DBSA e-Update September 2017

Meet DBSA Life Unlimited Award Winner Renay Miller
Live Chat―Handling Difficult Conversations
New Webinar―How Stigma Impacts Identity-Formation in Young Adults
New Webinar―Integrating Peers into Traditional Provider Agencies
DBSA Virtual Chapter Leadership Forum is October 14
Ask the Doc―Does depression become more prevalent with age?
bp Magazine: Bipolar, Alcohol & the Decision to Drink
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
Personal Stories Drive State Advocacy Wins
ACA Open Enrollment Starts November 1

Parent Connection: DBSA’s Helpline provides support!
Allen's Note
DBSA Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator
Wellness Tips from Peers: Sleep; Happiness; Negative Thoughts
Save the Date


Congratulations to our 2016 Chapter Service Award Winners!

Meet Renay Miller, DBSA Life Unlimited Award Winner

The DBSA Life Unlimited Award was established in 2012 to honor individuals who exemplify a life unlimited by depression or bipolar disorder and who are actively working to help others do the same. Through this award we celebrate the strengths, inspiration, and accomplishments of our peers.

DBSA is pleased to present our 2017 Life Unlimited Award to Renay Miller―a peer specialist, certified WRAP facilitator, sculptor, and musician living openly with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, and Poly-substance Addiction. She received her diagnosis in 2008 after a severe episode of suicidal ideation and several opioid + benzo overdoses that landed her in the hospital. Now enjoying and thriving in long-term recovery, Renay works as the Forensic Peer Support Specialist and Patient Advocate for the RISE Program at the Arapahoe County Detention Center, located near Denver, Colorado. RISE (Restoring Individuals Safely and Effectively) is a jail-based competency restoration program that promotes person-centered wellness and recovery for men who've been ruled Incompetent To Proceed (ITP) with their legal cases. Paving new roads, Renay was one of the first Peers in the country to join a treatment team in a state mental health institute; she just became one of the first Peers in the State of Colorado to earn the new credential of Certified Peer and Family Specialist; and has served on the Governor's Task Force to bring parity to the mental health and substance use statutes.

Renay received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Akron, Ohio, and continues to create sculptures and music as a way to stay healthy and balanced in her recovery. Also a Certified Drum Circle Facilitator, she is working to create a community-based drum circle for those who are seeking a different kind of "high." Supporting others as they discover their own recovery and wellness goals is Renay's passion, and she finds working in forensics to be the most rewarding of environments. Last year, she spoke about her work in forensic peer support at NAMI's National Conference, as well as NAMI Montana's State Conference on Mental Illness. Renay was awarded Correct Care's Employee of the Quarter (winter 2016) and the RISE Employee of the Month in August 2016.

We invite you to listen to this candid and inspiring discussion between DBSA President Allen Doederlein and Renay about her personal journey, passions, priorities, and work.

 

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Live Chat―Communicating with Kindness and Honesty during Difficult Conversations

On Thursday, September 21 at 1:00 p.m. CDT, in the NEW chat system, the Peer Leadership Center will be hosting a live discussion chat on communicating with kindness and honesty during difficult conversations. When working in a peer role, providing perspective to the peers you serve is a key factor in building a trust based relationship. Sometimes, these conversations can be difficult or uncomfortable, but there are ways to ensure that the way you communicate is kind, direct, and honest. Join your peers to share and learn about experiences, information, and tips in communicating with kindness and honesty during difficult conversations.

When: Thursday, September 21, 2017, at 1: 00 p.m. Central
Where: In the NEW PLC Discussion Chat system
Who can participate: Certified Peer Specialist Members and Peer Supporters

Join the chat!
Please note you must be logged in to participate. Not a member? Join Here!
Once logged in, go to the member portal and select the discussion chat option. The room will open 15 minutes before the chat. 

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

New Webinar―The Self-Stigma Phenomenon: How Stigma Impacts Identity-Formation in Young Adults

Presented by Lucy Ingram, CPS, DBSA Training and Program Manager

Self-stigma is one of the most commonly reported experiences young adults living with a mental health or substance use condition, or trauma, and can be among the most challenging barriers to overcome. This free webinar, available to all members of PLC, outlines the cognitive, emotional, and social elements of self-stigma and how it affects identity in young adults. Developing a positive identity is a critical part of young adult development. Together, we will gain an understanding of what self-stigma is; how it impacts identify-formation; and steps that individuals, peer workers, and supporters can take to work through it. We will delve into established best practice and see this process through the lens of young adults who have successfully worked through self-stigma and developed a healthy, positive sense of self. Register now!

When: Thursday, September 28, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. Central
Where: LIVE in the ReadyTalk System
Who can participate: Certified Peer Specialist and Peer Supporter Members
Not a member? Join Here!

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

New Webinar―Making Recovery a Priority: Integrating Peers into Traditional Provider Agencies

Presented by Zohreh R. King, CPS, Director of Recovery at North Suffolk Mental Health Association and Lucy Ingram, CPS, DBSA Training and Program Manager

Integrating peer support workers into traditional provider agencies can be a challenge, but it can be done. The effective delivery of peer support services is crucial to the wellbeing and progress of peers receiving these services, as well as to creating an organizational culture of wellness and recovery. In this presentation, we’ll look at key components of successfully implementing this process, including supervision and leadership, creating community to promote recovery and wellness across the agency, and how to define different peer roles. Throughout the webinar, practical examples will be provided that you can implement to make a positive impact in your organization! Register now!

When: Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. Central
Where: LIVE in the ReadyTalk System
Who can participate: Certified Peer Specialist and Peer Supporter Members
Not a member? Join Here!

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

DBSA’s Virtual Chapter Leadership Forum―Supporting, Creating, and Celebrating Leaders

On October 14, 2017, please join us for online sessions to support, create, and celebrate our chapter leaders. This free event is open to anyone who is interested in our chapters and their work. Sessions include:

  • 10:00 a.m. CST: Take More Meaning from Leadership
  • 11:00 a.m. CST: Inclusion, Diversity, and Language
  • 1:30 p.m. CST: Many Hands Make Light Work: The Benefits of Shared Leadership
  • 3:00 p.m. CST: Build a Sustainable Volunteer Program
  • 4:00 p.m. CST: Celebrating DBSA’s Chapter Leaders

Visit our website for details, registration information, and a link to our CLF Facebook Group: DBSAlliance.org/CLF2017

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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

With bipolar disorder, does depression become more prevalent as one grows older?

We don’t expect that depression will be more frequent or more severe with age. In fact, we generally expect the opposite pattern. The best evidence about this question comes from large community surveys. Those surveys identify everyone with mood disorders―whether or not those people are receiving treatment. Those surveys tell us two important things about how mood disorders change with age. First, we see that the percentage of people with active mood symptoms goes down with age. Symptoms of mania tend to be most common in young adulthood and then gradually decline.  Symptoms of depression tend to be most common in mid-life and then gradually decline. But both are less common overall after age 50 or 60. Second, surveys that re-examine the same people many years later show that recovery is common―even among people who experienced severe symptoms early in life.

There certainly are some studies saying that mood disorders can have a progressive or malignant path―with depression and mania becoming more frequent and more severe over time. But those studies have selected people who need the most intensive treatment. So it is not surprising that the picture from those studies is pessimistic. If we consider everyone affected by mood disorders, the picture is more positive.

It’s also important to remember that some kinds of depression first appear later in life. Depression can be caused by chronic medical illness, especially neurological illnesses like strokes, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis. Still, the overall rate of clinical depression is lower in older people.

We can think of different reasons why symptoms of mood disorder generally decline with age. This could be due to changes in brain biology that help to make mood more stable. It’s also likely that people with mood disorders do learn more how to manage mood symptoms and prevent more severe episodes. Older often is wiser!

Of course, averages don’t apply to every individual. Some people with bipolar disorder do experience more severe symptoms―either depression or mania―as they age. But the average is more hopeful. 

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

bp Magazine: Sober Consideration: Bipolar, Alcohol & the Decision to Drink

The standard advice about drinking when you have bipolar is to avoid alcohol altogether. Is moderate drinking ever a good idea? Some things to ponder. Read the article.


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It's Suicide Prevention Month

Visit CareForYourMind.org to find out about implementation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and how everybody has a role in suicide prevention, in September and beyond.

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Personal Stories Drive State Advocacy Wins

Don’t think state level advocacy is important? Then consider that, even though the most recent federal mental health parity law went into effect in 2010, inequality in accessing mental health care through health insurance plans is still a challenge. California, Montana, Tennessee and Texas have addressed this issue by passing laws this year that strengthen their states’ mental health parity laws. Among the wins is the fact that Tennessee now requires managed care organizations to submit an annual report detailing how mental health claims are being handled. In Texas, the new law creates a behavioral health ombudsman to assist insurance users in navigating and resolving parity related challenges.

But legislation isn’t the only lever in this fight. Judicial and regulatory branches of government in many states have expressed support. That’s why DBSA has created a centralized location to share your story. If you live in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, consider sharing your experience in accessing care through your health insurance plan. Follow this link to a secure site where you can share your story. Once the story has been uploaded, we will contact you and ask you if you would like DBSA to share with the appropriate public official in your state. Your story will never be seen by others or shared without your permission, but your advocacy has the potential to bring relief to thousands by eliminating some of the barriers that keep people from accessing care.

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Reminder―ACA Open Enrollment Starts
November 1

If you are interested in obtaining health care through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges for 2018, the open enrollment period begins on November 1, 2017, and ends December 15, 2017. Learn more or enroll at www.Healthcare.gov.

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
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 Helpline and other family-focused programming.

Parent Connection: DBSA’s Helpline provides support!

Parents looking for information and support regarding their child’s mental health often find that utilizing a variety of resources provides a wide scope of knowledge and perspective. Together with the Balanced Mind Parent Network and DBSA’s online resources, DBSA’s Helpline can be another valuable source of support.

DBSA’s Helpline is a phone or email resource for individuals living with a mood disorder or their friends or family, including parents. Staffed by volunteers with lived experience, DBSA’s helpline provides information and referral resources to help the individual on their own, or their child's or loved one’s, journey to wellness. The Helpline is not a crisis or talk line, nor does it provide recommendations for any specific treatment.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Send an email via our online form or leave a voicemail for our volunteer team (847-492-8519).
  2. A volunteer will reach out to you via the same format within 72 hours to share information and resources about your concern.

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Allen Doederlein
DBSA President

Note from Allen

On August 19, 2017, I was thrilled to speak with the 2017 recipient of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA's) Life Unlimited Award, Renay Miller. Both in reviewing Renay’s nomination for this year’s award, and in our recorded conversation―which I invite you to listen to―I was struck by her warm, bright, strong, and immensely kind persona. She’s someone who made me think, “Everyone needs to know and hear from this person!”

Renay’s perspective on how to attain and maintain wellness no matter the odds was extraordinarily resonant for me, and I think it will be for you, too. Moreover, her frank and well-informed discussions of substance use disorders, work within community behavioral health centers, work within the justice system, and work as a peer specialist were all illuminating and inspiring.

Whether you’re ten or more years into your own recovery, or wellness, or just plain “life,” as the case may be—or if you’re just a few days into what you’d term “normal” or “ideal” (as I was on the day of this recording—about 12 days, to be exact)—or even if you’re not there yet but yearn to be, I know you’ll find something compelling within Renay’s wise words. Thank you, Renay, for exemplifying a Life Unlimited.

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DBSA Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s (DBSA’s) strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.  This is the second consecutive year that DBSA has earned this top distinction.

“The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. This adds DBSA to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support DBSA.”

Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology.  These Accountability & Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders. 

“It’s important our donors trust that we’re using their donations wisely to accomplish our mission to provide hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders,” said DBSA President Allen Doederlein.  “Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters our good governance and financial accountability.”

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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

Falling Asleep
When I’m having a really tough time relaxing during the day (or falling asleep especially) I find it really helpful to think about all of the people in my life that are important. These can be close friends, family members, pets, acquaintances, anyone. Sometimes just thinking about them and picturing their faces, or a particular memory with them, calms my anxiety and helps me fall asleep.

Happiness
Inspirational Quote: The road to happiness is always under construction. - Linda Gray

Dwelling on Negative Thoughts
When I dwell on negative thoughts, I purposely push them aside, and later give myself a small amount of time to dwell on those worries, rather than constantly overthinking it all day. I’ll say “Right now we are focusing on __, not __. When I get home I’ll give myself 20 minutes to think about it, and then I’ll move on.” Sometimes when the time comes to worry, I don’t even feel like I need to, and other times, it’s relieving to think it through, let it out, and then move on.

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Save the Date

Live Chat: Communicating with Kindness
Thursday, September 21, 2017
1:00 p.m. Central
Join the chat

Webinar: How Stigma Impacts Identity-Formation in Young Adults
Thursday, September 28, 2017
12:00 p.m. Central
Register

Webinar: Integrating Peers into Traditional Provider Agencies
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
12:00 p.m. Central
Register

DBSA Virtual Chapter Leadership Forum (CLF)
Saturday, October 14, 2017
10:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Central
Learn more or register

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