. Sometimes we need time to reflect
NAMIWalks is the largest mental health education and fundraising effort in America. NAMIWalks brings together thousands of individuals and supporters to celebrate mental illness recovery, honor those who have lost their lives to mental illness and help raise funds, combat stigma and promote awareness.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Walk Begin: 10:00am
West Shore Park, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD
400-500 Block of Light Street
401 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Through NAMIWalks' public, active display of support for people affected by mental illness and their loved ones, we are changing how Marylanders and Americans view mental illness. NAMIWalks affords us the opportunity to share the message that help and hope are available for those in need.
NAMIWalks proceeds support mental health programs offered at NO COST throughout Maryland and help us to offer essential, practical education and support at no cost to our local communities.
Senator Guy Guzzone, 410-841-3572
Delegate Antonio Hayes, 410-841-3545
Dan Martin, Mental Health Association of Maryland 410-978-8865
Dr. Nancy Rosen-Cohen, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - Maryland 410-625-6482
KEEP THE DOOR OPEN ACT WILL INCREASE ACCESS FOR MARYLANDERS WHO NEED TREATMENT
Legislation to support mental health and substance use disorders providers is top legislative priority for nonprofit coalition
Annapolis, Md. (December 21, 2016) – A broad coalition of nonprofit organizations announced that its top legislative priority for the 2017 Maryland General Assembly will be the Keep the Door Open Act, sponsored by Senator Guy Guzzone (District 13) and Delegate Antonio Hayes (District 40). The Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition supports the Act to address the state’s growing demand for high-quality, accessible behavioral health care treatment. Behavioral health is a term that covers the full range of mental and emotional well-being, including mental health and substance use disorders.
More than one million Marylanders live with mental health or substance use disorders. Additionally, more than 180,000 Maryland children and adults use and depend on the public behavioral health system. Advocates say that demand for services is steadily increasing in Maryland, with the number of people using our public mental health system increasing 65 percent since the start of the recent economic downturn.
Similar legislation passed the Senate last year in the 2016 session with a 35-9 bipartisan vote. The bill’s sponsors are optimistic that they can build on that momentum in the upcoming 2017 session.
"Demand for mental health and substance use treatment is increasing," said Senator Guzzone. "We can’t run away from this problem anymore – we need solutions so that Marylanders can get the critical healthcare treatment they need."
Coalition members say that dramatic increases in hospital admissions and emergency department visits associated with Medicaid lead to increased public spending at a time when analysts project a state budget shortfall. Advocates say that the Keep the Door Open Act will help community health clinics and other behavioral health providers treat patients before more costly hospital or emergency care is needed.
"We know behavioral health treatment works, and we need to make it more accessible," said Delegate Hayes. "Now is the time for Maryland to ensure dependable access to community health providers."
The legislation indexes the behavioral health provider rates, which have only had six modest increases in more than 20 years, to the cost of medical inflation. Advocates say the Keep the Door Open Act is critical to strengthen the workforce and retain qualified licensed professionals and direct care workers by ensuring fair and stable provider rates. Community behavioral health providers administer traditional outpatient services, mobile treatment, crisis services, withdrawal management, rehabilitation, residential treatment, partial hospitalization programs and housing.
"Without this legislation, we fear that our front-line community behavioral health providers may be forced to close up shop," said Dan Martin, director of public policy for the Mental Health Association of Maryland. "We don’t want Marylanders who urgently need behavioral health care to find closed doors."
Coalition members also point out that Maryland remains in an opioid crisis, with deaths and overdoses from heroin continuing to increase.
"If we want to stem this opioid epidemic, we need more community services, recovery support and preventive care," said Dr. Nancy Rosen-Cohen, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Maryland Chapter. "We need to reach people early – and community health services are the best way to do that."
The Behavioral Health Coalition also supports initiatives to ensure that Marylanders with health insurance can access crisis services and to create long-term funding in the state budget for additional treatment resources to combat Maryland’s opioid epidemic. The Coalition has scheduled a "Keep the Door Open Maryland" rally for February 23 at noon on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. More than 500 attendees are expected to attend and support the coalition’s legislative platform.
The Behavioral Health Coalition of Maryland is a diverse mix of more than 40 non-governmental organizations working together to ensure individuals affected by mental health and substance use disorders have high quality and accessible services for their needs. www.keepthedooropenmd.
Are you curious about starting a DBSA chapter and support group in your community?
DBSA chapters provide people living with depression and bipolar disorder the opportunity to find comfort and direction in a confidential and supportive setting. In addition to free, open-to-the-public support groups, chapters often develop other initiatives, including educational programs, newsletters, lending libraries, and advocacy projects.
If you would like to learn more about starting a chapter, join us at 5 p.m. CDT on Thursday, September 29, for a complimentary webinar. You’ll get an in-depth look at what DBSA chapters do, how they are run by peers like you, and what kind of training, resources, and support DBSA provides. Register today!
Start a New Chapter with $$$$$ Assistance from DBSA !
Have you ever thought about starting a support group for peers living with depression or bipolar disorder? The best time to start is now! DBSA wants to help you start a face-to-face peer support group and will be reducing the affiliation fee by 50 percent for new chapters affiliating in August. Learn more >>
W. Daniel Hale The Baltimore Sun June 12, 2016
Op-ed: It was not cancer that took my daughter from us. It was another terrible disease: depression.
Three years ago I stood in the pulpit of the church where my family had worshipped for more than three decades to give the most difficult talk I have ever had to give — offering reflections on the life and death of my 36-year-old daughter, Libby, who had passed away just a few days before. As I prepared my remarks, Libby's sister and brother encouraged me to speak openly about the illness responsible for her death. If she had died of cancer, they noted, we would not be reluctant at all to talk about her battles with and eventual death from it. But it was not cancer that took Libby from us. It was another terrible disease — depression.
Depression was not unfamiliar to me. I am a clinical psychologist and have devoted much of my research and clinical work to mood disorders. And I have had personal experience with depression as well, having had two serious episodes that required medical and psychological treatment.
As I looked out over the more than 300 people attending the memorial service that evening, I didn't know what type of response to expect to my remarks about Libby's struggles with depression and how she had eventually taken her own life. But I felt strongly that I owed it to Libby and to all those still suffering from depression. It was time to use this dark moment in my life to shed light on this crippling and often lethal illness.
I must confess that I was surprised by just how many people spoke to my children and me after the service to express appreciation for my remarks — their words spoken with sincerity and purpose. The refrain, "we need to talk about depression," was repeated over and over again in these conversations. "We need to talk about depression in our schools." "We need to talk about depression in the workplace." "We need to talk about depression in our houses of worship." "We need to talk about depression in our homes."
I was truly heartened by these comments, and especially moved over the next few weeks when I learned that many of these concerned individuals followed up their words with donations to support the production of an educational video on depression that we chose to title, "We Need to Talk."
Since Libby's death, I have had many occasions to share this video and to speak about depression in educational institutions, religious congregations and workplaces. I have used these opportunities to encourage audiences to view depression as an illness, just as they would diabetes or hypertension, and to recognize that there are effective treatments. I have focused particularly on two of the major obstacles that often interfere with depressed individuals seeking treatment: the stigma still too often associated with depression and the sense of hopelessness that is a central component of depression.
As I have given these talks, I have watched closely and listened carefully to discern the information or examples that have the greatest impact on my audiences. There is usually some interest in the research and clinical reports I provide, but it is clear that the most impactful part of my presentations is when I share my own experience with depression. There is something very powerful about having a professional speak openly, without any sense of shame or embarrassment, about his own struggles with depression and how, with treatment, he has been able to return to a full, active life.
As gratifying as it is when I see that I have helped people by talking openly about my depression, I must confess that I know I have passed up other opportunities where it would have been entirely appropriate and potentially quite beneficial for me to share my own experience. And I have had no reason not to. I know that I can speak candidly in these situations without jeopardizing my career or my most important relationships because my colleagues are fully aware of my mental health history, as are my wife, children and closest friends.
While it is true that not everyone who has had a similar experience with depression can talk about it without concern for their employment or relationships, undoubtedly there are individuals from various walks of life — health care, education, religion, government and the business community — who, like me, have been successfully treated for depression and who could speak openly without fear of harmful repercussions.
Imagine the impact we could have if more of those suffering in silence with the pain and despair of depression could hear our stories of how we were able to emerge from the dark, lifeless depths of depression and discover that our lives could once again include feelings of love, joy and hope.
What a powerful force we could be.
W. Daniel Hale is special adviser to the president at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; his email is email@example.com.
Copyright © 2016, The Baltimore Sun
ACP Publishes Depression Treatment
Guidelines for Adults
By Kelly Young
Edited by Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD
The American College of Physicians recommends that clinicians treating adults with major depressive disorder choose between cognitive behavioral therapy and second-generation antidepressants. The new guideline appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Clinicians should first discuss treatment effects, adverse effects, cost, accessibility, and preferences with their patient.Researchers compared various treatments and found moderate-quality evidence showing no difference between second-generation antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy.
However, patients treated with a combination of antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy had increased functional capacity compared with those taking antidepressants alone.
Editorialists conclude: "Generalist physicians should seize the day and act to implement these guidelines."Link(s):ACP guideline in Annals of Internal Medicine (Free)ACP review in Annals of Internal Medicine (Free abstract)Annals of Internal Medicine editorial (Subscription required)Background: Physician's First Watch coverage of ACP's guidelines on second-generation antidepressants (Free) -
See more at: http://www.jwatch.org/fw111156/2016/02/09/acp-publishes-depression-treatment-guidelines-adults?
from DBSA December 2015 e-update
Life Unlimited Stories
by Jack Reeves
There is nothing quite like cooling your heals in the psychiatric wing of your local hospital to make you realize that something isn’t quite right. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a series of very poor life decisions and self-destructive behavior back in 2001 at the ripe old age of 23ish. Taking stock of my situation, I began to understand that things hadn’t been “quite right” for some time when I was able to connect the dots of aberrant behavior and wild mood swings back to my early teenage years. If I didn’t get help back then, I probably wouldn’t be here telling you my story today.
The years after my diagnosis weren’t much of an improvement. I gained over 100 pounds and could not hold a job for more than seven or eight months at a time and moved more times than I can remember. Overdrawn accounts, broken leases, and a couple stints being homeless also didn’t help much. To be honest, I also didn’t stick to any medication regimen for long either. I tried fish oils and other “remedies” but saw no improvement. It wasn’t until my first child was born in 2005 that I decided to stick with my prescribed medication treatment for the long haul. After a few months, I had finally found a modicum of stability. It was because of this newfound inner peace that I was able to handle the series of tests that came next.
The years that followed saw a steady stream of tragedies in my family. My wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 when we were expecting our second child. My wife survived treatment but we lost the child who was to be our second daughter. In 2009 my child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In 2013 we had another daughter, but she was born with a congenital spinal defect that required a spinal fusion surgery on her first birthday. There was more, but I will stop there.
You see, while my family and I did experience one tragedy after another, it was religiously sticking with my treatment that made it far easier to bear. From every incident, I learned a new skill or life perspective. From my wife’s cancer, I learned to be proactive. The best way to deal with a problem is to face it head-on, resolve it, and file it away for future reference. From my daughter’s diabetes, I learned to take better care of my health to set an example for her. I ate right and became active, eventually losing over 130 pounds in two years.
Let me take a moment here to provide a bit of insight. While prescribed medication was helpful in a number of ways, it was very important to be mindful of how I felt and work with my doctor to make adjustments accordingly. While losing weight, the drug regimen I was on became toxic. I was scared to switch medications, but given my state at the time, I was open to anything. I’m glad I made that decision because the new regimen has brought me stability, clarity of thought, and razor sharp focus.
There’s much more to my story. I’ll probably write a book about it someday. It’ll have to wait, though, because with my new lease on life, I have been extremely busy in school. I finally graduated from college and am now completing a master’s program. Next year I plan on continuing my education in another graduate program to get my PhD in public health (you can guess what my inspiration was), and despite the health issues that plague my family, we are happy and looking forward to the future.
We all walk our own paths with our mood disorders. What I hope you take away from this is the knowledge that no matter how hard something is, you can always learn from it and apply that lesson to your life. Know your limits, know your strengths, and, most importantly, know thyself. It is through the hardships you face that you will grow and learn to overcome anything life throws at you. Bipolar disorder may seem like a life sentence, but you have the power to not let it be so.
SURVIVING HOLIDAY STRESS