DBSA e-Update April 2013

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DBSA Trains Veterans as Peer Specialists

DBSA proudly announces that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded DBSA a second contract to train and certify veterans as peer specialists to be employed by VA facilities across the country. Training prepares individual Veterans to assume roles in VA medical centers and other facilities as part of major expansion of peer support services within VA facilities.

The rapid increase in peer support positions results from an executive order, issued on August 31, 2012 by President Barack Obama, to improve access to mental health services for Veterans. The order directed the VA to expand its peer workforce by an additional 800 individuals. These new positions will only go to Veterans who have recovered or are recovering from a mental health condition and who are trained and certified according to VA requirements.

DBSA President Allen Doederlein is honored to bring DBSA’s nationally recognized training services to Veterans. “We know from 30 years of promoting and fostering peer support and peer leadership that sharing experience of a mental health condition has a unique power to affect understanding, acceptance, and a belief that recovery from debilitating mental health symptoms is possible,” says Doederlein. “To bring this peer perspective into the lives of our nation’s Veterans who need mental health care is an opportunity to celebrate their selfless dedication to our nation’s safety and give back to those who give so much.”

Read the full press release.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Register Now for the DBSA 2013 National Conference

Register now for a full weekend of hope, help, education, and inspiration at the DBSA 2013 National Conference: Stronger Together, which takes place June 14–16. Over the course of three days in sunny Miami, FL, Stronger Together puts you in the room with peers, mental health experts, and the world's leading clinicians in the field of mood disorders for moving keynote speeches, more than 20 breakout sessions from which to choose, nightly support groups, and special events. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Keynotes from Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Priscilla Ridgway, Victoria Maxwell, and Melody Moezzi
  • Complimentary lunches with each day of registration
  • Meet and greet with fellow attendees, speakers, and DBSA staff
  • Breakouts to help you build better support groups and utilize your personal strengths to live well
  • Comedy Night with David Granirer
  • Biscayne Bay Boat Tour Fundraiser
  • Post- conference institutes that address entrepreneurship and impulsivity

Read the conference brochure and register today!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Note from Allen

My heart goes out to the thousands of people affected by the recent, awful tragedy at the Boston Marathon. All of us at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by this terrible event, and we wish everyone peace and resilience.

Despite our horror at what happened, we have been heartened to see how much of the conversation about how we will move on from this tragedy has focused on the strength and resilience of the people of Boston, and the people of the United States. It is our strength and resilience we must come to in times of crisis, and, as we know from our work within the mental health community, it is such strength and resilience that helps us live well. A focus on resilience is the cornerstone of DBSA’s training of people with mental health conditions to use their personal experiences to guide their peers as peer specialists. The DBSA family is humbled and honored to have been selected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide this training to hundreds of Veterans across the nation. These Veterans, whom we are so proud to be training, will be poised to bring their powerful personal experiences and resiliencies to their peers who need treatment for mental health conditions. And this is fitting indeed, for who can bring more strength and resilience to the process of wellness than our nation’s servicemen and women?

So that the peer voice is heard not only within the VA (where we are proud to report it is heard loud and clear!), but within all arenas in which mental health is considered, DBSA’s Board and staff have committed to an increasing focus on advocacy. An exciting new demonstration of this commitment is our Care for Your Mind blog, which will launch on May 1, 2013. This blog will galvanize a conversation around mental health issues, including policy matters, and the peer voice will be central to all of the blog’s explorations. We are delighted to be launching this project in partnership with Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA), who do important work for families and caregivers who are helping their loved ones achieve better lives.

FFDA is a national organization headquartered in the Boston area, and we know they are of course reeling from the recent events at the marathon. So I close with not only our thanks, but also our good wishes, to our friends and colleagues at FFDA, DBSA Boston, and all of you reading this. May we all be strong and resilient, as I know for certain we are.

–Allen Doederlein, DBSA President

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

How do changes to our mental health care system affect you?

Learn from experts and peers in mental health, voice your opinion on proposed changes, and share your challenges and experiences with the mental health care system starting May 1 on the new CareForYourMind.org. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) and Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA) developed the Care for Your Mind community to initiate and facilitate active dialogue about emerging policies and regulations that will determine the availability and quality of mental health care services across the nation.
Care for Your Mind is a place where you and others affected by the mental health care system can openly discuss its strengths and weakness with thought leaders and advocates so that together we can build a solution that works. Starting May 1, each week an expert on mental health reform presents a new post on a particular challenge facing the mental health care system. But the conversation around these challenges will remain unproductively one-sided without you. By lending your voice to the Care for Your Mind community, you can help policymakers understand the realities of the mental health care system for individuals living with a mood disorder and their families. Hearing your views, as well as the views of others, will result in more meaningful conversations about these critical issues and increase our chances of building a mental health care system that works for all of us.
Be Part of the Care for Your Mind Community

  • Help us address the topics most important to you. Take this short survey.
  • Consider sharing a personal story about challenges you've faced with the mental health system.
  • Sign up for CFYM News to receive information on upcoming feature posts and notices about key issues impacting mental health care.
  • Join us at CareForYourMind.org on May 1 as Ron Manderscheid reviews some of the essential steps to getting access to high quality mental health care.
  • Visit CareForYourMind.org weekly to learn about key mental health reform issues and share your perspective

We hope you'll join us in this new community as we work to help shape the future of mental health care.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Chapter Spotlight

DBSA is proud to recognize our state organizations and chapters during National Volunteer Week, April 21-27! Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses on the impact and power of volunteerism and service. Ninety-three percent of DBSA state organizations and chapters are completely volunteer-run, meaning they have no paid staff. These volunteer leaders give their time, talents, and finances selflessly so that individuals in need of support and education can receive it at no cost. Many of our chapters and state organizations consistently go above and beyond and we’re proud to recognize these groups next week and every week! To see what some of our affiliates are up to, visit the Chapter Spotlights section of our website!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA Positive Six Campaign Kicks Off May 1

Last year, many of you joined us for the DBSA Positive Six Campaign, six months of challenges to inspire you to make small, positive changes in your life. A strong support network, good physical health, and giving to others are all contributors towards good mental health for anyone, but especially for the more than 21 million people who live with mood disorders. We invite you to take the challenge again or join us for the first time on May 1.

Whether it's incorporating a new habit, reconnecting with old friends, sharing kindness, or simply making someone smile, little things can make a big difference—in your life and in the lives of others.

Get Involved

  • Visit the Positive Six webpage to read about each month’s challenge. Check out the site each month for ideas on how to fulfill the challenge, read educational articles, chuckle at the challenge cartoon, and much more!
  • Get ready to take the May Feeding Kindness Challenge. Reach out to someone to share a meal or donate canned goods to a local food pantry during the month of May.
  • Visit our Facebook page on the first Monday of each month to share your ideas about fulfilling the challenge for a chance to win +6 merchandise.
  • Join our +6 event page on Facebook and visit the page often. We will be making frequent announcements and would love to hear about your successes each month!

Download the +6 Challenge Sign and send us your challenge photos! Send your photo to events@dbsalliance.org to share on our Facebook and Positive Six site. Note that images should be in JPG format and less than 5mb each.

Have fun and do something good for yourself and your community!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Life Unlimited: Meet Michelle

People living with mood disorders share their stories of strength and inspiration.

I took a chance and told my closest co-workers that I had bipolar disorder, because I knew I would need them to be part of my support team. They were compassionate and understanding. There were times I thought I would never make it through the day, but they were there to help me stay the course. I have been employed full time since then. Read Michelle’s story.

Life Unlimited Award
Do you know someone who lives a life unlimited by depression or bipolar disorder and who helps others do the same? Nominate them for the 2013 DBSA Life Unlimited Award. You must have the individual’s permission to nominate them. Nomination deadline is May 1, 2013. The winner will be recognized in a ceremony at the DBSA 2013 National Conference in Miami, FL.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

The Power of Two

A few straightforward strategies can help you both weather bipolar shifts and even come through stronger as a couple. Read the full article at bp Magazine.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

Recognizing Negative Thinking
Make a list called Lies I Tell Myself. Write down all of the lies that you whisper over and over in your head when you are spiraling downward. Refer to it often to remind yourself that they are lies.

Hit the Books
I find my local library to be a great source for recovery. In addition to many self-help materials, I often find that choosing fun/fiction books can lift my spirits. I can access the Internet, and sometimes Google silly things like bubbles or connect with support. I also gather info about upcoming events in my community. I have seen online downloads for Kindle, so that they keep up with the times. These and other benefits may be just down the road at your local library!

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

April 18
Application Deadline
Stand-Up Comic Training & Conference Debut
Miami, FL

May 1
Care for Your Mind
National Launch

May 1
Positive Six: Feeding Kindess Challenge

June 1
Positive Six: Positive Change Challenge

June 14–16
DBSA 2013 National Conference: Stronger Together
Miami, FL

June 17
DBSA Post-Conference Institutes
Miami, FL

June 17–21
Collaborative Recovery Training for Peer Specialists
Miami, FL