DBSA believes that a thriving mental healthcare system requires appropriate legislation, engaged clinicians, and collaboration between researchers and those with lived experience of mood disorders.
DBSA has continued to work with the National Council for Behavioral Health to train peer advocates. Twenty received training this year. The program included several state-level advocacy workshops, support in cultivating a state advocacy network, and specific calls to action on state and national mental health legislation. DBSA’s advocacy training operates in eight states that face particular challenges with mental health legislation, policy, or regulatory issues.
DBSA was proud to partner again this year with the National Council for Behavioral Health for Hill Day 2014. Mental health advocacy and professional organizations joined forces in Washington DC to advocate to legislators for improvements in the mental health care system. Twelve DBSA-trained grassroots advocates joined DBSA President Allen Doederlein and Advocacy Vice President Phyllis Foxworth on the Hill to represent the voice of individuals living with mood disorders.
DBSA brought four peers to Washington DC in February to meet with legislators sitting on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Working with and as a part of the Partnership for Medicare Part D Access Coalition, peers voiced concern over the proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove anti-depressants and anti-psychotics from protected class status. Peers educated the Committee members on this issue and asked them to sign a letter that questioned the validity of the proposed regulation. Within two weeks, all of the Congressional representatives visited by DBSA had signed.
Many people don’t realize that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives individuals living with mood disorders access to benefits that may have been previously denied them. This webinar offers details about these positive changes.
Care for Your Mind™ is a space for those affected by the mental health care system to openly discuss its strengths and weaknesses with thought leaders and advocates.
I want to learn more about how we can attain excellence in mental health in my state. CareForYourMind.org keeps me educated, informed and motivated to do so.
—Kimberly Allen, LCDC
On September 25, DBSA hosted “Better is Not Well”, a web-streamed, moderated panel discussion exploring how peers and clinicians can work together to raise the expectations for the treatment of mood disorders. A live audience joined panelists Judith Cook, PhD; William Gilmer, MD; Rebecca Fulk; and Robert Haggard at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. Hundreds more participated by submitting questions online while at DBSA Chapter viewing parties around the country and from private homes.
DBSA this year challenged mental health professionals to incorporate the World Health Organization’s five-point Well-Being Index Scale into their clinical practices for six months. The program asked clinicians to broaden their patient treatment focus to include building wellness as well as symptom alleviation. To facilitate the challenge, DBSA incorporated the WHO-5 Index into the DBSA Wellness Tracker.
To increase understanding and bridge the gap between researchers and people living with mood disorders, DBSA and the University of Michigan Depression Center have partnered to create WeSearchTogether.org. The site answers general questions about mental health research, offers stories from real research participants and researchers, provides information to help individuals make informed decisions about participating in research, and contains a database of mood disorder studies that can connect individuals to relevant studies in their geographic area.
DBSA presented three prestigious Gerald L. Klerman Awards for research on Sunday, May 4, in New York City, at our annual Scientific Advisory Board Reception. These annual awards 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. This award in his name is the highest honor DBSA extends to members of the scientific community.
DBSA President Allen Doederlein and DBSA Scientific Advisory Board Chair Greg Simon, M.D., M.P.H., presented Senior Investigator Awards to William Beardslee, M.D., and Madhukar H. Trivedi, M.D. Beardslee serves as 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. Trivedi is professor and chief of the Mood Disorders Division and Clinic as well as director of the Comprehensive Center for Depression in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The Junior Investigator Award went to Rodrigo Machado-Vieira, M.D., director of the Translational Research Clinic in Mood Disorders at the National Institute of Mental Health.
DBSA launched a month-long social media campaign in April calling for increased expectations for mental health treatment. Target Zero to Thrive challenged mental health care professionals, researchers, and individuals living with or affected by mood disorders to raise treatment goals to zero symptoms.