Important security updates for

2009 National Conference
Educational Sessions

The DBSA 2009 National Conference (Friday noon - Sunday noon) will feature over 16 educational breakout sessions, 3 peer roundtables, 3 general sessions, and 5 keynote presentations from some of North America's leading mental health experts, educators, and advocates. Be sure also to check out our keynote presentations and pre- and post-conference institutes (Friday morning and Sunday afternoon). 

Schedule of Breakout Sessions

FRIDAY, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Audrey Tyrka

Alternative Treatments: Evaluating Your Options
Audrey Tyrka, MD, PhD (bio)
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry and Human Behavior,
Brown Medical School
Associate Chief of the Mood Disorders Program
Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
(2009 Klerman Young Investigator Awardee)

For many people living with mood disorders, the usual treatment choices are not effective enough or cause too many side effects. This session will discuss how you can evaluate various third- and fourth-line treatments. We’ll evaluate the possible benefits and risks of some specific treatments including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). We'll also discuss how, as consumers, you can evaluate information about new or experimental treatments, as well as what you should consider before enrolling in research on new treatments.

Donna Dykstra and Bucky 2009

Psychiatric Service Dogs
Donna Dykstra (& Bucky) (bio)
Freelance Consultant & Peer Specialist

Many of us know the joys and benefits of sharing our lives with pets that give us unconditional love. Service dogs (and other service animals) take those joys and benefits to new levels; they become more than pets and are trained to perform tasks that help to “mitigate our disabilities.” What does that mean? How does a pet become a service dog, and what’s the difference? In this session, Donna will cover these questions, explain specific tasks that service dogs can be trained to perform for us, and discuss local and federal laws pertaining to service dogs. Sharing a few humorous anecdotes, she will also address the issue of etiquette—for us, our dog, and the public.

Malkia Newman
M. Newman

Emily Smith
E. Smith

Recovery: It's a Journey, Not a Destination
Malkia Maisha Newman (bio) & Emily Smith (bio)
Community Educators
Community Network Services (CNS) Anti-Stigma Program

Recovery is about people seeing themselves as capable of recovery rather than as passive recipients of professional interventions. Personal stories suggest that much personal recovery happens without professional help. In this workshop, community educators Margaret Thele and Malkia Maisha Newman will bridge the professional/consumer divide. This interactive, poetry-inspired, multimedia presentation on recovery is more of a word painting than a workshop. It will explore all of the elements vital to recovery and help attendees identify what essentials they need to incorporate into their personal plan as they travel their own unique recovery journey. 

Jehannine Austin 09 vertical

Cause & Effect: More Understanding = More Control + Less Guilt
Jehannine Austin, BSc, PhD (bio)
Assistant Professor in Psychiatry & Medical Genetics Departments, Certified Genetic Counselor
University of British Columbia

This session will provide a clear and comprehensible explanation of cutting-edge research into the causes of depression and bipolar disorder….and offer a sneak peek into what the future holds. Jehannine will examine how genetics, as well as how our experiences, contribute to the development of mental illnesses. She’ll will discuss predisposition to mental illness but also debunk the idea of fatalism (that we’re powerless to change our “fate”). Finally, she’ll look at those things that individuals, despite a predisposition to mental illness, can control to regain and/or retain wellness. The aim is to leave attendees feeling less guilt and stigma…and more hope and empowerment.

SATURDAY, 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Trisha Suppes

New APA Guidelines for Bipolar Disorder
Trisha Suppes, MD, PhD (bio)
Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Stanford University School of Medicine
Director of Bipolar Disorders Research Program, VA Palo Alto Health Care System
(2009 Klerman Senior Investigator Awardee)

This session provides information on the latest update of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Practice Guidelines for bipolar disorder. The treatment guidelines are a collaborative effort between psychiatrists in clinical research and practice, and the APA guidelines serve as a reference for current best practices in treating major psychiatric illness. The bipolar disorder guidelines address treatment concerns like acute treatment, maintenance treatment, treatment discontinuation, and psychosocial therapies. Additionally, they address topics such as diagnostic evaluation, the therapeutic alliance, and patient and family education. In this session, Dr. Suppes also discusses the scope of information the guidelines contain as well as how each updated guideline is developed.

Steve Bell 2009

3 Ts of Community Activism: Touch, Take Charge, and Transform
Steve Bell (bio)
BrainStorm Career Services Cofounder
& DBSA Chapter Leader

Individuals with disabilities—psychiatric or otherwise—should see themselves and their peers as the “can do” and “go to” people who take self-help and recovery principles beyond hospital wards, mental health clinics, and support groups. This motivational presentation will feature true-life stories of people with mental or physical health challenges who are making a positive impact in their local community. In this session, Steve focuses on inspiring people to understand how to bring needed change to their own neighborhoods, towns, and cities through community service, sharing one's talents with others, entrepreneurship, leadership, and cooperative efforts. Steve will also share advice on how you can recognize unmet needs in your community; tap into your own “reservoir of talent;” reach consensus on how to address the need; and mobilize others into action.

Steve Lappen 2009

Inner Stigma: The Shame of It All
Steve Lappen (bio)
DBSA Chapter Leader

Using his own personal recovery/growth story, Steve will discuss how we internalize the stigma of having a mental illness. By exploring this, we can—individually and collectively—shed the sense of shame and self-loathing that often accompanies a psychiatric diagnosis.

Language doesn’t merely describe; it also can create. Steve will examine the very words themselves that stigmatize and exclude. This enables us to better combat language that’s reflexive (unconscious, unthinking)…and promote language that’s reflective (conscious, thoughtful). When we correct the use of stigmatizing language, we restore equality and humanity to the consumer community. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Through the written and spoken word, we can successfully cast aside—and declare “null and void”—the language that has historically marginalized those with a psychiatric diagnosis.

Greg Simon 2009

Beyond Meds & Talk Therapy: Complementary Treatments
Greg Simon, MD, MPH (bio)
Group Health Cooperative, Center for Health Studies
(DBSA Scientific Advisory Board Chair)

Treatment from professionals is only one part of a personal wellness plan for people living with mood disorders.  Complementary treatments are those things you do to complement professional treatment. In this session, we’ll discuss what we know about the benefits—and drawbacks—of a wide range of complementary treatments, which include exercise, diet or nutritional supplements, mindfulness or spiritual practice, and non-traditional treatments such as massage or acupuncture.

SATURDAY, 1:15 pm. - 2:15 p.m.

Melissa Davisdon 2009

Disability: What to Know
& Where to Go
Melissa Davidson (bio)
Charles D. Hankey Law Office, PC

Attorney Melissa Davidson will discuss the details of Social Security Disability and Long-Term Disability plans, including the various types of disability coverage. Acknowledging the frustrating state of the Social Security Administration today, Melissa will offer advice on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of the system. She’ll also discuss how to increase your chance of being approved for benefits as well as how to address the challenges of working while receiving benefits.

Carol Bailey Floyd

Breaking Free From Loneliness
Carol Bailey Floyd (bio)
Trainer, Speaker, Consultant
Mental Health Recovery and WRAP
Just because a person, at times, experiences or has problems with loneliness doesn't mean it has to stay that way forever! There are many strategies for overcoming loneliness. This presentation will explore the many aspects of loneliness, some of which are self-esteem, living space, community dynamics, and communication skills (relationships, sustaining friendships, reaching out, etc.). A primary resource for this presentation will be The Loneliness Workbook: A Guide to Developing and Maintaining Last Connections by Mary Ellen Copeland. 

Steve Propst 2009

Acting on Impulse
Stephen Propst (bio)
Freelance Consultant/Writer
& DBSA Board Chair

An often unspoken and misunderstood aspect of bipolar mania is impulsivity, which can manifest itself in anger, hypersexuality, excessive spending, and a host of other addictive behaviors. In this session, we’ll discuss the challenge of impulsivity, address its cause, talk about its consequences, and get a handle on how to control it. We’ll deal openly, honestly, and candidly with a phenomenon that creates major difficulties for those living with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. Note: This session deals with sensitive topics of an adult nature.


Presented by: Patty Deldin, PhD
National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC)

Presented by the partnership between DBSA and the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), this session will focus on how clinical trials for new medications and treatments work. You’ll learn how to find out about new studies, how to evaluate if this is a good idea for you, what you can expect when you participate in a clinical trial, and what the advantages are of participating in research studies. The goal is to provide an objective, non-technical, and straightforward review of clinical trials and foster a discussion of how to consider and participate in research studies.

 SATURDAY, 2:30 pm. - 3:30 p.m.

karen fuqua 2009

Successful Self-Disclosure to Family / Friends / Work
Karen Fuqua, SPHR, CPS, CCP (bio)
Fuqua Consulting Group

Learn why it is so important to successfully communicate—in a way that encourages education, support, and understanding—with employers, coworkers, family, and friends regarding your recovery and wellness strategy. Also learn more about your legal rights, as several statutes have changed (to your benefit) in recent years. Understanding your rights will give you pragmatic strategies for dealing with conflicts or misunderstandings that arise with those who aren’t fully educated about their role in supporting mental health consumers. Finally, learn how to successfully communicate with those we deeply care about so that they understand how to best support us along our journey to sustained wellness.

Jim McNulty

Advocating for System Change: Making a Difference on a National Level
Jim McNulty (bio)
DBSA Vice President of Peer Services

System change is a very broad topic, and making your voice heard might sound impossible. Breaking it down, though, into its different “how to” components makes it much easier to tackle. This session will leave you with an understanding of the following: how Washington’s “zero-sum game” operates; how to identify—and approach—those in the federal government with whom to work (usually your Senators and House representatives, but not always); how the Congressional Committee structure works for—and against—you; when and how to make your case; how to find allies in government as well as local community agencies; how to work in coalitions; and how to use the Internet as a tool for system change. We'll explore these topics by examining the 13-year battle for mental health parity, a case study for system advocacy and a classic example of how hard it can be to do the right thing. It will also look at how DBSA established a relationship with the Obama Administration during the time of transition before the inauguration.

Cheryl Murphy

The Rollercoaster Ride that Never Ends: Parenting a Child with a Mood Disorder
Cheryl Murphy (bio)
DBSA Chapter Leader

Offering a parent’s perspective on living with a child diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Cheryl will speak from her lived experience about what to expect and how not to enable, as well as how to find the right treatment, take care of yourself, and separate the child from the disease. Building on her experience working with parents and adolescents in a judicated treatment facility, Cheryl will also address the often-related issues of substance use and domestic violence. The session will invite an open dialogue about the challenges and rewards of parenting a child with a mood disorder.

Lisa Goodale 2009

Peer Proof: Effectiveness of Peer Specialists & Support Groups
Lisa Goodale, ACSW, LSW (bio)
Vice President of Peer Services

Many of us know from experience that support groups and peer specialists are vital to achieving and maintaining recovery. But how many of us know how to back up that experience with key data and information? In this session, we’ll take a look at the research that documents peer support effectiveness. Participants will also learn how to use this information to write effective proposals and “sell” peer support to key stakeholders. And we’ll zero in on what additional evidence is needed.

 Schedule of Peer Roundtables

Every year, attendees tell us that networking, sharing, and learning from peers are some of the most important benefits of our conferences. At the 2009 National Conference, we’re excited to once again offer Peer Roundtables. In these peer-led, small-group discussions, network with peers from around the country. Empower yourself and others. Participate in one of this year's Peer Roundtables:

  • Peer Roundtable--Special Interest Groups
    (Friday 1:45-2:45 p.m.)
    Explore strategies and tools to manage the unique challenges face by special interests groups such as Peer Clinicians, Faith-Based Support Groups, Veterans, and the LGBT Community.
  • Peer Roundtable--Depression
    (Saturday 10:45-11:45 a.m.)
    Explore strategies and tools to manage challenges like confronting the symptoms of depression, surviving everyday problems, surviving thoughts of death and suicide, and managing side effects and medication changes.
  • Peer Roundtable--Family & Friends
    (Saturday 1:15-2:15 p.m.)

    Explore strategies and tools that can help both consumers and family/friends strengthen their lives' important relationships.
  • Peer Roundtable--Bipolar Disorder
    (Saturday 2:30-3:30 p.m.)

    Explore strategies and tools to manage challenges like bipolar depression, impulsivity, rapid cycling, and medication changes.

General Sessions

The following general sessions are open to all conference attendees:

  • Klerman Awards Presentation
    (Friday 3:15-3:30 p.m.)

    Each year, DBSA honors two of the nation's leading researchers in mental health. We are pleased that, for the first time, these awards will be presented at our national conference.
  • "Ask the Doctor" Panel
    (Friday 3:30-4:30 p.m.)

    Hear our distinguished panel of Klerman Award-winning researchers and mental health professionals answer questions submitted by audience members.
    • Beth Murray, APRN, BC
    • Greg Simon, MD, MPH
    • Trisha Suppes, MD, PhD
    • Audrey Tyrka, MD, PhD
  • A Message from DBSA President Peter Ashenden
    (Saturday 10:00-10:30 a.m.)
  • New DBSA Programs
    (Sunday 10:00-10:30 a.m.)
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