DBSA e-Update May 2014

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Introducing the DBSA Young Adult Council

Young adults with mood disorders face unique challenges as they transition from high school, to entering the workforce or college, to starting a career and/or a family of their own. DBSA is pleased to introduce the DBSA Young Adult Council to advise us in developing specialized programming to assist young adults as they transition from family support to independence.

I am pleased to be co-chair of the DBSA Young Adult Advisory Council because I believe there is great need in young adult services and programming. As the disability movement so loudly states, “Nothing about us without us.” —We cannot expect to provide services for young adults without the input from the young adults themselves. We, the Council members, are proud to be that voice.
Linea Johnson, Co-Chair, DBSA Young Adult Council
My junior year of college, I struggled with a severe episode of major depression. During that time, I sought out programs that could connect me to other young adults experiencing what I was going through, hoping to not feel so alone. What I discovered was that there weren’t any groups or organizations of this kind. I believe peer support is an essential component of living in wellness, which is why I am honored to be co-chair of the DBSA Young Adult Council—to help create peer support programming and resources for young adults. I believe that the efforts of the Young Adult Council will encourage young adults with mood disorders to find the support they are looking for.
Molly Jenkins, Co-Chair, DBSA Young Adult Council

We welcome and are honored to introduce DBSA Young Adult Council charter members:

  • Molly Jenkins, Co-Chair (IL) Read Molly’s Story.
  • Linea Johnson, Co-Chair (WA) Read Linea’s Story.
  • Jenna Dauten, Secretary (IL)
  • Joe O’Donnell, Executive Committee Member at Large (MA)
  • Seth Dunoff, Member (VA)

We are recruiting new council members. If you’re an individual age 18–29 interested in the DBSA Young Adult Council, please contact one of the Council co-chairs at LJohnson@DBSAlliance.org or MJenkins@DBSAlliance.org for more information.

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Allen Doederlein,
Dr. William Beardslee, and Dr. Greg Simon

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Allen Doederlein,
Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, and Dr. Greg Simon

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Allen Doederlein,
Dr. Rodrigo Machado-Vieira, and Dr. Greg Simon

DBSA Honors Scientists for Research in Mood Disorders

DBSA presented three prestigious Gerald L. Klerman Awards for research on Sunday, May 4, 2014, in New York, NY, at our annual Scientific Advisory Board Reception. These awards, presented annually, recognize researchers whose work contributes to and advances the understanding of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder. Gerald L. Klerman, M.D., was a pivotal figure in psychiatry and these awards in his name are the highest honors that DBSA extends to members of the scientific community.

DBSA President, Allen Doederlein, and DBSA Scientific Advisory Board Chair, Dr. Greg Simon, presented Senior Investigator Awards to Dr. William Beardslee, Director of the Baer Prevention Initiatives at Judge Baker Children's Center, Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Psychiatry at Children's Hospital Boston and Gardner Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Madhukar H. Trivedi, Professor and Chief of the Division of Mood Disorders, and Director of the Comprehensive Center for Depression in the Psychiatry Department at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Rodrigo Machado-Vieira, Director of the Translational Research Clinic in Mood Disorders at the National Institute of Mental Health, was presented with the Junior Investigator Award.

Parent Connection: Results of 2013 Young Adult Survey

The  Parent Connection appears each month in the DBSA eUpdate. Here, parents and guardians can expect to find up-to-date information and resources about parenting children and adolescents with depression and bipolar disorder. We also feature news about Balanced Mind Parent Network online support communities, the Family Helpline and other family-focused programming.

Last November, DBSA launched a survey, Meeting the Unmet Needs of Young Adults, to collect feedback from young adults and parents of young adults on the issues of critical importance to this age group. Thank you to the 188 individuals who provided their perspective.

The two largest groups responding were young adults (42) and parents of young adults (119) living with a mood disorder. There were some interesting commonalities, as well as differences between how these group viewed the unmet needs of youth ages 18-29. While the majority of overall respondents selected “Accessing adequate mental health care services” as the most important issue (27%), the subset of young adult respondents ranked “Developing/maintaining relationships and/or a circle of friends” as the most important issue (40%). “Developing/maintaining relationships and/or a circle of friends” was also identified by the both the entire group and the subset of young adults as the second most important issue (24% selection by both groups) facing this age group.

Survey results will be used to guide the development of specialized programming designed to help transition-aged youth lead thriving lives.

Read survey summary for a complete report on all survey results.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Greg Simon, MD, MPH

Ask the Doc

Q: Is there a cure for depression? I have been taking medications for over two decades. I exercise, pray, and have changed my lifestyle. There will always be some stress in my life, as I am the sole caregiver of two adult children with special needs. I have literally tried all I possibly can and I just don't seem to get a breather. Can I get well one day?

A: For most people, depression is related to genetics (an inherited tendency to depression) and environment (stressful or traumatic events, either now or in the past). We can’t change our genes and we can’t change our past. And—just as you say—we can’t always change or avoid our present stresses. So we don’t usually talk about a “cure” for depression. But we do talk about recovery and wellness. Even if you have had chronic or recurrent problems with depression, recovering or getting well is certainly possible.

The path to recovery is different for every person, but there are some common ingredients. For many people, treatment from professionals (medication, psychotherapy, or both) is an important part of a wellness plan. But treatment from professionals is rarely enough. Self-care or wellness practices like regular sleeping patterns, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet are just as important as traditional treatment. And recovery is broader than reducing symptoms or illness. Recovery is about finding the positive things you want in life—in health or work or recreation or relationships. A central idea of recovery is that positive changes are possible, even if negative things (like symptoms or illness) are not completely gone.

We do know that the long-term course of depression is, on the average, positive. Many people who have frequent depressive episodes in early and middle adulthood find that depression is less severe and less frequent later in life. We don’t know if this is because of changes in biology with age or because we do keep learning and growing throughout adulthood. This pattern (depression getting less severe in older years) doesn’t hold for everyone, but the overall or average pattern is that things get better.

As you may know, DBSA has named 2014 as The Year of Thriving. Part of our Year of Thriving is the Target Zero campaign[http://www.dbsalliance.org/targetzero], aiming for elimination of illness or symptoms. Our goal is to shift the conversation from “managing” symptoms of mood disorders to true recovery and wellness. We are trying to raise expectations, especially the hope for better treatments and better access to treatments we have now.

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.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Note from Allen

Celebrating Peer Power: Mental Health Month

After a long and arduous winter in most every part of the United States that I’ve heard from, the momentum and energy of May 2014—Mental Health Month!—make it feel like we’re bursting forth in bloom with May flowers. A great deal of activity and attention to the stories, contributions, and power of our community of peers has been energizing. We have power on our own, and our power when we join forces with the rest of the mental health community is truly awe-inspiring.

DBSA’s participation in Mental Health Month connected us with other organizations and stakeholders in powerful ways:

Thriving Communities—resources to educate peers and the public about mental health
  • May kicked off with the third year of our Positive 6 Social Media Campaign! This year, our challenges empower peers to focus on wellness and thriving, with May as an opportunity to spring into motion with some extra physical activity to boost our moods and enhance our overall health.
  • We’re also so proud to launch DBSA’s Depression Education Program, which includes a video series on DBSA’s YouTube channel and a corresponding Depression Education Kit that’s being distributed to our 300 Chapters across the country in support of their community outreach.
Thriving Mental Health Care System—advocating for changes in the way we think about and address mental health care in the U.S. Thriving Families—Tools to help children, young adults, and families thrive
  • DBSA is thrilled to have started a new Young Adult Council to address the mental health needs of peers aged 18–29! This is of course part of our growing commitment to mental health issues across our lifetimes.
Thriving Peers—Tools to help peers living with mood disorders thrive
  • DBSA’s Wellness Tracker—currently available online and as an iPhone/iPad app through the iTunes store—now includes enhancements such as the opportunity to measure and track the creation and maintenance of wellness using the World Health Organization’s five-point Well-being Index (the WHO-5)!
  • Once again, we are honoring peers not limited by mood disorders with our call for Life Unlimited Award nominations.

Thank you for being part of bringing our message of thriving to the conversation about mental health!


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Nominations Open for 2014 DBSA Life Unlimited Award

Nomination deadline is July 1, 2014

Do you know someone who is living life a life unlimited by a mood disorder and actively working to help others do the same? Nominate them for the 2014 DBSA Life Unlimited Award.

The award will be presented at the DBSA Chapter Leadership Forum (CLF), Sunday, August 17, 2014, in Union, New Jersey and web-streamed. The winner will be given a scholarship to the DBSA CLF and DBSA New Jersey Conference, including travel and hotel accommodations.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA Offers Mental Health First Aid Training for Military Members, Veterans, and Their Families

Family members and other individuals working with military personnel and their families are often not aware of how to assist Veterans with mental illnesses and addictions. Now there’s a course designed specifically for those who want to be truly helpful. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a live training program—like standard First Aid or CPR—designed to give people the skills to help someone developing a mental health condition or experiencing a mental health crisis. The National Council for Behavioral Health recently developed a MHFA course specific to military-Veteran audiences, and DBSA is proud to announce that we are now certified by the National Council to offer Military-Veteran MHFA for Veterans and those who seek to support them.

Contact us for more information on how you can partner with DBSA to offer this course in your area.    
(Article source materials courtesy of The National Council)

Life Unlimited: Randi Kranz

I always knew something wasn’t right. Throughout childhood, I swung back and forth between states of high energy and low self-esteem. As a young girl, I turned to self-help books and inspirational quotes to try to fix what didn’t seem right. I could never understand why I didn’t seem like everyone else. I was a cheerleader and sang in the choir in junior high school. I always felt like an outsider.

In high school, I twirled a rifle in the marching band color guard and was editor of the school newspaper. I worked a job which filled my time, so I didn’t remember I wasn’t going to the dances or hanging out with friends. Life brought similar experiences in college and beyond.

It wasn’t until my second daughter was born that I felt time was running out. I needed to do something—anything—to fix this. It did not occur to me that I was another chapter in the history of my family’s mental illness. Read more.

Peers, Parents and Children Raised their Voices in D.C.

DBSA celebrated Mental Health month in a big way by taking our issues front and center to Congressional Representatives and Senators during the first week in May. Volunteers from the Balanced Mind Parent’s Network told their legislators that funding is needed to expand innovative research, the Garett Lee Smith program and workforce expansion. Many legislators were surprised to learn that the average wait time to see a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is 7.5 weeks!

Earlier in the week over a dozen DBSA participants took to the Hill to advocate for peer workforce development. Recommendations for the FY 2015 budget requests $20 million in SAMSHA grants to train and educate peer specialists. “Peer support is an evidence-based practice that works,” was the message Allen Doederlein shared with Congressman Tim Murphy’s office. Rep. Murphy is the author of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crises Act. A key element of the act would encourage more evidenced-based treatment.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Making Positive Changes This June

As part of the DBSA Positive 6 (+6) Campaign we are challenging you to participate in the June “Be of Good Cheer” Challenge by making small changes in your routine this month.

Plant the seeds of good cheer and nurture high spirits by creating a daily gratitude journal, practice acts of kindness, embracing beauty, or create a playlist of uplifting songs.

Small steps can lead to big changes in how you feel both physically and emotionally!

Visit the June “Be of Good Cheer” Challenge page on Positive6.org starting June 1 to find inspiration in June’s challenge thought starters, read educational articles, download a gratitude journal, and learn about our our Joyful June Facebook night of music.  

Check in on our Facebook page June 1-7 to view  enter to win +6 merchandise, books on bipolar, magazine subscriptions, and more!

Care for Your Mind: May Highlights

Is preventing youth suicide possible? CFYM examined this topic during May in a 5-part series that identified risk factors and policy considerations, as well as highlighting personal stories from an attempter and a family member.

Strategies for Addressing Youth Suicide and the Barriers to Effective Treatment

Dorothy Hamill: Finding serenity on and off the ice

esperanza Magazine chats with skating legend Dorothy Hamill on depression, recovery and finding peace. Read “Dorothy Hamill: Finding serenity on and off the ice.”

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

Moving Forward
To make lasting changes in my life I had to not only look at the past, but examine what happened-all of it. It is because of these new awarenesses that I am able to recognize when I am slipping into old patterns that I don’t need in my new healthier life in recovery. I have come to know the truth about me, about my family, about my past and as a result-I was able to forgive myself and them.

“Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.” —Rainer Maria Rilke

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

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