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APRIL 2005

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Welcome to depressioNet!
A very warm depressioNet Welcome! Particularly to all who are new to depressioNet and our newsletter since February. We hope you find the dNetter newsletter interesting and/or helpful to you. It is worth reading through to the end as we have a powerful testimony to how each of us is able to make a powerful difference in the lives of other human beings, other people just like us who live with depression.

People living with depression – Having a voice!
In mid March the Chair of the Senate Inquiry into Mental Health issues, Senator Lyn Allison, announced that the Committee was calling for public submissions by Thursday 28 April 2005. depressioNet will be making a submission to ensure that the issues specific to people living with depression are addressed by the committee. Historically, people who have depression as their only / primary mental health issue have not had a specific voice – as most of us don’t want anyone to know we have depression, much less announce it to the world! Over the past 5 years (Birthday coming up in June!) the voices of people through the depressioNet ‘underground’ have revealed a number of issues – particularly those relating to issues of stigma etc, that have not been directly addressed. The current model of “mental health professional, carer and consumer’ as being the main players is out of date and no longer appropriate. If you would like to contribute to depressioNet’s submission or provide your thoughts or feedback, please send it through to admin@depressioNet.com.au Together a small group of committed people can change the world!

Sensitivity and Depression – a dNetter book!
People often speak about the link between depression and sensitivity and certainly we get a lot of feedback on this issue from people living with depression - and one person approached us with the idea of creating a book about the positives that can emerge from this sensitivity. As Tony is also a professional photographer and graphic designer (who feels that much of his creativeness has been enhanced by his experiences with depression) and is willing and able to lead the project, depressioNet is very happy to support it!

We have been collecting submissions for a few months now, and are hoping to go to print mid-year. You can find a short description of the approach being taken and information about how you can contribute to the book at http://www.depressionet.com.au/files/dnet_book.html Questions? Kristen@depressionet.com.au

‘The Other Side of the Looking Glass’
This small self-help book is a brutally honest but light-hearted document of experience, from a 30 year sufferer of depression. In 1997 Tony DeLorger (different Tony to above!) at 44, experienced a crisis in his life and was diagnosed with having Dysthymic Disorder, a long term form of depression. He soon discovered how this affliction had plagued his life from as early as his late teens.

In March, Good Medicine magazine listed ‘The Other Side of the Looking Glass’ in the top five best books in relation to mental health – and not surprisingly as it is written by a person living with depression! In a recent email to depressioNet Tony wrote “What I have learned is that people that suffers depressive disorders need to talk to others on the same journey. The feeling of isolation can be an overwhelming experience for the sufferer.” This is the knowing on which depressioNet was based 5 years ago and which is proven daily in our online communication forums – at ‘Our dNet’. If would like to know more about ‘The Other Side of the Looking Glass’ or to order it from Tony: http://www.depressionet.com.au/books/depression/other_side.html

The Uplift Program
Bob Murray, PH.D., a clinical psychologist, and Alicia Fortinberry, M.S., a psychotherapist and movement educator, have been helping people overcome depression and build strong, healing relationships for more than 20 years. The husband-and-wife team developed the Uplift Program, which is taught at the University of South Florida and the California Institute of Integral Studies and which you may find useful in learning to live effectively with depression – and/or on your road to recovery. We have information about the uplift program on depressioNet at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/uplift_events.html They are holding a 2 hour seminar and a 2 1/2 day workshop in Sydney in June – more is in the ‘What’s On’ section of this newsletter.

What's New
Mental illness and pregnancy – research outcomes
Researchers in Western Australia followed women with mental illnesses through pregnancy and compared them to pregnant women without mental illness to see what happens during pregnancy and how that may influence the chances of their children developing Schizophrenia; Bi-polar and Major Depression.

Assen Jablensky, the Professor of Psychiatry at UWA was interviewed by Norman Swan on Radio National and the interview transcript is at http://www.depressionet.com.au/treatments/medicns/pdm.html

10 Myths and Facts about the Disability Support Pension (DSP)
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has published a paper that aims to work through the myths associated with the DSP. This article is of interest not only because it articulates well the social myths around the DSP, but additionally it gives you the real facts, outlining who is getting the DSP, who is eligible and how it works. For example, people with a mental illness who are working in part time employment may also be eligible to receive DSP for additional income support. The report can be accessed at http://www.depressionet.com.au/articles.html#general

Hospitals to improve mental health care
21 hospitals from around Australia have been working together since 2003 under a National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) initiative to improve the way people with mental health problems are treated in emergency departments. A further 20 hospitals from across Australia have just been selected to join the initiative, taking the total of participating hospitals to 41 overall. Most of the participating hospitals are focussing on building and strengthening internal teams to streamline processes, but some are also looking beyond the Emergency Department for ways to improve the system and the patient experience. For more information on the CoP project, visit www.nicsl.com.au (under projects).

What's On
SEMINAR: Creating Optimism & Overcoming Depression - 3rd June
Learn what causes depression, why antidepressants don’t work long-term and practical steps for depression-proofing yourself and your family. With psychologists Dr Bob Murray and Alicia Fortinberry, at Y on the Park Hotel, 5-11 Wentworth Ave.. $10 at the door. For more information call (02) 9909-8848 or visit http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/creating_optimism.html

Uplift Program: 2 1/2 day Workshop - June 17-19

Hardwire your brain for happiness with Dr Bob Murray and Alicia Fortinberry, authors of Creating Optimism: A Proven, 7-Step Program for Overcoming Depression. Participants report dramatic improvements using revolutionary, research-backed techniques for creating resilient relationships and changing self-limiting patterns. Couples' and group discounts. Health-professionals welcome. Free follow-up support groups. Sydney. For more information call (02) 9909-8848 or visit http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/uplift_program.html


Introductory Happiness Coaching Sessions
Timothy Sharp and Associates, with the support of the Mental Health Association NSW, is trialling an exciting new introductory happiness coaching session. Individual, one-on-one coaching is the most effective way to define your goals, learn the most appropriate strategies and then achieve happiness fast. For up to 2 hours, you can work with a coach to determine your goals and develop a practical & achievable happiness plan. Timothy is a huge supporter of depressioNet and the work that we do.

Find out more and register now at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/nsw_happy.html


Melbourne Clinic – Forthcoming events
The Melbourne Clinic runs day programs throughout the year for people who suffer depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic and agoraphobia. These programs are not just for patients or clients of the Melbourne Clinic, but are available for anyone to join in. To find out about the range of programs available go to: http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/melbclinic_programs.php

Alternative Endings – Four Stories About Life & The Choice To Die
Alternative Endings offers four individual and personal stories in live theatre, which probe issues including marginalisation, depression, injustice and suicide. By making public the usually private world of people who choose death, Alternative Endings hopes to build a better understanding of what suicide represents. Playing in St Kilda from 28 April –7 May, for information http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/vic_altend.html

Women's Mental Health Studies At The Alfred
The Alfred are conducting three research studies that focus on women and mental health. You need to be located in Melbourne to participate in the study but the Alfred can conduct home visits if you need. http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch35_intro.html

Mindfulness Meditation
Meditation is a useful tool in assisting people with anxiety or depression to learn to relax and also to disengage from their fearful or depressing thoughts. Meditation is becoming increasingly popular among therapists as part of their approach to helping people with anxiety, stress or depression. Facilitated by Steve Brown, mindful meditation Melbourne. More information is available at http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/vic_padamm.html


Peace of Mind Centre
The Peace of mind centre is a centre for Psychology and Counselling in Strathpine, and runs Saturday and evening workshops to learn new techniques and new strategies to manage depression. Find out more at http://www.peaceofmindcentre.com/Counselling,Workshops,Depression,Peace-Of-Mind-Centre.htm


Women's Domestic Violence Support Group
Survivors is a service offering women in abusive or violent relationships, or who have experienced violence to some degree, a safe and confidential place to talk to other about their situation. Teaching women about their rights to be respected and make choices, survivors run 8 week programs throughout the year. Each session last for around 2 hours. Learn more at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/survivor.html

Research Projects - Helping Them To Help Us!
The more we learn about depression and related conditions, and the more we understand, the better for us all! depressioNet are supporting a number of research projects and encourages you to consider participating. For information on these and other research projects visit http://www.depressionet.com.au/research_project.html

Consumer Guide: Clinical Trials
Ever wondered why a doctor has chosen one particular treatment to give you over another? The answer is, hopefully, because of evidence from a clinical trial that it works. And sometimes patients will be asked if they want to participate in a clinical trial to test a new treatment. What are the pros and cons of taking part? Find the answers at http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch_trials.html

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in the Treatment of Major Depression
A Non-medication, Non-Invasive, Outpatient Investigational Treatment. You must have a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, be aged between 18-70 years of age, and able to attend treatment sessions in Melbourne and have previously tried antidepressant medication/s without getting completely well. Further information is available at http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch32_intro.html

Belief formation project
Dr Susan Rossell from the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria (MHRI) is conducting a research study that is exploring the causes of delusions and hallucinations. People with psychosis, with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are sought. Participation will involve attendance to at least one session. Information is available at http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch31_intro.html

Augmentation of an Antidepressant
People who live in Sydney and have a first or new episode of depression requiring treatment and either never having previously received an antidepressant drug or not having received an antidepressant drug in the last three months are being sought for this study. Details are available at http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch12_intro.html

Research into Bipolar disorder
The Mood Disorders Unit at The Prince of Wales Hospital, N.S.W is conducting 5 different research studies at the moment into Bipolar disorder. Click below for further information about how to participate: http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch8_intro.html

Communities in Control
6th and 7th June, 2005

Convened by Fr Joe Caddy, CEO Centrecare Catholic Family Services and Rhonda Gallbally, AO, Founding CEO, Our Community, this conference focuses on positive scenarios of the future for our communities. Further information can be found at http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/comm_control.html

Challenging Depression in the Elderly Conference
23rd – 24th June 2005

One of the most exciting conferences of the year, this conference is organised by people who are passionate about reducing depression in the elderly – an often neglected group of people. It will bring together a wide range of people from aged care and health services, community care and residential care – and depressioNet will also be presenting! We have been offered a 10% discount for people who register through depressioNet at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/elderly.html

Bridging the Gaps: 2nd Biennial Rural Mental Health Conference
14th – 15th July

Bridging the Gaps, is the second Rural Mental Health Conference held at Deakin University Warrnambool.  The primary focus of the Conference is to strengthen rehabilitation and support services for people with mental illness and is auspiced by Aspire a Pathway to Mental Health, and The Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/aspire05.html

Our Stories
The following ‘story’ was posted by “hoolio” recently in our messageboard and she also sent it through to the Team behind the screens. We thought that it would be good to share this in our newsletter as it shows the difference we can each make in the lives of others. When Kathy and Alun (socks and AJ) took the incredibly courageous step of sharing their very personal story of depression with Australia through ‘Take 5’ magazine and then through the depressioNet Newsletter ‘Stories’, they were motivated by wanting to help others out there. They have certainly achieved that. Hoolio is a real person whom Kathy & Alun were not personally aware of when they agreed to be interviewed, when they agreed to ‘go public’ with their experience. Yet they knew that Hoolio and so many thousands of other ‘people like us’ were out there struggling alone with depression – as they had been before they found depressioNet – and they wanted to help them find the support and care and encouragement that makes such a powerful difference to us all along the way.

In a way, this is a Thank You to all who have managed to overcome the stigma we feel towards having depression ourselves, and our fear of the stigma ‘out there’, and who have spoken up and out to let others know “You are Not Alone”.

Thank You Hoolio for sharing your feelings with others here.

Here for you – 24 hours a day!
If there is anything that we can do to help you in anyway, please let us know: team@depressioNet.com.au
Leanne and the Team at depressioNet

April Article

The Story Of Hoolio

– Leanne & the depressioNet team.


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