished Professor of Health and Health Care, Department of Medicine, Director Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, UCSF; Doederlein; Allen S. Daniels, Ed.D, Special Consultant and Immediate past Executive Vice President and Director of Scientific Affairs, DBSA; and Brenda Bergeson MD, Family Medical Associates, Itasca, IL, past Director of Scientific Affairs, DBSA.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

A Note from Allen

My heart goes out to the millions of people who have lost a loved one to suicide. The pain of this loss, and the despair that can lead one to this tragic end, are overwhelming and upsetting. It is estimated that up to two-thirds of the people who take their lives are diagnosed with a depressive disorder, and this sobering statistic reminds me that this condition we live with can all too often be a life-threatening one. Our choices about treatment, our efforts to build and maintain strong support structures, our maintenance of health habits: these are crucial to our very survival. The need for awareness and education about depression and bipolar disorder is urgent. DBSA support groups and educational materials are essential. We at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance must maintain, strengthen, and grow our national network of people who understand and can help with the pain of a mood disorder. It is a matter of life and death.

This weekend, our colleagues at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention present the 13th Annual International Survivors of Suicide Day in communities across the country and online. This powerful event provides an opportunity to continue the healing process after the terrible loss of a suicide, to connect with a community of people who understand this devastation, and to celebrate and honor the lives of those we have lost to suicide. I urge anyone who has experienced the loss of suicide, or who simply wishes to be part of the vital community of remembrance, to participate.

Each time I learn that DBSA has received a gift of hope made in memory of someone who has taken her or his life, I say that person’s name out loud. “Daniel.” “Patrick.” “Rebecca.” “Lori.” And so many—too many—more. I say their names as a small way to keep them with us in our collective, living memory. I say their names to celebrate their lives and to honor the strength and courage needed by those who must cope with such horrific loss. I say their names to propel myself forward when I myself begin to feel the darkness. I say their names as a reminder that we must continue our work, our life-saving work, to inform, empower, support, and inspire people who live with mood disorders.

In celebration of the living memory of those we have lost,

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Applications Now Available for January 2012 DBSA Peer Specialist Training and Certification

DBSA Peer Specialist training courses prepare people living with mental illnesses to use their experiences and their stories to assist their peers in moving toward healthy lives in recovery. Course content delivers a foundation in recovery principles, intervention techniques and ethical practice. More than 1,000 individuals throughout the U.S. have enhanced their peer support skills and gone on to new volunteer and employment roles through DBSA Peer Specialist training and certification. The intensive 5-day training curriculum includes sessions on effective listening, using dissatisfaction as an avenue for change, Peer Specialist ethics, Recovery Dialogues©, and much more. DBSA Peer Specialist training and certification meets competency standards by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services.

Applications are now being accepted for our next training course, scheduled for January 23-27, 2012 in Chicago. Application deadline is Dec. 12, 2011. Download the application form. For more information, contact us at training@DBSAlliance.org. Take the first step in joining the Peer Specialist workforce!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

We Connect Now Website Unites College Students with Disabilities

We Connect Now is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to uniting college students with disabilities regarding issues related to higher education and employment. Creator Gabriela McCall gathered the idea for the website while in high school and looking at possible colleges to attend. Gabriela shares how it all began, “I noticed that there was not a website designed to address different issues related to college students with disabilities all in one place. I started the We Connect Now website as a college freshman with a grant from Young People for the American Way ("YP4") after attending their leadership conference. That was in 2008 and three years later the We Connect Now website is still going strong.”

The website has sections on current events, blogs, student stories, links, jobs and chapters, among others. We Connect Now has been linked to by universities, groups and government entities serving people with disabilities in all fifty states and in ten foreign countries. A member of the We Connect Now community shares, "I use it [We Connect Now] personally for the encouraging articles of people in similar situations, on Facebook and on the website in both video and text form for accessibility." The organization is now also connecting people in person on campuses across the country. “My favorite page on the website is the Chapters page because it shows the positive effect We Connect Now is having on college campuses throughout the country,” remarks Gabriela.

DBSA applauds Gabriela’s efforts to connect the student population with resources that connect younger individuals with peer support.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

New Health Resource From UIC Center on Psychiatric Disability & Co-Occuring Medical Conditions

Widely-quoted research shows that people in mental health recovery die 25 years earlier than those in the general population. Most of these deaths are from medical conditions that can be prevented with healthy diet and exercise (heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc.). The UIC Center on Psychiatric Disability and Co-Occurring Medical Conditions has been focused on improving the physical health of people with mental health issues and is offering a new approach to facilitate weight management and well-being among people in mental health recovery.

Take part of a self-guided weight loss and nutrition class that is practical, encouraging, and focused on small goals adding up to success. Use either the teacher manual or participant manual, which provide a step-by-step guide to help people in recovery lose weight via healthy eating and physical activity. The manuals provide all the materials and activities to use for the 8-week class. Participants learn about setting realistic weight loss targets, nutrition facts and food labels, the value of physical activity, meal planning on a budget, tips for healthy eating in restaurants, and cooking to support a healthier lifestyle. They also read testimonials from peers who are meeting their wellness and weight goals. Start a class today by downloading the free leader and participant manuals here. The Center is funded by NIDRR & CMHS.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

One-Two Punch: Men with Depression and Anxiety

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 Jodi Helmer, is from the Fall 2011 issue of esperanza magazine.

When Kevin S. began to feel irritable, anxious and exhausted, he attributed the symptoms to his job, certain the long hours and high-pressure environment he faced as a banker on Wall Street were to blame for his moods.

“It started to weigh on me and affected my ability to get through the day,” says the 39-year-old, now an Internet entrepreneur in California. “I knew there was something wrong, that it wasn’t right to feel so sad and anxious for so long.”

Hobbled by fatigue, Kevin struggled to work the long hours his job demanded. Social anxiety made it hard to endure the “water cooler” atmosphere at the office. Instead of joining in for happy hour, Kevin withdrew from his colleagues, spending increasing amounts of time alone. He quit his job in 1998, but the symptoms persisted…

Read the full article

Save the Date


November 19, 2011
International Survivors of Suicide Day

November 22,2011
Greg Montgomery Teleconference Chat

December 12, 2011
Webinar with Graeme Cowan

January 23-27, 2012
DBSA Peer Specialist Training course in Chicago, IL