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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!

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.

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.


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.

Born This Way

Mark your calendars for a Mental Wellness Information Fair followed by an event focused on how parents and other caring adults can help support our young people’s mental wellness.

The event is part of Born This Way Foundation’s Channel Kindness Tour – a series of activations, youth-led service events, and community gatherings that are organized to coincide with Lady Gaga’s Joanne World Tour.

Attendees will be eligible to win a pair of tickets to Lady Gaga’s Joanne World Tour concert on Wednesday, November 15th at the Sprint Center in KC.

Please read the BTW FLYER 102517 for more details!

Not All Wounds Can Be Treated With Stitches

In the wake of the tragedy in Las Vegas earlier this week, it is important to think about how to help all the victims – those with and those without visible wounds. Post-traumatic stress disorder effects approximately 44.7 million people. There are different types of treatments available for PTSD including medication, cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, and EMDR. Currently in Las Vegas a temporary crisis center has been opened up to victims, family members, and anyone else impacted by recent events. This push for immediate support is called “psychological first aid”, and it is becoming the new response. Read more about what is being done to help victims with PTSD in Las Vegas in CNBC’s article The rush to help PTSD victims in aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting.

Second Youth Mental Health First Aid Planned For Aug. 29 at Tri-County

Tri-County Mental Health Services will host a Youth Mental Health First Aid class, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 29.

The eight-hour program teaches participants how to provide initial help to young people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis and substance use disorders.

The training is excellent for anyone who has direct contact with youth, including coaches, faith communities, parents, police officers and other emergency responders. Topics include signs and symptoms of the most common mental health disorders among youth, preparation for appropriate reaction when a young person is experiencing a mental health crisis and more.

The program will be held in the second floor conference room of the Northland Human Services Building, 3100 NE 83rd Street, Kansas City. Thanks to sponsorship by Missouri’s Department of Mental Health, the program is free and includes lunch.

The program is limited to 24 people and an earlier class filled quickly. To register, contact Kelsey Prather, you suicide prevention specialist, at 816.877.0496 or at kelseyp@tri-countymhs.orgThis flyer also provides more information.

Summer Depression

When we think of seasonal affective disorder we often associate it with winter, but it can also happen in the summer. For some, summer SAD happens every year at any point of the summer months. For others, like myself, it’s directly related to extreme temperatures. The sun may be out and it looks great outside, but if it’s too hot to do anything, it will only make my mood worse. I also tend to isolate in the comfort of my air conditioning, not wanting to go outside, which drives my depression and anxiety levels. Maybe you are still going outdoors and feeling depressed. Did you know that even mild dehydration can increase depression? If any of that sounds familiar to you, maybe these 10 Summer Depression Busters is just what you need too!  


Change is a terrifying thing for everyone, especially those of us with mood disorders. Tonight is our first time meeting in our new location, and it came with a slew of changes. My fear of making all these changes led me to look for some ways to cope. I found this article for 7 tips on How To Deal With Change.

If you struggled to make it to group, maybe some of these tips can help you make it next week!