DBSA e-Update November 2012

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

David Granirer Honored with 2012 DBSA Life Unlimited Award

DBSA is proud to announce the winner of the inaugural DBSA Life Unlimited Award: comedian, counselor, and author David Granirer, a pioneer in the use of humor to increase wellness, reduce stress, and cope with change. The DBSA Life Unlimited Award was established to honor individuals who exemplify a life unlimited by depression or bipolar disorder and who are actively working to help others do the same.

David Granirer does just that. In addition to working as a counselor and comedian and authoring The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead to Happiness and Success, Granirer also lives with depression. He performs, is a sought-after keynote speaker, and teaches Stand-Up Comedy Clinic at Langara College in Vancouver, a course that prepares people from all walks of life to perform on stage at a comedy club at the conclusion of eight weeks.

David Granirer founded Stand Up For Mental Health, a program that teaches stand-up comedy to people with mental health conditions as a way of building self-esteem and fighting public stigma. For the past four years, Granirer has worked with DBSA to conduct a virtual stand-up class with members of the DBSA community, after which the newly trained comics make their stand-up debut at the DBSA national conference.

"DBSA has been privileged to partner with Stand Up for Mental Health over many years,” says DBSA President Allen Doederlein. “We have witnessed David's work transform the lives of members of our community who participate in his stand-up program. Those newly empowered comics have in turn provided laughter—along with information and inspiration—to diverse audiences."

Granirer got the idea for Stand Up For Mental Health from watching students in his Langara Stand-Up Comedy Clinic course. “I've had students overcome long standing depressions and phobias, not to mention increasing their confidence and self-esteem. There's something incredibly healing about telling a room full of people exactly who you are and having them laugh and cheer,” says Granirer. Learn more about Granirer’s stand-up classes in a feature story about Granirer on Dateline, Australia’s longest running international current affairs program.

DBSA President Allen Doederlein presented Granirer with the award during an intimate ceremony of DBSA chapter leaders at the 2012 DBSA Chapter Leadership Forum in Portland, OR this October. While the groovy CLF theme, Power to the Peers, inspired Doederlein’s flower-child outfit, the literal meaning of the theme perfectly captured DBSA’s reasons for creating the award—to celebrate the individual strengths of peers and their contributions to our communities and beyond.

Nominations for the DBSA 2013 Life Unlimited Award are now open.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

New Survey: Co-Occurring Conditions

Many people say that physical and mental health go hand in hand. While some people want all of the medical professionals they see to be involved in every aspect of their health, others do not. We would like to learn your thoughts and opinions regarding the connections between physical and mental health providers.

The results will be posted to the DBSA Consumer and Family Survey Center.  We will share the results of this survey with members of our Scientific Advisory Board and with other mental health researchers. DBSA is now involved in several projects to help connect people with opportunities to participate in research. Your opinions will help DBSA to decide about future research partnerships as well as DBSA educational programming.Take the survey.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Survey Says: What You Thought about Research Permissions and Privacy

DBSA envisions wellness for people living with depression and bipolar disorder. As such, we support research to improve care for people who live with mood disorders and we encourage individuals to participate in that research. But we also understand that mental health information is sensitive. And one of our core principles is respect for your autonomy, including your right to decide about use of your health information.

DBSA’s most recent survey was designed to understand the views of people who live with mood disorders and their families regarding research that uses different types of health records. The survey described a series of hypothetical studies. For each hypothetical study, survey respondents were asked questions about the criteria that ethical review panels are supposed to apply:

  • Is this research important?

  • Is the risk to patients or consumers minimal?

  • Should every patient or consumer have to give consent for her/his records to be included?

The Results

Find out what your peers said. Read the 2012 Research Permissions & Privacy Survey Summary Report.

These results will be shared with mental health researchers and with research review boards at universities and healthcare systems. We hope that this begins and ongoing process of bringing the patient or consumer voice into the research process.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Give the Gift of Wellness

Give yourself or your loved one the gift of wellness this holiday season! Registration to the DBSA 2013 National Conference is a thoughtful gift that transports you or your loved one to sunny Miami, Florida for three days of hope, help, education, and inspiration through moving keynote speeches, skills-based breakout sessions, support groups, and special events. The conference will take place at the Hilton Miami Downtown from June 1416, 2013.

Early bird conference registration will end on January 14, which makes the holiday season an opportune time to register. Visit the registration center to learn how you can register online, by mail, or over the phone.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Holiday Gifts from DBSA

Make DBSA a part of your holiday gift shopping this season. DBSA has several inspirational gifts that can be great stocking stuffers and alternative gift ideas. Got a bookworm in the family? Visit our DBSA online bookstore and choose between our many nonfiction titles to inspire someone in your life this Christmas. You can also still order Positive 6 bracelets, mugs, and water bottles at the DBSA store. Each of these gift items is a great reminder and motivator to make and live choices of wellness.

Let DBSA help you spread your holiday cheer by ordering your holiday cards from the Cards For Causes website. By going to the “Select A Cause” tab, you can pick DBSA from the “Health” drop down menu. Then select the holiday card of your liking to purchase. When checking out, you have the option to add a line at the bottom of the card sharing with others your support of DBSA. When you order from Cards For Causes, 20% of your purchase goes straight to DBSA.

Lastly, make your gift strike a special chord this holiday season by making a gift of hope. For that person you have no idea what to get or that someone that has everything, consider a gift of hope, $50 and above, in their honor this Christmas. A gift of hope goes beyond the gift giver and receiver. It's a gift that supports and empowers the 21 million Americans living with a mood disorder diagnosis. A gift of hope made during the month of December will have the option to send the honored individual a thoughtful acknowledgement card notifying them of your gift to DBSA in their name. To make your gift of hope, contact BTelander@DBSAlliance.org.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Positive Six Reflections & Note from Allen

While the 2012 Positive Six Campaign has come to a close, the effects of the commitment to positive change continue. Thus, we present a brief roundup of reflections and reactions from DBSA chapters and staff:

  • The DBSA national headquarters had a drawing of all the chapters who submitted their inspirational +6 highlights, and the winners had their re-affiliation fees waived. Congratulations to the winners, DBSA Illinois Valley and DBSA San Antonio.

  • DBSA chapters that were especially engaged between the months of July and October were awarded a kit full of resources and prizes. Congrats to DBSA Illinois Valley, DBSA San Antonio, DBSA Monterey County, DBSA Kalamazoo, and DBSA Harrisburg for their stellar progress toward positive changes throughout the campaign.

  • The +6 campaign encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and connect with new people—something I’ve never considered myself very good at doing. But once I gave myself permission to be a bolder, more confident me, the rest just followed. DBSA Staffer Whitney

  • The +6 campaign was great. I ate healthier, I exercised more, I interacted with the elderly more, and by smiling and speaking to public transportation riders, I met new friends. DBSA Staffer Char

  • Keeping positivity in front of me and making goals around positive actions meant that I created an encouraging and motivating environment for myself. DBSA Staffer Maria

  • Positive Six reminded me of how important it is to take time out of myself and to care for myself and others. I still haven’t QUITE gotten the hang of doing it regularly, but I’m learning! DBSA Staffer Lisa

  • Sometimes I can throw myself into things head first and take on too much at work and home and before I know it I'm overwhelmed. Positive Six allowed me to exert my energy into tasks and efforts that kept me centered and kept my mental and physical health as priorities. Even though the actions were small, being engaged in trying to accomplish them kept me focused on good energy that helped propel me forward in my work and home life is positive ways. DBSA Staffer Britt

  • Positive Six was a great experience for me! I particularly enjoyed my Positive Changes challenge. Eating at least 5 fruits and vegetables each day was not easy for me, but I felt really good about doing it!  DBSA Staffer Ingrid

  • I admit I was not perfect in meeting all my stated goals for +6, but upon reflection, I was very happy to realize some of the incredible changes I have seen manifest in my life since May's launch. I now take the stairs every day at work and try to do so elsewhere, too; I've joined a Meetup group focused on exercise; I've reconnected with two dear acquaintances; I love my new hairdo; I tried a glass work class...fun; and I'm much more consciously focused on brightening both my, and others, day through kindness and laughter. I am so thankful for these small changes in my life. I've seen how they've made some big results! DBSA Staffer Cindy

  • The +6 campaign helped me to think positively about what I want to create in my life instead of focusing on things I don't like, which is a trap I often get stuck in. It helped me see that many of the things I know I should do to stay well are actually enjoyable experiences in their own right. DBSA Staffer Steph

We at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance hope that the DBSA Positive Six Campaign has reinforced how powerful change often begins with a simple action. That fact can be so hard to see when you’re mired in depression. But the journey of wellness can and does begin with a single step.

Positive change doesn’t have to be big. To offer a personal example: in June, I committed to taking the stairs rather than the elevator in my office building. At first, it was really hard, and I hated it. But doing it proved two things to me: one, I could get through something physical that makes me sweaty and gross and live through it. And two, if you take the stairs for awhile, it gets easier. These facts might have made intellectual sense to me beforehand, but finding them out firsthand was a revelation. Armed with the knowledge that I can improve my physical condition over time, I actually went to the gym (something I had not done regularly for over five years). I now have a lower resting heart rate and have lost 25 pounds. I’m definitely in a better mood after I look in the mirror, and—though it wasn’t what I was thinking of when I committed to taking the stairs—more physical activity over time will mean I have the chance to live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

All of that began with a single step, literally—the first of the 80 steps from the ground floor to my fifth-floor office.

Take a step—whatever step you can take right now. That’s what the DBSA +6 Campaign is all about—and we thank you for being part of the journey with us!

– Allen Doederlein, DBSA President


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Yoga and Bipolar Disorder: Participate in Research

Participating in mental health research can be easy. For today’s featured study, you don’t even need to leave the house. Your participation can help researchers learn more about mood disorders, and it only takes about 20 minutes.

This study, conducted by researchers from Butler Hospital in Providence, RI and currently listed on WeSearchTogether.org, seeks to understand both positive and negative experiences of yoga practice among individuals with bipolar disorder. Learn more and find other studies, including online and in-person studies near you, at WeSearchTogether.org.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Bruce Springsteen

Along with his marathon concerts—at 63, The Boss still fills stadiums around the world—that ability to give voice to the human condition has always been Springsteen’s particular talent. 

Now he’s speaking for a darker side of the human psyche: depression. When a recent New Yorker profile delved into Springsteen’s emotional demons and revealed that he’s been in therapy for 30 years, the news made headlines across the country. Read the article at Esperanza.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Wellness Tips from Peers

Family and Friends
Be there for others and they will be there for you.

Healing Power of Humor
When I am depressed and need to be lifted up, or manic and need to be brought down, I go and watch my faves: Carlin, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, or class SNL clips (Christopher Walken is my favorite guest). Oh, the healing power that humor can exert! Pick your faves, bookmark them, and watch them whenever you want to or need to!

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

Save the Date

November 26–30, 2012
DBSA Peer Specialist Core Training Course
Baltimore, MD

June 14–17, 2012
DBSA 2013 National Conference: Stronger Together
Miami, FL