DBSA e-Update October 2018 See All Issues Sign Up

The transition into adulthood can be one of the most trying times in a person's life.

Suicide Is the Second-leading Cause of Death Among College Students

According to the American College Health Association (ACHA), the suicide rate among young adults, ages 15‒24, has tripled over the last two generations. If we want that to change, DBSA needs your support.

The transition into adulthood can be one of the most trying times in a person's life. The uncertainty of the future, the fear of not fitting in, the stark reality of student loan debt, and the pressures of succeeding academically, can all contribute to mental health crises and substance use.

Connecting individuals with mental health conditions with peer support has been proven to lessen the risk of suicide and to improve quality of life. With over 21 million adults with a mood disorder in the United States, just think about the impact we could have.

DBSA is committed to providing FREE, quality peer mental health support, but now more than ever we need your help in order to continue expanding our reach. Donate today to be a part of what DBSA is building.

We've Been There. We Can Help.

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Life Unlimited
Terri Rimmer

Read more inspiring stories. If you would like to participate in our Life Unlimited feature by sharing your story, please submit your contact information.

Life Unlimited: Terri Rimmer

Born into a dysfunctional family as the youngest of four girls, I experienced a childhood that shaped my future.

One of the earliest signs that I was having difficulties mentally was when I was 10 years old and my dad dropped me off at a house to spend the night with other people. I remember being hyper and obsessively recording all the songs from Casey Kasem’s Top 100 of the year, writing down each one.

When I was 12, I swung on a tire swing for five and a half hours straight—no bathroom breaks—at home with Mom and my step dad. 

At my worst, I was promiscuous in my 20s. I would also order items from catalogs that I didn’t remember ordering and write hot checks I didn’t remember writing. This was before I was diagnosed at 27 with bipolar disorder. Later, I found out through Mom in 2010 that I had been diagnosed at 14 but the doctors weren’t allowed to write that in a child’s chart.   

What helped me move from where I was then to where I am now was medication, therapy, sobriety, and work. Although I’ve had over 75 jobs and have worked since I was 12, only in the past seven years have I been able to hold the same job. I always knew I wanted to be a writer ever since the third grade, when I got an A+ on a story I wrote. I loved it and wrote every chance I got.

When I was eight, I was devastated to learn that my parents were divorcing. My older sister became my hero. She also became the surrogate mother in our newly formed mini-family. She fluffed my pajamas in the dryer before bed, sewed my scout badges on my uniform, comforted me when kids made fun of me, and read me stories. I concocted a fantasy world to counteract my childhood.

I’ve learned I can withstand a lot of pain.  I have judged people only to find out they’re dealing with a lot more than me. I can have a horrible, suicidal day, then have a great day and, with my gift of writing, I can give my daughter many words of comfort.

I stay on the right path by staying sober, taking my meds regularly, exercising, working with rescue animals, writing, pursuing my dream of being a writer again, working, making amends, keeping comedy in my life (since humor has gotten me through so much), helping others, and staying close to my sister.

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Michael Pollock, Chief Executive Officer, DBSA
Michael Pollock
Chief Executive Officer, DBSA

Note from Michael Pollock, Chief Executive Officer?

If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else. ~ Yogi Berra

Organizations often go through strategic planning efforts to help set their long-term direction, establish goals and priorities, and—perhaps most challenging—determine what projects will no longer continue. I’ve been through very effective planning efforts; I’ve also participated in some that fizzled out. From my own experience, developing and implementing a successful plan requires discipline, clear objectives and timelines, and input from those most invested and impacted.

That’s where you come in.

DBSA is initiating a new strategic planning process. I have been working with Allen Daniels, an independent behavioral healthcare consultant and Senior Study Director for Westat and consulting Clinical Director for InfoMC. He was at one time DBSA’s executive vice president and director of scientific affairs. Dr. Daniels and I have been discussing the importance of looking to the future with respect to mental health, peer services and, ultimately, DBSA’s role in the future.

So far, the DBSA staff and board of directors have offered their insights.?Now it’s your turn. I am interested in getting your perspective on what you see as the most important factors impacting mental health over the next five to ten years. Please email your suggestions to Response@DBSAlliance.org by Wednesday, October 31st.?Your feedback will be shared with me and the DBSA board of directors to consider as they establish the organization’s next strategic plan.

Thanks in advance.

Michael Pollock
Chief Executive Officer

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Global Peer Support Day

Celebrating Peer Support Around the Globe

Thursday, October 18, 2018 marks the fourth annual Global Peer Support Celebration Day. Initiated and nurtured by the International Association of Peer Supporters (INAPS), this day has become a global grassroots movement with its themes of hope, recognition, and celebration. The day represents an annual celebration of peer supporters, recognizing their work in helping their peers with mental health, addiction, and/or trauma-related challenges to move along the continuum of recovery and inclusion into communities of their choosing.

Join DBSA, a peer-led organization dedicated to support, as we honor the central role that peers play in helping individuals move forward in their lives!

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DBSA Chapters

Peer Support and DBSA Chapters

Last month, DBSA concluded its five-city Chapter Regional Meeting tour. The goal of these meetings was to learn about the issues currently facing our peer community, and what role DBSA and its chapters could play in addressing them. One particular issue that came up again and again was the lack of access to care, both professional services and peer support. While DBSA is helping to address the issue of provider availability through studying Insurance Network Adequacy and the Mental Health Parity campaign, peers can provide support to one another by simply attending a DBSA support group meeting.

To find a support group near you, use our Support Group Locator tool online at DBSAlliance.org/FindSupport

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Advocacy: Well Beyond Blue

Putting wellness within every individual’s reach is at the core of DBSA’s mission, strategies, and programs.?The key to that mission is educating decision-makers who conduct research and make public health policy regarding wellness.

That’s why the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is hosting a meeting in the Washington, D.C., metro area on November 16, 2018, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and medication and medical device manufacturers. This meeting will empower people living with depression and/or bipolar to share personal views on aspects of wellness that go beyond mere symptom reduction, as well as to name wellness strategies that work best for them.

But we can’t do it without you. Our collective voices are needed at this meeting. Details are listed below:

In Person
Tommy Douglas Conference Center
10000 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD
(outside of D.C.)

A live webcast of the meeting is available so people from across the country can participate and make their voices heard.

Please follow this link to learn more and to register.

Together we can go far and make a difference in the development of future treatments for mood disorders.

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
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? Submit your questions to Ask the Doc online. Also, take a look through our Ask the Doc feature page, a comprehensive archive of past columns, which may already have the answer to your questions.

Ask the Doc

My daughter has been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and is struggling with oversleeping. At times it can last a full day, and it seems no amount of support/urging can get her out of bed. She is having trouble maintaining a job because of this. Are there particular treatments that can help?

For people who live with bipolar disorder, depression and oversleeping go hand in hand. The cause and effect go in both directions.?Depression often leads to sleeping more and to a delayed sleep pattern (staying up later and sleeping later); sleeping longer and later can cause or worsen depression. Fortunately, the downward cycle of depression and oversleeping can run in the opposite direction. Reducing hours of sleep and waking early in the morning can have a very strong antidepressant effect.

As you point out, sleeping less and waking earlier is easier said than done.?It is important to realize that oversleeping is not just laziness. Depression creates a strong pressure to sleep more and sleep later.?But there are a few specific things that can help.

Setting a regular waking time is the most important step.?People who are struggling with a delayed sleep pattern often feel, “I could wake up earlier if only I could get to sleep earlier.” But we know that biology actually goes in the other direction: “I could get to sleep earlier if only I could get up earlier.”

When people spend many hours in bed, their sleep is often interrupted—with short periods of sleep and lots of time lying in bed awake. That type of sleep is not at all restful.?It’s natural to think, “I need to spend more time in bed to feel rested.”?Once again, the biology of sleep goes in the other direction:?spending fewer hours in bed will lead to less interrupted—and more restful—sleep.

Bright light and activity early in the day can help to reset a delayed sleep pattern. During spring and summer, it’s enough to open the shades early and get outdoors in the morning.?Natural light will send a strong morning signal to your brain and shift your sleep pattern earlier.?In the fall and winter months, it may take a bright light box to send a strong enough morning signal.?I should warn that there are reports of people with bipolar disorder feeling speeded up or manic after using a bright light box—but that’s also evidence that it really can work!

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

bp Magazine: Managing Bipolar With Our Sacred Daily Rituals

Keep up your self-care by embracing the simple pleasures that soothe your soul and ground you. Read more.

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Facing Us Clubhouse

Visit the FacingUs.org to get more tips, create your own tips, track your wellness, and connect with peers. Joining the Facing Us Clubhouse is easy and free.

Wellness Tips from Peers

Sometimes it is helpful to treat yourself like a friend
If I ever catch myself in a phase of doing a lot of negative self-talk, I try to stop and say, “Would I let my friends say this about themselves?”

Take a break from the internet
Lately I find being on the internet more is inherently making me more upset. I have designated no screen time every day from 7pm until I go to bed.

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