One out of ten people live with a mood disorder, which makes it likely that you or someone you know has to manage the day-to-day—sometimes minute-to-minute—challenges that living with a mood disorder poses. Learning how to navigate in an ever-changing world that is still relatively new to mental health treatment can be overwhelming and sometimes isolating not only for those who live with a mood disorder, but also their friends and loved ones. I’m here... is a way—for both people living with a mood disorder and those who support—to open up a channel for communication and to say, “I’m here...”
Knowing that you’re not alone on your journey is an important part of wellness, but reaching out to others can be difficult and sometimes seem impossible. On the flip side, it can be challenging for someone to watch a friend or family member struggle with mood disorder symptoms and not know what to say or do. The goal of I’m here... isn’t to “fix” anyone or be a counselor of sorts; it’s to connect with another person and to build awareness. Get started!
Cinda and Linea Johnson talk about the I'm here... campaign and their experiences from when Linea was first diagnosed with a mood disorder. They co-authored the book, Perfect Chaos: A Daughter’s Journey with Bipolar, A Mother’s Struggle to Save Her. Linea currently works as a research coordinator at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Linea was the recipient of the 2013 DBSA Life Unlimited Award. Cinda is a professor and director of the graduate special education program at Seattle University. She is a national leader in the area of transition from high school to post-high for young people with disabilities. Together, Cinda and Linea make up a mother/daughter team with a shared purpose of building hope and lessening the stigma for those struggling with mental health conditions.
Dr. Greg Simon talks about the I'm here... campaign and ways in which we can start a conversation with a loved one about mood disorders. Dr. Simon 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. Dr. Simon is the chair of the DBSA Scientific Advisory Board and can often be found answering questions in our Ask the Doc page featured in our monthly eUpdate.
Tell us about it...
The DBSA I’m here... campaign was borne out of hearing people’s accounts of loneliness and desperation—not only from persons who live with a mood disorder, but their loved ones as well. As Dr. Greg Simon says in the podcast above, connecting with others is a basic human need. Last fall we offered an anonymous survey to let us know two things:
SUMMARY: It should be no surprise that the response would reflect a disconnect—an inability to see and communicate with the other person. Resentment was found on both sides of the coin, again pointing to loneliness and desperation that each person feels. Peers want more help from their loved ones and supporters want to know how to be able to help—both expect the person on the other side to know what to do and say. Finally, both peers and supporters shared the love they had for the other person.
THE GOOD NEWS: A connection can be made simply by saying, "I'm here..." Whether you have an I'm here... kit in hand or not, let your loved ones know you're there. Start the conversation.
CONTINUE TO LET US KNOW: Each month on DBSA's Facebook page, we'll be partnering with The Mighty, requesting feedback from our community. Be sure to visit our Facebook page to participate because your answer might be used in a post for The Mighty!
Spread the word...
Spread awareness and tell people, I'm here...
Peer to Friend
Peer to Peer
Family to Peer
Melody Moezzi and her husband, Matthew, speak to the importance of support and how their connection grew stronger after being open and honest with each other. You can watch more videos on Melody's vlog, A Saner Spin.
Melody Moezzi, JD, is an award-winning author, United Nations Global Expert, and mental and civil rights advocate. Her latest book Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life is a critically acclaimed memoir that interweaves her experiences with both clinical and cultural bipolarity. Learn more about Melody and her work at MelodyMoezzi.com.
Dese’Rae L. Stage is a photographer, writer, suicide awareness advocate, and the creator of Live Through This
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