DBSA e-Update April 2011

Quick Links to Articles Below

Join the DBSA Sustaining Society and Double Your Impact Going to the Conference Early or Live in Houston?
Congratulations to the 2010 Chapter Service Award Winners! DBSA Peer Specialist training: Coming in June to Massachusetts
Receive up to 27.25 Continuing Education Credits! DBSA Comments on Recent Media Coverage
Share Your Thoughts with DBSA and CABF A Bumpy Road: Dealing With Relapse
Research: What are we worried about? Wellness Tips from Peers
Become Certified in Mental Health First Aid in May  

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Join the DBSA Sustaining Society and Double Your Impact

DBSA has provided over 25 years of peer support because of the generosity of our community. Did you know that roughly 80% of DBSA’s budget comes from charitable contributions, making low-cost, life-saving resources available to those who need them most? And in 2011, more than ever, DBSA needs the support of people like YOU, who understand the importance of DBSA’s 1,000 peer–led support groups across the country; DBSA’s interactive websites such as DBSAlliance.org and FacingUs.org; DBSA’s widely lauded Peer Specialist Training program; and DBSA’s other empowering services and tools, offered when people need them, where they need them, and how they need to receive them.

 DBSA has a special way that you can help TODAY, and receive benefits for doing so! Celebrating its inaugural year, the DBSA Sustaining Society brings together and honors a group of dedicated individuals who contribute to the Annual Fund with a leadership gift of $1,500 or more. This crucial support secures core programming and covers important costs…like postage. Just think: with over 70,000 support group members throughout the United States, one piece of mail to each household adds up fast! Sustaining Society members provide such life-saving messages of hope for the five million people DBSA reaches every year! Through peer-based, recovery-oriented, services DBSA offers hope, help, and support for people living with mood disorders and those who love them. Sustaining Society investments in DBSA make this, and so much more, possible.

 Sustaining Society members enjoy the following annual benefits:

  • Recognition as a 2011 Sustaining Society Member on DBSA website and in printed publications
  • Complimentary tickets to the annual Friends Reception, taking place during the 2011 DBSA Conference: Peer Connections, this year in Houston, TX
  • Special recognition at the annual Conference with preferred seating during keynote presentations
  • Invitation to the annual Klerman Awards presentation with special opportunity to meet honorees 
  • And much more!

We hope you will ACT NOW! Please consider joining the DBSA Sustaining Society with a donation of $1,500 or more to the 2011 Annual Fund, TODAY! Several generous members of the Sustaining Society have agreed to match new members’ donations through April 30, doubling the impact of your gift! Pledge options are available; with a monthly gift of $167 for the remainder of 2011, you can enjoy annual benefits immediately!

We at DBSA extend our sincere thanks for gifts of any size. Your support helps fulfill DBSA’s mission to improve the lives of people living with mood disorders, and for that the entire DBSA community is so very grateful.

Depression and Bipolar Support AllianceCongratulations to the 2010 Chapter Service Award Winners!

DBSA is thrilled to announce the 2010 Chapter Service Award Winners! Chapters were evaluated on their involvement in the four primary function areas of DBSA chapters: Advocacy, Community Outreach, Education, and Support. While making the final decision was very difficult due to numerous outstanding submissions, we are very pleased to share with you the 2010 winners!

State Organization - DBSA New Jersey (NJ)
Small Chapter - DBSA Merrimack Valley (MA)
Rookie Chapter - DBSA Southwest Michigan (MI)
Rookie Chapter Honorable Mention - DBSA American Renascent Center (CA)

While we don't have room to list ALL of these groups accomplishments - here are a few highlights for your enjoyment:

  • DBSA Merrimack Valley created website videos for members to share their experiences as well as the chapter’s growth and development.
  • DBSA Southwest Michigan created a lending library for participants and has trained over 13 facilitators for their support groups.
  • DBSA American Renascent Center has developed multiple partnerships with other organizations, such as with the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation where they designed an art class for children of support group participants to  help express emotions while their parents are in group.
  • DBSA New Jersey sponsored a state-wide, one-day, mental health conference and developed a training seminar for DBSA facilitators on DBSA principles and goals, expected conduct at meetings and guidance on meeting structure, amongst others.

We want to thank all of our chapters for the amazing things they have done this past year. Please join us at Chapter Leadership Forum on May 20th where we will be recognizing these outstanding chapters again! 

Attend the DBSA 2011 National Conference and Receive up to 27.25 Continuing Education Credits! 

The following workshops have been approved for continuing education credit for Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Family and Marriage Therapists by the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers:

Receive up to 15.25 CEUs for Conference and Pre-Conference Institutes 

  • Living Well, Workplace, and Staying Alive pre-conference institutes on May 20, 3 CEUs per workshop
  • Each of the keynote addresses and educational breakout sessions on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, 1 CEU per session 

Approval for up to 12 CEUs for the Following Post-Conference Institute

  • The Mental Health First Aid Training May 23- May 24 

If you wish to register for the conference and receive CE credit, please contact Aimee Thompson-Webster at (312) 988-1178 or athompson@dbsalliance.org for more information.

Advance Registration Rates Available until April 30, 2011
Registration for the main conference, Saturday to Sunday noon, is only $110 - $125, which includes a boxed lunch on Saturday. You can register up until the day of the conference and on-site, but register soon to receive the best rates! Download the conference registration form (PDF), call (800) 826-3632, or register online. Visit www.DBSAlliance.org/Conference2011 for all of the conference details.

Deeply Discounted Hotel Rates!
Single or double rooms at the conference hotel, the Westin Galleria Houston, are only $109/night and, parking is free to all conference attendees! For reservations, call (713) 960-8100 and be sure to state that you’re attending the DBSA conference, or reserve online.

Depression and Bipolar Support AllianceShare Your Thoughts with DBSA and Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation

DBSA is participating in a short survey in conjunction with the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation to better understand how to meet the needs of parents and caregivers concerned with children's mental health. Please take the time to complete this short, 20 question survey, which will help:

- Inform content and features for vehicles like the websites and newsletters
- Identify the common experiences and needs of both parents and caregivers

Please click here and take a few moments to complete the survey.

Research: What are We Worried About?

DBSA and the University of Michigan Depression Center are moving forward swiftly on our joint effort to bring the consumer voice to researchers and develop a sustainable consumer clearinghouse for depression and bipolar disorder research. Our aim for the first year of this effort was to create opportunities to voice consumer needs and concerns about mental health research through the grant’s consumer researcher Steering Council and through focus groups with individuals from the Midwest who are living with depression and bipolar disorder. Here’s a brief summary of what we’re telling researchers, based on YOUR input:

  • We don’t know enough about the types of research taking place, and that it’s not only drug research.
  • We can’t easily find information on research participation opportunities.
  • We don’t trust researchers to act in our best interests, especially in research funded by pharmaceutical companies.
  • We don’t want to risk relapse by trying new drug treatments.
  • Researchers need to understand that money is not the only motivator for us to participate we want to help others and this is a big reason we participate. Researchers need to help show us how participating is helping others.
  • It’s important for us to feel like a valued part of the research team and to be treated with respect.
  • Once research is completed, we want to hear about the results.
  • We don’t know about and understand research safety protections.
  • Many of us are willing to participate in research requiring medical tests, to make information available from our medical records, and to provide tissue or gene samples.
  • We’re more likely to participate in research that:
    - Explores a new talk therapy (vs. a new medication)
    - Is run or endorsed by our clinical providers

Thank you to all who are informing DBSA’s efforts on this exciting initiative, including DBSA Steering Council representatives Carolyn Kristof, Leah Nakamura, and Hank Trenkle. And stay tuned for more information on a new Clearinghouse website and information line designed to give information and connect individuals with research opportunities relevant to them. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore research and clinical trials opportunities listed on the DBSA website.

Depression and Bipolar Support AllianceBecome Certified in Mental Health First Aid in May

DBSA is proud to present Mental Health First Aid training from our unique perspective as the nation’s leading consumer directed mental health organization. Mental Health First Aid is a 12-hour certification course designed to give members of the public key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Randomized controlled trials and a quantitative study have proven the effectiveness of this training course in improving participant knowledge of mental disorders, reducing stigma, and increasing the amount of help provided to others.

This course offers an ideal opportunity for consumers, friends or family members to learn how to recognize common symptoms of mental health and substance use problems, how to provide initial help, and how to assist an individual in obtaining appropriate assistance. Sign up today to participate May 23-24, 2011 at the Westin Galleria in Houston, Texas, following the DBSA National Conference.To register for this course, visit the conference registration page. Note: registraton to the conference is not required to register for this training.

Can’t attend in May? Contact DBSA at Training@DBSAlliance.org to learn more about bringing a Mental Health First Aid course to your local area.

Depression and Bipolar Support AllianceGoing to the Conference Early or Live in Houston?

Stop by the Facing Us Wellness Fair in Houston, TX, to glean personal wellness tips—body and mind.
This FREE community event will feature information, exhibits, and short presentations focused on ways to keep ALL of you healthy—your body and mind! Learn about resources to improve your physical and mental health—heart health, nutrition, exercise, mediation, smoking cessation, diabetes, mental health, and much more. Download the flyer (PDF) or visit the Facing Us Wellness Fair page for more information on this FREE event. And be sure to check out all the helpful wellness tools on FacingUs.org.


Thursday, May 19, 10:00 a.m. 6:30 p.m.
FREE to the public
Westin Galleria Houston, Plaza Ballroom

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA Peer Specialist training: Coming in June to Massachusetts

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. Topics covered in the 5-day training course include effective listening, using dissatisfaction as an avenue for change, Peer Specialist ethics, Recovery Dialogues©, and much more.

The next DBSA Peer Specialist training course takes place June 20-24, 2011 in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial
Veterans Hospital
200 Springs Rd.
Bedford, MA

Registration Fee
$975 per person includes training materials, beverage breaks, and post-training certification testing.

Submitting an application does not guarantee that you will be selected. All applicants will be notified of their selection status no later than May 27, 2011.



DBSA Comments on Recent DBSA Comments on Recent Media Coverage

Mental illness, mood disorders, and specifically bipolar disorder have recently been featured in media coverage of acclaimed and talented actress Catherine Zeta-Jones’ disclosure that she lives with bipolar disorder II. DBSA does not have an affiliation with Ms. Zeta-Jones, and we do not know the specifics of her condition, nor would we speculate on them. We simply wish Ms. Zeta-Jones and her family a private and peaceful journey towards wellness. And such a journey is certainly possible: a successful treatment plan and recovery are absolutely attainable for someone living with a mood disorder.

While very serious, depression and bipolar disorder are treatable illnesses. We hope people will educate themselves about depression and bipolar disorder by visiting DBSAlliance.org or Facebook.com/DBSA.National, and people who are concerned about their mental health should consult a doctor to obtain specific medical advice. A doctor can help someone with depression or bipolar disorder to develop a treatment plan, and adhering to such a plan will help many people to feel like themselves again and lead normal, healthy lives.

DBSA thanks Ms. Zeta-Jones for sharing that she lives with bipolar disorder II. Her disclosure shows that anyone can be affected by these illnesses. Indeed, many people with successful careers and wonderful families can struggle with mood disorders, but having an illness will not prevent them from more success and much happy time with their loved ones, so long as they can achieve a workable treatment plan. We hope that Ms. Zeta-Jones’ story will help educate people and connect them to treatment and organizations like ours, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

Depression and Bipolar Support AllianceA Bumpy Road: Dealing with Relapse

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 Spring 2011 issue of bp Magazine.

Doctors never talked to Elly L. about RELAPSE.

Although she was hospitalized during a manic episode and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, doctors never mentioned that it could happen again. Instead, Elly was stabilized, handed a prescription for mood stabilizers and discharged. She had no idea that she’d be battling mania and depression for the rest of her life.

“I was told that as long as I took my medications, I’d be okay,” recalls Elly, a mental health coach in Toronto, Ontario.

Elly experienced at least eight relapses between her diagnosis in 1978 and 1991. Each time, she was hospitalized, often placed in restraints and taken to the psychiatric ward in a police car or ambulance. Upon discharge, Elly always promised herself it would be her last hospital admission—but she had no idea how to stave off future relapses.

In bipolar disorder, relapse is defined as the return of depression or a manic or hypomanic episode after a period of wellness. According to a 1999 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 73 percent of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder experienced at least one relapse over a five-year period; of those who relapsed, two-thirds had multiple relapses…

Click here to read the full article.

Depression and Bipolar Support AllianceWellness 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!

Grounding to Help Anxiety
My therapist taught me this grounding technique for when I’m feeling anxious: think of five things in the moment that you can hear, five things in the moment you can see, and five things in the moment that you can feel. I find this helps me clear my mind and relax. Even these few moments of not worrying are great!

Laugh and the Whole World Laughs with You
I like to listen to or watch my favorite stand-up comedians when I’m feeling down.

24/7 Support
When I am in pain, I need to talk to someone. If you have a trustworthy 24/7 hotline in your community, put it on your speed dial. Then there is always someone who has time to talk to you, even if everyone else is “too busy”.

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.