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Welcome to depressioNet!
A very warm depressioNet Welcome! to everyone who is new to depressioNet and our Newsletter.
The new year brings new projects, new opportunities and new hope for 'people like us' - people from all walks of life who live with depression and related conditions. We look forward to sharing the year ahead with you and working together to reduce the impact of depression and related conditions on all our lives.

depressioNet Online Chat Sessions Due to the overwhelmingly positive response we received when we last held an online chat session with psychologists in the depressioNet chat room, we are now going to hold these on a regular basis. The first of these for 2003 was held on Thursday the 9th January and after a few stressful moments for Lou in getting our psychologists registered, all went very well. We have included some of the feedback from the session last night at the end of this newsletter. Our thanks to the Australian Psychological Society for their ongoing support of depressioNet who make this possible.

We have also organised a number of different chat sessions for everyone interested to take part in. As well as APS psychologist chat sessions, over the January/February period we will also be having chat sessions with natural therapists and a psychiatrist. All these health care professionals donate their time to give everyone the opportunity to join in discussions, speak openly about any issues or to ask any questions in regards to treatment options for depression. For more information please contact Lou - lou@depressionet.com.au

"depressioNet - We're Having A Ball"
We are very excited to announce that with the support of the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, we will be holding our very first Dinner Auction in 2003. The Ball will be held at the Grand Hyatt on Saturday 5th July and will be a great opportunity to promote the fact that with effective treatment, most people with depression can live full productive lives and 'have a ball'! Another opportunity to chip away at the stigma surrounding depression within the community. This will also be a celebration of the third birthday of depressioNet - a wonderful achievement to show that 'people like us' are able to provide solutions to the challenges of living with depression without any assistance from Government. We are creative and productive human beings and members of society. As part of the birthday celebrations there will be a display of the many services depressioNet provides and projects we run in addition to our core internet service.

We are currently looking for donation items from individuals or companies that can be auctioned off on the night of the ball to raise funds to help continue the work that we are doing. If you are able to donate an item, have any suggestions, or for further information, email Lou (lou@depressionet.com.au)

depressioNet Brochures and Wallet Cards
depressioNet is growing by the day and we are creating a wonderful community of caring and understanding people. We do not have any funds to promote awareness of depression as a resource and people only find us through links from other sites, searching the internet, referrals from their healthcare professionals, friends and families etc. Still the need is so large that depressioNet continues to be the most popular Australian depression resource - because we meet an important and fundamental need - mutual understanding, support and encouragement in an environment free from stigma. Our sincere thanks to those who help to let others know depressioNet exists as a resource for them and who distribute the depressioNet wallet cards and brochures within their workplaces and communities. If you would like to receive some brochures and wallet cards to display at your local clinic, hospital, workplace or to hand out to friends and relatives please send an email to team@depressionet.com.au with your postal address and we will have some in the mail for you straight away.

So often we have people tell us they wish they had found depressioNet earlier - together we can help others to benefit from the support and encouragement of other 'people like us' sooner.

Shop and Support depressioNet!
Ritchies is a Victorian Supermarket chain that runs a wonderful 'community Benefit' scheme. depressioNet is now a registered charity with Ritchies. By obtaining a Ritchies Community Benefit Card and nominating depressioNet as your chosen charity, 1% of the money you spend in either the supermarket or liquor department will automatically be donated to depressioNet!

If you live near a Ritchies store please ask for an application form and nominate depressioNet as your charity. You will receive a key tag or card to show at the checkout each time you shop and depressioNet will receive 1% of the value of your total. It is amazing how quickly this adds up! Every little bit helps and this is a great way for those who live near Ritchies to support depressioNet.

You can find Ritchies store locations on depressioNet at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/files/ritchies.pdf

Excess computers, printers, office equipment?
The computers and much of our office equipment is in need of a major upgrade. If anyone has any computer or office equipment that you would be happy to donate to depressioNet, or if you may be able to help us obtain any office equipment cheaply please let us know. All donations and donations of items less than 12 months old are tax deductible and will help us enormously. If you know of any one who may like to donate a new or used printer, computer, fax machine… anything, please let us know.

depressioNet Assistant Manager

The growth of depressioNet and the services we provide means that we are in urgent need of an Assistant Manager. This is a full-time position that is available immediately with the assistance of a grant from The Myer Foundation. While I may be biased, I can't think of a more personally rewarding opportunity! depressioNet is growing all the time and the opportunities for us to fill needs within the community and to empower people like us to provide our own solutions to the challenges of living with depression and related conditions are endless. Team Leadership and project management skills and a personal philosophy that is aligned with the philosophy and integrity of depressioNet are essential. If you know anyone who may be interested in becoming a part of depressioNet and who have the personal attributes and skills needed, contact: lou@depressioNet.com.au

Part Time "Young People Like Us" Project Coordinator
In our last newsletter we shared a wonderful inspirational post from the messageboard by Echo - a 17 year old girl with depression who used her experiences with depression to raise the awareness of depression in her school. As a result of Echo's post, the concept for our first "Young People Like Us" project was developed.

This project is about young people living with depression providing each other the mutual support and encouragement, sharing ideas and what works and what doesn't, to improve awareness of depression and mental health and access to mental health information and resources within their schools. With a particular focus on implementing the Mind Matters program (Federal Government initiative for secondary schools), and on making the 'Help When You Need It' kit (by Australia's leading Adolescent Psychologist and strong supporter of depressioNet, Michael Carr-Gregg and supported by the Lions / Rotary Foundation of Australia) available to all secondary school students, this project is perfectly aligned with the depressioNet philosophy of people living with depression 'being' the solution, not the problem.

Our thanks to The Besen Family Foundation for providing a grant to develop specific online communication forums for the Young People Like Us project.

Again, we urgently seeking a part-time (20 hours per week) person to coordinate this project - another exciting opportunity! Expressions of interest to gen@depressioNet.com.au

Fundraising Project Coordinator
We also announced in our last newsletter that depressioNet is now a 'Deductible Gift Recipient' and as such all donations are tax deductible. There are many people out there who would like the opportunity to support depressioNet financially and as we receive no Government funding, it is important that we make the most of the fundraising opportunities. We have done no fundraising in the past as none of the current team has any skills or experience in this area. At this stage we are not in a position to employ someone in this role and so would appreciate any offers of volunteer support from people who do have experience!

"Avenues of Service"
In response to many offers of help we receive - particularly from members of our chat and messageboard who have experienced first hand the personal benefits received through giving, we have recently initiated a number of specific project teams in areas such as Fundraising, Promotion & Awareness; Young People Like Us; Support Groups, etc. We are in need of people with project management and Team Leadership skills to provide some Project Coordinating support for these teams as well as team members. If you would like to learn more about the Avenues of Service available with depressioNet, please contact Team@depressioNet.com.au

Message Board and Chat
Over the last few weeks depressioNet has welcomed many new visitors to our Chat and Message Board. Most of us understand how nerve racking it can be the first time we visit a chat room. Our guidelines at 'Welcoming New People' has some points on welcoming and helping over-come those first visit nerves.

Providing Messageboard and Chat services for others!
The depressioNet messageboard and chat facility is currently a finalist in the AIIA iAwards. With the help of a grant from the Myer Foundation, we are now in a position to be able to help other organisations providing services to the community to be able to provide online communication forums for the benefit of their people.

New research released has shown that online support groups are very beneficial for people with depression and one of our own members has summarised the findings in the article for our newsletter for this month! With the experience we have gathered over the past few years, a wonderful Visitor Care Team, guidelines and processes, the chat and messageboard software, depressioNet is now in a position to help with all aspects of providing chat and /or messageboard facilities! Contact team@depressioNet.com.au to learn more.

Research - 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 new research projects for you to consider participating in.

Mental Illness in the Workplace: This research aims to reduce the stigma of depression in the workplace and the greater community.

Depression and Heart Disease: The Baker Heart Research Institute is conducting research into the effects of depression on the heart.

Support and Education Program for Bipolar Disorder or Depression: This research aims to explore the theory that when people have adequate knowledge about their illness they are more confident to deal with their diagnosis and communicate with family and friends.

Augmentation of an Antidepressant: This research is aimed at exploring the augmentation of an antidepressant for those with melancholic depression.

APS Tip of the Month!
This months' tip is from the Australian Psychological Society Understanding and Managing Eating Disorders Tip Sheet. To obtain a full copy of this and other Tip Sheets, freecall the APS office on 1800 333 497 or email the APS at tipsheet@psychsociety.com.au. Remember to include your postal address.

What are Eating Disorders?
"Eating disorders describe a range of problems associated with eating, food and body image. The most serious eating disorder is anorexia nervosa, which is chararterised by dangerously low body weight. Bulimia nervosa is not so frequently life threatening but serious affects the well being of sufferers. Many individuals suffer from other equally unhealthy and disturbing patterns of eating problems that are not easily classified. These are known as Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)."

What's On
We have included some of the many Seminars & Workshops that may be of interest that are being held throughout Australia and New Zealand below. Please let us know of anything relevant in your area!

It's In My Heart Workshop: A one-day workshop of resources and helpful ideas in VIC, NSW, SA, & WA.

Self-Enhancement and Motivational Workshops: Aimed at year 10 students this workshop will help them in their major life enhancing topics.

Emotional Mastery Workshop: This is a workshop tailored towards professionals working in the areas of eating disorders and substance abuse. The workshop will be help in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney in 2003.

äiaäromes / journeys: Universal Deli Cafe /Gallery presents an exhibition of ceramics, paintings, textiles and photography by one of our own depressioNet family members.

Sleep Better Naturally: This workshop details the steps people can take to increase better sleep.

Rotary Community Forums: These are excellent to learn more about depression and other mental illnesses. Find out when the next one is being held near you!

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

Study shows Internet depression support groups aid recovery


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