DBSA e-Update July 2014

Quick Links to Articles Below

DBSA Webinars to Help You Thrive

Are you on the road to wellness, but not sure you have a roadmap??Put yourself back in the driver’s seat this summer with our free webinars designed to help you thrive.

Restoring Intimacy Webinar
The love and support of our partners can help see us through both good days and bad. But what happens when medication side-effects and mood extremes take their toll on intimacy?

Depression and bipolar disorder pose a challenge not just to our health, but to our closest relationships as well. As partners struggle against the fallout of guilt, confusion, and anger, genuine affection and intimacy often become all but impossible to maintain.

Join us in a webinar that addresses the effects of depression and bipolar disorder on intimacy, and provides practical information on how you can take your relationship from a place of surviving—to thriving. A question and answer period will follow Drs. Clayton's and Swartz’s presentations.

July 30, 2014
6:00 PM–7:30 PM Eastern 
(5:00 PM–6:30 PM Central, 4:00 PM–5:30 PM Mountain, 3:00 PM–4:30 PM Pacific)


Anita H. Clayton, MD
David C. Wilson Professor and Interim Chair, 
Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences;
Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology,
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Holly Swartz, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, PA

Treatment Choices for Mood Disorders Webinar Series
Too often, individuals living with a mood disorder can feel like they’re not in the driver’s seat—that they have no real choice in finding the best path for treatment, and ultimately, their future. This can be a disempowering and frustrating road block to achieving the wellness goals that are most important to them. In reality, there are a number of choices that an individual can make that could have a significant impact on a person’s treatment plan. The DBSA Treatment Choices webinar series, running August through October, will explore how individuals can get back in the driver’s seat on their road to wellness.

Treatment Choices Part I: Understanding Your Options:
This first webinar provides a broad overview of all the areas in which you can exercise choice in finding a treatment plan that work best for you and how to work with your clinical team to ensure your treatment plan reflects your choices.

August 27, 2014
7:00 PM–8:00 PM Eastern 
(6:00 PM–7:30 PM Central, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM Mountain, 4:00 PM–5:30 PM Pacific)


Gregory Simon

Presenter: Greg Simon, MD, MPH
Senior Investigator, Psychiatry,
Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato to Share Personal Perspective on Resiliency and Living Well

Platinum-selling recording artist, author, actress, and mental health advocate, Demi Lovato, will share her personal story of resiliency and living well with bipolar disorder at DBSA’s From Surviving to Thriving weekend, August 16–17, in Union, NJ, to inspire others living with depression and bipolar disorder. Attendance at this exclusive interview with Ms. Lovato, hosted by DBSA President, Allen Doederlein, is included with registration for attendees of the DBSA 2014 Chapter Leadership Forum and/or DBSA NJ 2014 State Conference.
Don't miss out on this special weekend. Space is limited!

Register for the DBSA New Jersey Conference ONLY (there is a $40 registration fee if you attend ONLY the DBSA New Jersey conference and not Chapter Leadership Forum). Saturday, August 16, Highlights include:

  • Personal Perspectives from: Demi Lovato*, platinum-selling recording artist, songwriter, New York Times’ best-selling author, actress, and mental health advocate; Marya Hornbacher, award winning journalist and author of Madness, A Bipolar Life; NJ State Senator Richard J. Codey, former governor and active advocate in the reform of New Jersey’s mental health care system.
  • Breakouts: When Stress Gets on your Nerves, Turning Tension into Tranquility; LifeTools: How to Manage Life Instead of Life Managing You; and Who Let the Therapy Dogs Out?

Register for Chapter Leadership Forum (You can elect to register for the DBSA New Jersey conference at the same time on this form). No cost to DBSA chapter leaders or support group participants. Sunday, August 17, Highlights include:

  • Breakouts: The Five Stages of Recovery and Their Dangers; Creating an Environment that Promotes Recovery; and Helping In Each Stage of Recovery
  • Awards: Chapter Service and Life Unlimited Awards
* Demi Lovato’s participation in the DBSA From Surviving to Thriving Weekend is part of The Mental Health Listening & Engagement Tour supported by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA Continuing Education and Core Peer Specialist Trainings

DBSA Rolls Out Next Steps Peer Specialist CE Course
Peer specialists—keep your support skills fresh and up to date while meeting requirements to maintain certification. Join DBSA in suburban Atlanta in October and earn 32 hours of continuing education while networking with your peers. Next Steps peer specialist training was designed by the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) in partnership with DBSA as part of the SAMHSA-supported national Recovery to Practice initiative. Using a collaborative learning approach, this lively and interactive course includes 24 hours of face-to-face training plus eight hours of pre-work. Training focuses on 8 key areas of peer specialist practice identified by peer specialists nationwide.

Next Steps is more than continuing education,” says DBSA Vice President of Peer Support Services Lisa Goodale. “It’s a way for peer specialists to reflect on what they’re doing and stay true to principles of peer support.”

DBSA Peer Specialist Training Opportunities
DBSA is nationally-known for quality peer specialist training; the first step toward joining the growing peer workforce in the rapidly-changing healthcare delivery system. DBSA is proud to announce our upcoming line-up of peer training courses.

Core Peer Specialist Training
Chicago, IL           
Sept. 29–Oct. 3, 2014
Online application due August 15

Veteran Peer Specialist Training
(meets VA requirements for peer support staff)
Los Angeles, CA        
September 15–20, 2014
Online application due August 11

Parent Connection: Understanding Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents

In the second of a new series of parent-focused DBSA podcasts, guest expert Dr. Daniel Pine, Chief of the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Intramural Research Program, discusses anxiety and depression in children and adolescents with DBSA Parent Volunteer Coordinator Julia Small.

Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand. Noting that anxiety frequently starts at an earlier age, and can lead to depression, Dr. Pine adds, “Once kids develop an episode of major depression, the prognosis is more guarded than it is when they’ve had a problem with anxiety. One of the reasons to pay attention to anxiety is the hope would be that if we did a better job of treating it, we might not only have an effect on anxiety, but we might be able to prevent episodes of depression. And the hope is that since we generally do better treating anxiety than we do treating depression … that might be the way to have an impact on depression, by treating anxiety."

In this wide-ranging podcast discussion, Dr. Pine also touches on various treatments for anxiety and depression, provides an update on research he and his NIMH colleagues are conducting, and offers insight into the “black box” warning on SSRI antidepressants. Listen to the podcast, and be sure to read the Parent Connection column each month to connect with news about DBSA parent-, child- and teen-focused programming. 

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Greg Simon, MD, MPH

Ask the Doc

My husband and I really want to have children, but I have a family history of mental illness, and I have bipolar disorder. I'm afraid to pass it on to my future kids. My husband worries about this, too. What are my chances of passing this on, and could it potentially get worse?

For mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, genes are an important risk factor. But your genes are certainly not your destiny.

Here are some numbers to illustrate:? On average, the risk of developing bipolar disorder is a little less than 1% (or about one person out of 120). For people who have a parent with bipolar disorder, the risk is about 8% (or about one person out of 12). You could see that glass as half empty, but you could also see it as half full. Even if your child would be 10 times as likely to develop bipolar disorder as the average person, there is still a greater than 90% chance that she or he would not develop bipolar disorder. These numbers come from studies that use a strict definition of bipolar disorder. If we use a broader definition, the percentages are higher, but the message is the same. Having a parent with bipolar disorder means risk is increased, but the absolute risk is still low.

While we do know that genes affect risk of developing bipolar disorder, we don’t know which specific genes are important. It’s likely that many different genes can increase risk of bipolar disorder and different genes are important in different families. So there are no genetic tests that would tell you if your children are at higher or lower risk.?
It’s important to remember that help is available and recovery is possible. The choice to have children is a very personal one—related to many things other than mood disorders. I certainly wouldn’t advise someone living with bipolar disorder or depression never to have children. In the same way, I wouldn’t advise someone living with diabetes never to have children. But I would advise them: If you know your child is at higher risk of developing diabetes disease, you’ll want to watch more closely and pay extra attention to healthy diet and exercise. And if you know your child is at higher risk of developing a mood disorder, you’ll want to watch more closely and pay extra attention to healthy sleep and positive daily routines.

If you haven’t already read Andrew Solomon’s book, Far From the Tree, I recommend it highly. It’s filled with remarkable stories about families with children facing all sorts of developmental and health challenges. A DBSA Honorary Advisory Board member, Andrew Solomon is a person who both lives with a mood disorder and has had a child with health issues—so he knows that territory well.

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.

Got a nagging question you want to ask a doc? Submit your questions online for a chance to get the answer. Check the next DBSA eUpdate to see if your question was chosen.

In the meantime, take a look through our Ask the Doc feature page, a comprehensive archive of past Ask the Doc features which may already be home to the answers you seek.

Bringing Support to All Communities

DBSA’s local affiliate chapters offer more than 700 peer-led, in-person support groups, offered at no-charge to people living with mood disorders. In addition, many chapters offer groups for friends and family members of peers. These local meetings offer attendees a sense of community and the type of support that can only come from someone who has been there and can help.

Have you ever thought about starting a support group for depression or bipolar disorder? Now is the time! DBSA wants to help you start a face-to-face peer support group.

Although support is needed in every community, this quarter’s chapter recruitment focus areas are Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, and Mississippi. If you or anyone you know live in these areas, DBSA would love to work with you to start a support group!

No special training is required to lead a DBSA group. All you need is a desire to give back, a commitment to helping your peers toward wellness, and the sense that recovery is possible!

You can learn more about being a chapter leader by requesting a complimentary copy of DBSA’s guide Starting a DBSA Chapter. You can also contact Chapter Relations Manager Stephanie Kubik at chapters@dbsalliance.org or (800) 826-3632 x154. To see if DBSA already has a support group in your area, visit our Online Support Group Locator.

Welcome to Our Newest Chapters
DBSA has gained three brand-new chapters in the second quarter of 2014!

  • DBSA Shanghai Tulip Mental Health Center (China)
  • DBSA Singapore PSALT Care (Singapore)
  • DBSA Community Crossroads West Chester (PA)
Welcome to the DBSA family!

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Note from Allen

This summer and fall, DBSA is proud to offer new educational resources designed to reach people at different points during their journeys with mood disorders. Whether you’re wondering about mood-related symptoms, coping with a new diagnosis, are in a place of thriving—or are absolutely anywhere in between!—you will find a warm welcome and answers for your questions within DBSA.

If you are new to the experience of depression or recently diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you and your loved ones are likely to have numerous unanswered questions and concerns. To help people understand what depression is really like—and to convey that message to the public—DBSA is launching a new video series on the DBSA YouTube channel this month: the DBSA Depression Education Video Library. From relationships to the workplace, the series explores and demystifies the circumstances in which we who have depression find ourselves coping with a complicated constellation of symptoms.

Once we understand what depression or bipolar disorder is and what it means to us, we often need information about effective methods of collaborating productively with our treatment professionals. To help with this deeply personal process, DBSA is presenting the Treatment Choices for Mood Disorders Webinar Series, which will run from August through October and begin with “Understanding Your Options,” an overview of the areas in which we who have mood disorders will first make key decisions about our paths to wellness.

A person doesn’t have to experience a mood disorder to be affected by relationship issues, but depression and bipolar disorder can definitely exacerbate or even cause issues with intimacy or a healthy, satisfying sex life. July 30, DBSA will present “Restoring Intimacy,” a webinar that frankly and practically addresses the issues around romantic relationships that people with mood disorders, and their partners, may face. Enrollment is limited; save a seat today.

Alongside these videos and webinars, DBSA is also presenting a “next-generation” offering for peer specialists: the Next Steps Peer Specialist continuing education program. Next Steps was designed by the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) in partnership with DBSA. The training focuses on eight areas of peer specialist practice that were identified for additional exploration and refinement by peer specialists in the mental health workforce across the country.

No matter where you are on your journey to wellness, DBSA is your organization: a place where your unique needs and concerns are addressed—and your contributions are celebrated!


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Life Unlimited: Graeme Cowan

Could depression be a gift?
Beginning in 2000, I lived with a five year episode of depression which my psychiatrist described as the worst he had ever treated. Although I had experienced 4 major episodes of depression previously, this was in a different league. In a short time, I lost my job, my 20 year marriage, and became estranged from my two children.

I hadn’t accepted my depression passively. Over the course of five years, I tried 23 different medications, underwent ECT (shock therapy) on 20 occasions, engaged in cognitive behavioral therapy, and participated in many other programs for the treatment of depression. I also pursued many other alternative treatments, but the black thoughts, pitiful energy levels, and complete loss of confidence seemed terminal.

As improbable as this seems, I now believe that my depression was a gift. Read More

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Positive Six: Get Your ZZZs

What does it take to go beyond surviving, to thriving? This year’s DBSA’s Positive Six (+6) wellness campaign, is designed to help you take small steps in five areas key to wellness, as defined by the World Health Organization’s Well-Being Index. We’ve added meaningful relationships as our sixth focus because we know how important good support is!

Each month—May through October, 2014—we're featuring a new +6 challenge aimed at strengthening connections to your health, relationships, and community. May and June’s campaign provided tools, resources, and encouragement to help you feel more energized and active and plant the seeds of good cheer. This month’s focus is on cool and calm. Just joining us? Take a deep breath and get started now with some Calming Yoga. Visit our Positive Six July page and Facebook community for additional ideas and support.

Mark your calendars! The DBSA Breathing Exercises to Reduce Anxiety Podcast will be available for download from Positive6.org on July 28.

August Sneak Peek
Don’t forget to join us August 1-10 on Facebook for the kick off of the August ‘Get Your ZZZs’ Challenge.? We will be giving away Positive Six merchandise, Esperanza magazine subscriptions, books on bipolar disorder, and more!

Care for Your Mind: July Highlights

Extend your 4th of July celebrations—exercise your democracy by taking action.

New Video Series Sharing Personal Stories About Depression

DBSA is thrilled to share a new video series on the DBSA YouTube channel this month. The Depression Education Video Library addresses common questions and concerns that people living with depression and their loved ones often have. In each video, peers share their experience with the following issues:

  • Relationships
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Men and Depression
  • Young Adults
  • The Workplace
  • Dual Diagnosis

Please share these moving and educational videos with friends and loved ones through email and social media to help us spread awareness, fight stigma, and offer hope and education to those who need it.

Subscribe to the DBSA YouTube Channel

Man With a Message: Maurice Benard

General Hospital’s Maurice Benard sees his new movie project as another way to raise awareness and reach out to others with bipolar. Read the article.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Save the Date

*October 19: optional one-day Train the Trainer course extension, available to all who successfully complete the course and wish to be certified to teach Next Steps.