Author Archive for DBSA OP Staff

Suicide Awareness in KC

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. According to NAMI, 41,000 individuals are lost to suicide each year. This is a time to share stories, support one another, and become an advocate to end the stigma around mental health. Here’s a couple ways to get involved here in KC:

Speak Up Walk   

When: Sunday, September 16th

Where: Garmin Campus, Olathe, Kansas

Registration will be accepted until the morning of the walk.

Registration and Frequently Asked Questions

Why support Speak Up? “Our passionate hope is that Speak Up will provide quality education and awareness in our community and bridge the communication gaps between community, schools and parents.” Learn more about Speak Up

 

 

Out of the Darkness Greater Kansas City Walk  

When: Saturday, October 6th 

Where: Berkley Riverfront Park

Online registration closes at noon the Friday before the walk. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk from the time check-in begins until the walk starts. Registration is free and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st.

For more information on contacts to call click here.

Why support Out of the Darkness? “When you walk in the Out of the Darkness Walks, you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.” Learn more about American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

 

Happy Birthday DBSA

Do you remember your favorite birthday?
What made that day so special?

For me it was my eighth birthday, the day I finally got my first bike. I remember coming home from school to find my dad putting my new ride together. He had
taken off work early to make sure my bike was ready for me. I can still see that bike clear as day in my mind, with its metal gleaming and its black and gold banana seat, and I can still remember how happy and cared for my dad’s actions made me feel.

Today I’m happy to be a part of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s 33rd birthday and to ask you to join me in making a special birthday gift on behalf of the decades we’ve spent providing hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of the people we serve.

When we blow out our birthday candles, we’ll be wishing for an increase in accessible peer support networks that ensure the 21 million individuals living with a mood disorder can feel as supported and loved as I did when I came home to my very own bike all those years ago.

I am excited about what DBSA is building, and I hope you decide to join me in helping to make our birthday wish come true!

Sincerely,
Michael Pollock
Chief Executive Officer


At birthdays, it’s also important to look back and celebrate accomplishments. Here are some recent events DBSA is proud of…

The New York Times reached out to DBSA to provide the peer perspective on how to help individuals dealing with thoughts of suicide for its front-page article on the highly-publicized losses of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

DBSA’s draft language for the PEER Act, which has been rolled into the Mission Act, passed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Signed into law, this bill authorizes the hiring of peer specialists in 50 Veteran Administration primary care settings.

Charity Navigator listed DBSA as one of the top organizations addressing suicide prevention and mental health.

We can only convert our birthday wish into action with your support.

Is the gig economy for you?

Guest blog by Brad Krause from SelfCaring

Image via Pixabay

Being Your Own Boss Can Bring Freedom, Flexibility

Today, aspiring entrepreneurs can launch a business without a lease or landline. Indeed, it seems all it takes to start a small business in the current climate is an idea and an Internet connection.

But don’t draft your resignation letter just yet. Although 15 million Americans were self-employed in 2015, accounting for 10.1 percent of total U.S. employment, roughly 20 percent of new businesses fail in their first year and around half don’t make it to their fifth birthday. So it’s important to evaluate whether you have what it takes to succeed as a long-term entrepreneur.

The Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship

Considering you’ll probably be doing everything from marketing to maintenance as a small business owner, being your own boss requires a few key personality traits, such as adaptability. You should also be comfortable confronting conundrums and adept at finding solutions quickly. Finally, you have to be equally at ease with risks and routines. After all, you are taking a chance by going out on your own. But the fact that you no longer have to answer to anyone else means you’ve got to have the disciple to stick to a schedule, meet deadlines and cover your new business’ bills as well as your own.

That being said, self-employment can be an ideal option for people who want or need the freedom to set their own schedules, work at their own pace, and choose their clients and colleagues. Such flexibility could fit people with physical health conditions, family obligations, or mood disorders — such as anxiety and depression — that might make it difficult to work for someone else or thrive in a traditional work environment.

But self-employment can have its downsides for anyone, regardless of their circumstances. For instance, your income isn’t guaranteed, which can create anxiety. Setting your own schedule may also become its own source of stress because it can be difficult to strike a healthy work-life balance. You may also have to handle your own health insurance, retirement savings, and vacation scheduling, among other administrative details. So it makes sense to research resources provided by freelancer advocacy organizations and other sources to learn more about the less-obvious aspects of being your own boss.

Getting into the Gig Economy

So starting smart does require more than an idea and Internet connection if you want your new business to have staying power. At the same time, you don’t necessarily need an extensive business plan and substantial seed fund to get going. Starting small can be a great way to ease into entrepreneurship.

For instance, you can experiment with the gig economy while holding down another job.  The gig economy is generally defined as a framework where people are hired, often through digital marketplaces to work on demand, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it could include people operating an after-hours business while working a more permanent part- or full-time job, working for a variety of clients to cobble together a living as a full-time freelancer, or toiling as one of the many students, parents or retirees taking on tasks only when their schedules allow.

That variety makes the size of the gig economy difficult to measure definitively. But one survey from Intuit Inc. and Emergent Research showed an estimated 7.6 million Americans will be regularly working in the on-demand economy by 2020, more than double the 3.2 million working on demand in August 2015.

So the gig economy is expanding, and it’s also providing a launch pad for many professionals who want to parlay their passions into permanent paychecks. If you’re craving a career that offers you the freedom and flexibility to chart your own course, consider becoming your own boss. A small start could someday become big business.

Suicide Help

Recently we heard the tragic news of KC native and fashion designer, Kate Spade. She was believed to have lived with bipolar disorder and is noted to have sought help numerous times. It is not known that this is the reason of her suicide. According to the CDC there are many factors other than mental health that contribute to suicide including relationship problems, substance abuse, crisis, physical health problem, loss of housing, and job/financial problems. As suicide rates are on the rise, it is important that we raise our level of knowledge and understanding of suicide as well. This will help promote suicide prevention. 

CDC’s Preventing Suicide Fact Sheet

World Health Organization’s Suicide Prevention Initiative 

CDC’s Understand Suicide Fact Sheet   

Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center – Including an online chat option

Missouri Suicide Prevention Resource Center

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Including online chat 

National Suicide Text Hotline

SAVE : Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Suicide Prevention | SAMHSA

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Most importantly – Please Remember You Are Never Alone

 

Isolation and Mood Disorders

In January, I ended up in the hospital for my depression. My experience there changed a lot of things for me. One of the really important realizations it led to: isolation is probably my biggest trigger for depression. A couple of things happened that let me see this. First, my doctor told me he didn’t want me to be alone. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Second, the social worker held a “family meeting” for me, where my loved ones and I discussed what I needed to be okay after I got out. We planned for me to spend alternating weeks with my partner and my sister’s family. It wasn’t until I had to spend a week alone that I realized what a difference this was making. My depression started coming back immediately; I didn’t have any motivation to get out of bed. I remembered what the doctor had said. Maybe there was something to not being alone.

Since that time, experience has reinforced that isolating myself is indeed my worst trigger. The support of my partner and my family members is vital. I’m employed again and living on my own again, but I make it a point to spend as much time as I can with my supporters, even – or especially – when I don’t feel like it.

Check out this article by Good Therapy to learn more about emotional and social isolation.

It’s Spring now, why am I not happy?

 

Many of us are accustomed to relating seasonal affective disorder with the dark, cold winter months. Once spring hits and it becomes April, that should all just go away, right? It turns out April can be just as hard on SAD as the winter months. Therese Borchard, a columnist for Everyday Health, offers four different theories on why April can actually make depression and anxiety levels raise in her article 

April Is the Cruelest Month: Why People Get Depressed and Anxious in the Spring

  1. Change
  2. Hormones
  3. Memories
  4. Allergies and toxins

For more explanations be sure to check out the link above. She also has an article on how rainy weather, like we have had in KC for some time now, can affect depression.

Weather and Mood: Rainy With a Chance of Depression

In this article she links to some interesting studies relating weather and mood. 

So, if you just aren’t feeling it yet this month – you are not alone!

Talking to your kids about school shootings

Don’t know how to talk to your kids about what happened in Florida? With so much media attention, school shootings can create much anxiety in children. Here is some advice.

Marcia Weseman, Ed.D, is a child trauma expert and Manager of Community Programs and Prevention at Saint Luke’s Crittenton Health Center.

 

Stressless Self Care

To be the best you for others, you also have to be the best you for yourself. Many of us put other’s needs before our own, but in the long run the stress of doing so takes it toll on everyone. Sometimes the thought of adding self care seems stressful all in it’s own. We struggle to come up with ideas that don’t require getting something special or spending money. Here is a list of ideas that I have used to take away some of the stress. I have recently added #10 to my daily care routine. Not perfectly by any means, but enough to feel a little more put together. I was amazed at how much it helped. 

Simple Electrocardiogram Can Determine Whether a Patient Has Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder, Study Finds

Bipolar is often misdiagnosed as major depression. Antidepressants without a mood stabilizer can inadvertently trigger a manic episode. Studies are being conducted at Loyola University to help find a noninvasive procedure to help doctors diagnose bipolar versus major depression. Read more about this study from newswise.com

NFL Player Uses His Feet to Support DBSA

 

When strong safety Tony Jefferson takes to the field December 10 for the Baltimore Ravens against the Pittsburgh Steelers (in the nationally televised NBC Sunday Night Football game, 7:00 p.m. Central Time), DBSA will be right there with him. Tony will wear specially designed shoes inspired by his commitment to support individuals living with depression and bipolar disorder. These shoes will later be auctioned off by the NFL Foundation, with all of the proceeds going to DBSA. Last year Tony’s cleats raised $305 for DBSA, but this year will be even better thanks to volunteer supporters from DBSA.

Originally hailing from the San Diego, California area, Tony has a lifelong commitment to raise awareness about mental health stigma. Having learned this from family members facing mental health challenges, he now lends his strength and his very fast feet to help DBSA capture national attention during one of the most important games of the NFL season. You can help Tony and DBSA by going to Twitter and Facebook, then posting your comments in support of his #MyCauseMyCleats campaign and cheering him along. Show Tony how much we appreciate having him as a part of the DBSA family.