DBSA believes that a thriving, meaningful life is well within reach for everyone living with a mood disorder. Our national network of support groups forms the centerpiece of our peer-focused activities that encourage mutual support, reaching high, and celebrating milestones. And recognizing that the journey toward wellness is easier with strong, supportive families, we acquired in 2014 the programming of the Balanced Mind Foundation whose network serves parents of children with mood disorders. DBSA is now able to support the mental health of individuals from childhood throughout adulthood, as well as the families who care about them.
The following new and core programs supporting peers and families were offered in 2014.
Sometime during the DBSA conference, I made a paradigm shift from a survival mentality to a recovery model. That changes everything about my future outlook.
Two exciting enhancements were made this year to our highly praised DBSA Wellness Tracker. The World Health Organization’s five-point Well-Being Index was incorporated into our existing online and iPhone® app, plus an app was developed for Android platform smart phones.
Individuals living with a mood disorder often feel that their quality of life is in the hands of others; treatment plans do not always take into account their personal wellness goals. The DBSA “Treatment Choices” four-part webinar series explores how individuals can take charge of their own journey.
I’ve felt tossed around by the system as though I had no choice. I’m empowered now to go back and hold my head up high and stand up for my rights as an individual.
Depression and bipolar disorder pose a challenge not just to health, but to our closest relationships. The “Restoring Intimacy" webinar takes a realistic look at the challenges of intimate relationships for people with mood disorders and practical ways to make these relationships better.
In 2012, DBSA initiated a six-month challenge aimed at helping people live happier lives by making small, positive changes with big impact. This year’s challenges focused on thriving by enhancing wellness. Each was co-related with five measurements identified in the World Health Organization’s Well-Being Index.
I am so inspired by the Positive Six Challenge. It’s a very useful, EASY way to move forward without encountering failure.
Formerly a program of the Balanced Mind Foundation, this network guides families raising children with mood disorders to the answers, support, and stability they seek through online support networks with more than 500 participants.
I don’t think I could have survived the past few years without the moral and emotional support of my online parent friends. Not only do they support me, but I can step outside my own problems by trying to help them.”
Trained parent volunteers answer helpline inquiries within 48 hours, guiding individuals who are caring for a child, teen, or young adult with a mood disorder to resources and support. The Helpline was formerly a program of the Balanced Mind Foundation.
Targeted to parents, this series discusses childhood or adolescent depression or bipolar disorder. Podcast topics include “Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents”, “Understanding Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents”, and “Collaborative and Proactive Solutions for Caregivers”.
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. The DBSA Young Adult Council was founded this year to assist DBSA in developing outreach and specialized programming to help young adults as they transition from family support to independence. Its 11 members hail from across the U.S., including Florida, Illinois, New York, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The Facing Us Clubhouse wellness community is a space where individuals with mood disorders can track key health trends, share tips, create wellness plans, and find or share inspiration and hope through videos, song, or art. The many resources there include the DBSA Wellness Tracker as well as other highly praised wellness tools. 30,205 unique visitors used the site this year.
DBSA offers a vast array of resources, most free-of-charge, including printed materials, DVDs, podcasts, webinars, courses, e-newsletters, information-packed websites, and online resources. This year, 43,796 brochures were circulated nationally through our support groups, headquarters, and clinicians’ offices; 23,371 individuals were connected to support and assistance though our toll-free referral number; 28,202 individuals viewed our educational videos; and 1,139,412 unique visitors used our websites.
DBSA will always hold a special place in my heart. When I was at my absolute lowest, DBSA helped me get myself back on my feet and in the right direction.
Each year, DBSA presents the Life Unlimited Award to an individual exemplifying a life not limited by depression or bipolar disorder and who helps others do the same. The 2014 winner was AJ French, who received the award on August 17 at the DBSA National Chapter Leadership Forum in Union, NJ. AJ’s work in the field of mental health has transformed people with no hope or purpose into vibrant individuals living positive, empowered lives. She herself is an inspiration, demonstrating that it is indeed possible to recover from a mood disorder and fully participate in life. Because of her we know that we can reach all the way to the stars.