DBSA e-Update September 2012

Quick Links to Articles Below

We Search Together National Launch Ask the Doc: What's the Right Type of Therapy
Join Us for Concordance 2012 Workplace Giving Made Easy
Positive Six: Bodies in Motion Fall Peer Specialist Trainings
Registration Now Open for DBSA 2013
National Conference: Stronger Together

Mental Health First Aid in Springfield

Trouble Sleeping and Emotional Stability Wellness Tips from Peers
A Note from Allen Save the Date

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

We Search Together National Launch

DBSA proudly announces the national launch of We Search Together, an initiative that makes it easier for mental health consumers and researchers to work together to create a better future for people with mood disorders.

Research breakthroughs about early detection, treatment, and prevention are critical to helping the more than 21 million Americans living with depression or bipolar disorder. That’s why DBSA and the University of Michigan Depression Center (UMDC) have partnered to create WeSearchTogether.org—to bridge the gap between researchers and people living with mood disorders.

“We at DBSA are proud to partner with the University of Michigan Depression Center in a groundbreaking research effort that relies on the shared commitment and wisdom of both individuals living with mood disorders and the researchers who play a critical role in supporting our recovery. We Search Together lays the groundwork to promote meaningful research, responsive to the needs and concerns of people living with mood disorders, on a national level,” said DBSA President Allen Doederlein.

At WeSearchTogether.org, you’ll find answers to general questions about mental health research, stories from real research participants and researchers, guides to help you make informed decisions about participating in research, and a database of mood disorder studies that can connect you to relevant studies in your area.

Visit WeSearchTogether.org to find out more and get involved.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Join Us for Concordance 2012

Is your treatment plan a prescription or collaboration? DBSA is changing the dialogue between mental health practitioners and consumers and we invite you to be a part of it.

On Monday, November 12, DBSA joins forces with the International Society for Bipolar Disorder (ISBD) to host a live and simultaneous web-streamed panel discussion about enhancing collaborative care.

Instead of individuals simply following a plan as outlined by a mental health professional, this panel of consumers and clinicians discusses the idea of concordance: clinicians working together with consumers to jointly develop and agree on a treatment plan that addresses the goals and limitations of each individual. Learn about building better relationships with mental health care providers and accomplishing your unique goals at Concordance 2012.

November 12, 2012 | 2:30–4:30pm EST
Online: Everywhere
In person: Cahners Theater, Museum of Science, Boston, MA

Anyone can attend the event from the convenience of their homes by simply visiting our streaming site or Facebook to watch from our fan page. To learn more about watching online or to secure your spot in Boston, RSVP now for the live or web-streamed event.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Positive Six: Bodies in Motion

This month, the challenge for the DBSA Positive Six Campaign is about getting your body in motion. We challenge you to spend five minutes each day doing something that gets your body moving, whether it’s dancing, walking, doing chores, or practicing a yoga pose.

Among DBSA’s Positive Six September resources, you’ll find a calendar of five-minute movement ideas and a podcast that explores how one woman’s recovery journey was influenced by her decision to become active in dog agility trials with her pet. As always, we’ve provided thought starters, a new cartoon, and more.

Get Involved

October Sneak Peak
Don’t forget to join us October 1 for the kick off of our final challenge: Spreading Smiles. We will be giving away +6 merchandise at the top of every hour (9am-5pm Central) on our Facebook page. The October challenge encourages you to spread smiles by doing something kind and unexpected for six people throughout the month.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Registration Now Open for DBSA 2013 National Conference: Stronger Together

DBSA welcomes you to register for the DBSA 2013 National Conference: Stronger Together. The weekend-long event connects you with a community of peers, with leading researchers in the field of mood disorders, and with the skills you need to discover and employ your own personal strengths for better living. Over the course of three days in sunny Miami, FL, Stronger Together delivers hope, help, education, and inspiration through moving keynote speeches, skills-based breakout sessions, support groups, and special events.

Register early for all three days to receive the best value. Registration by mail or fax is open now, and online registration will open on October 17. Register today.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Trouble Sleeping and Emotional Stability

Jane Mountain, M.D., answers questions about sleep and emotional stability at BP Magazine.

Sleep is an essential clue to what is going on with bipolar disorder, and mood and sleep affect each other. Poor sleep can intensify difficulties with mood, and mood can affect our ability to sleep. In mania or hypomania, sleep is decreased and energy is increased. In depression, sleep may be increased or decreased, and energy is lacking. Practicing good sleep hygiene has a huge impact in managing bipolar disorder. Read the full story at BP Magazine.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

A Note from Allen

I hate to exercise. I know many people eventually love their time exercising once they’ve done it for awhile. I am not one of those individuals. I still loathe working out, even though I’ve been doing it regularly since February of this year.

Despite dreading it beforehand, I love the time after I exercise. I notice an improvement in my mood shortly following my workout. I feel just generally better—exactly like people say you will. That, to me, makes the grueling workout worth it. It was with this scientifically vetted concept of exercise improving mental health that we conceived of the September Positive Six Challenge: Bodies in Motion. The commitments, even small ones, we make to fitness can have immediate and long-term benefits for physical (and mental) health and well-being.

I’ve made exercise part of my daily routine for seven months so far, and in September I’m intensifying my efforts. But I can imagine many of you reading this (like me in the past when my doctor extolled the virtues of exercise during every annual physical) saying, “I don’t want to do that. I can’t,” and skipping this month’s challenge. Indeed, people saying, “Oh, you should really exercise,” has never been especially compelling to me. We should do a lot of things.

What made exercise something that I actually do now? I think it had to do with a conversation I had with my dad back in February. I was telling him that I had joined a gym but that I had yet to go. It dawned on me that I was complaining about having to work out to a man with only one leg. (My dad had a leg amputated due to complications of diabetes.) I realized that even the ability to walk four blocks to the gym was something he didn’t possess. I went to the gym that night, right after we hung up the phone.

Six months later, my father died. Since it happened, despite feeling lost and behind in so many areas of my life, I haven’t missed more than a couple of sessions at the gym. I know it’s helped my mood, and my grieving process, to be physically active. But sticking with the gym has more profound significance.

My late father had depression—often debilitating depression. Like many people with a mood disorder, he also had a host of other co-occurring issues: smoking, heart disease, diabetes. Not only did he lose a limb to diabetes, he also died at 70—six years earlier than the U.S. life expectancy for men. While I’m so glad that, overall, more of his time was joyous than miserable, he nevertheless spent far too many of his too-few years in a state of listlessness and sorrow. And he was not alone: according to an important and much-cited report by the Medical Directors Council of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), people with serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population.

I know that my father was proud that I work with DBSA. Some of this was understandable: he thought it was cool that I met Patty Duke, Patrick Kennedy, and the other extraordinary people on our Honorary Advisory Board. On a deeper level, though, he agreed with me that it is exhilarating to help thousands of people deal with something that, while often harrowing, is also treatable and even preventable. With my father’s death, I am both personally and professionally energized to stay in motion.

I miss my dad terribly. But I know my father would want me to live, to live joyously, and to live for a long, long time. So I am resolved that I will continue to make him proud. And I will also help myself and others to do better than he could in our own battles with mood disorders. I have a diagnosis, yes, but I will monitor my moods and ensure that I remain concordant with and adherent to my treatment plans. I will work to get adequate sleep and to eat healthfully. I will develop and nurture my network of family, friends, and community.

And, yes, I will exercise. I will stay in motion so that I—and, I truly hope, all of you—will have excellent, long, healthy, joyous lives.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Greg Simon, MD, MPH

Ask the Doc: What's the Right Type of Therapy

How would I know which type of talk therapy is appropriate for me? I’ve suffered abuse both as a child and as an adult. I’ve had problems with amnesia all my life, so never talked about any abuse. Therapists don't want me to go back to the past. What should I do?

Finding the right counseling or therapy is complicated—but you already know that! You have to think about the specific person you are seeing (do they listen to you and care about you) and the kind of therapy they provide (does this approach seem to help you). Start by telling yourself that you are hiring a therapist to help you. That means you get to decide what the most important problem is, and your therapist’s job is to work with you to solve it. Explain how you think that your experience of abuse or trauma affects you now. Ask your therapist how they would try to help you with that. Your therapist should be able to describe some specific things that the two of you can try together. There are different brands of psychotherapy, including cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and EMDR. Each is based on a specific idea about what helps people. Your therapist should be able to tell you what idea or ideas they think will be most helpful for you. And you should be able to see how those specific ideas apply to the things you discuss in each visit. If your therapist suggests a plan that doesn't sound right to you, it's a good idea to listen and consider it. Your therapist probably does have some useful training and experience. But you are the best judge of what works for you. Here are some of the most important questions you can ask: How will this kind of therapy help with the problems I think are most important? When and how will we decide if this approach is helping me?


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.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Workplace Giving Made Easy

DBSA appreciates the generosity of all our donors, especially those that give through a workplace campaign. These campaigns are one of the most efficient and effective ways to conduct your charitable giving. Donors coordinate with their workplace to donate a portion of their paycheck to their selected charities. That way, they can make multiple deductions over a period of time and enjoy the convenience of the automated process.

We would like to extend a big thank you to everyone that participated in a workplace giving campaign last year. Your gift is special to us and we are glad you chose to designate DBSA as the recipient of your generosity. In 2011, DBSA received approximately $75,000 in donations from workplace campaigns like United Way, Community Health Charities, Combined Federal Campaign, and corporation-specific programs. These campaigns benefit the employee, employer, and the charity in multiple ways. Employees are able to choose the specific charity they want to support and have confidence the charity is reputable if the giving is conducted through a national organization like Community Health Charities.

Ask your employer today what type of workplace giving program is available to you. If they are part of a national campaign like Community Health Charities, make sure to use DBSA’s specific designation number so your donation is allocated correctly.

Designation Numbers by Campaign
Community Health Charities:12000
Combined Federal Campaign:12000
IRS EIN: 36-3379124

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Fall Peer Specialist Trainings

Recovery is living a life of our choosing in the community of our choice and being productive in the way we choose to be. Recovery is freedom. Recovery is life.
–DBSA Peer Specialist training participant

More and more individuals and service delivery systems are recognizing the power of peer support in promoting wellness and recovery from mental health conditions and addictions. DBSA is proud to be a leader in peer specialist training nationally as a key part of our mission to provide hope, help, support, and education. Are you interested in training to take on this new role of supporting the recovery of your peers in your community? Apply for one of these upcoming training courses today.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Mental Health First Aid in Springfield

You are more likely to encounter a person in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. Would you know what to do? 

For most members of the general public, the answer is no. To address this problem, DBSA offers Mental Health First Aid training in Springfield, Illinois, October 22–23, 2012. Mental Health First Aid is a 12-hour training certification course in which participants develop their mental health literacy and learn how to identify, understand, and respond appropriately to signs of people experiencing mental health challenges. Participants will receive a comprehensive training manual.

“We’re delighted to bring Mental Health First Aid to Springfield,” said Lisa Goodale, DBSA Vice President of Training. “As an organization led by people who live successfully with mental illnesses, DBSA is ideally positioned to facilitate this program and help more and more people find their way to recovery.” The course is promoted in partnership with the DBSA Central Illinois chapter.

WHEN: Monday–Tuesday, Oct. 22–23, 2012
WHERE: First United Methodist Church, 2941 S. Koke Mill Rd., Springfield, IL 62711
COST: $75.00 for DBSA chapter participants / $95.00 for general public
Download Flyer

Register by October 17, 2012.

For information on how your organization can sponsor a course in your local area, e-mail Training@DBSAlliance.org.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

Age of Enlightenment
If you accept you will be accepted. If you except you will be excepted.

Support Groups
Join a support group. It lures you out of the house, gets you talking about your concerns among peers, and reminds you that people care and you’re not alone. Since joining a local DBSA chapter, I’ve been staying healthier and sticking to my meds better than ever before.

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, 2012
DBSA +6 Bodies in Motion Challenge

October 1–31, 2012
DBSA +6 Spreading Smiles Challenge

October 10, 2012
DBSA Chapter Leadership Forum
Portland, OR

October 15–19, 2012
DBSA Peer Specialist Core Training Course
Wausau, WI

October 22–23
DBSA Mental Health First Aid Training
Springfield, IL

November 12, 2012
Concordance 2012
Online and in Boston, MA

November 26–30, 2012
DBSA Peer Specialist Core Training Course
Baltimore, MD