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JULY 2002

For easy reading, Download and print the Newsletter using adobe acrobat.

Welcome to depressioNet!
A very warm depressioNet Welcome! to everyone who is new to depressioNet and our Newsletter. It has been a while as the Team here has been very busy – but with some new Team Members on board the newsletter will now be a regular event again! A warm welcome to Alex, Anna, Jason, Stacey, Julie, Andrew, Brian and Sue.

It has been an exciting first half of the year for depressioNet and we have had a few big successes so we would like to start by sharing those with you…

iAwards: 'People Like Us' = Winners!
We are very proud and excited (over the moon in fact) to announce that depressioNet won the Australian Internet Industry Association's iAward for the Implementation of IT services for our messageboard and chat!

This is extremely exciting for every one of us – including you! Yes, It recognises the work of depressioNet with our specification demands and obstinacy in insisting our requirements be met, and the technical brilliance from the Team at Hyperdrive in meeting those requirements. AND…

Even more exciting is the contribution this makes towards our aim of reducing the impact of depression on the lives of 'people like us' in that it helps to reduce the stigma of depression. People living with depression are people like us who are professionals in a broad range of areas, not only producing work of equal quality, but as able as anyone to be out there in front!

Our thanks to those who have been members of the messageboard and chat through the developments and have supported us through the ups and downs, and a huge Congratulations! to us all

Our Thanks to the Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing!
Many of you know the financial challenges depressioNet has faced along the way due to the fact that it was created by an individual and that we insist on providing messageboard and chat services where 'people like us' can communicate with each other anonymously 24 hours a day. The Internet was still relatively new to health and the government and government funded organisations need to be careful how they spend our taxpayer $!

However time passes, and we grow and learn. The Internet is becoming more widely acceptable as not only a valid communication medium but also a particularly valuable one. With the assistance of Freehills, last year a new company DEPRESSIONET with Deductible Gift Recipient and Income Tax Exempt Charity endorsement from the Australian Taxation Office was formed to provide a more suitable governance structure.

In June the Minister for Health & Ageing, Kay Patterson agreed to provide half of the Establishment Grant requested to support the new company to be able to take over. We are now operating under this new structure!

As important as the grant (well nearly J) is the fact that it reflects the increasing recognition by government and health care professionals of the important part that the ability to communicate with others plays in helping us to overcome stigma, make the most informed choices regarding treatment and access the professional needed. depressioNet provides a safe environment where people with depression and our families & friends can come 24 hours a day and find support and encouragement from people who understand the issues involved in living with depression and seeking treatment. This recognition is something that again, we can ALL be proud of!

Ways You Can Support depressioNet
We often have people email us asking how they can help depressioNet so we thought we would include some information here. You can also visit http://www.depressioNet.com.au/files/dNetsupport.html

Shop at Ritchies and Support depressioNet!
Ritchies is a Victorian Supermarket chain that runs a great 'community Benefit' scheme. depressioNet is registered with Ritchies so by obtaining a Ritchies Community Benefit Card and nominating depressioNet as your charity, 1% of the money you spend in either the supermarket or liquor department will automatically be donated to depressioNet. 1% may sound small but every little bit helps and it quickly adds up!

If you live near a Ritchies store please ask for an application form and nominate depressioNet as your charity.

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

Butterfly Pins
A great way to support depressioNet and at the same time reduce the stigma of depression is to purchase and/or sell the depressioNet Butterfly Pins at work, sporting clubs etc. These are $5 each and wearing the Butterfly Pin is a great way to show your support as well as find other people in your world who live with depression (either having it personally or through a family member or friend). Guarantee you will be surprised to learn just how many 'people like us' living with depression there are all around you.

As depressioNet is a Deductible Gift Recipient, every donation above $2 is tax deductible. We have an online facility for making donations at http://www.depressionet.com.au/files/donate.html or you can send a cheque made payable to 'depressioNet' to PO Box 1152, Box Hill Victoria, 3128.

For those who would like to set up a regular monthly/quarterly/annual contribution we now have this ability. You can download a form from http://www.depressioNet.com.au/support/form3.html or we can send one to you.

Avenues of Service
This is a new project we are hoping to get up and running in the next few months. Basically it is a formal way that anyone and everyone who would like to contribute can become actively involved in depressioNet. Having experienced the effects of depression either first hand or through a family member or friend is a very powerful motivator to do something positive to reduce the impact of depression on those we care about. There are so many people who would like to be able to help other people living with depression– all we need is an avenue to channel our skills and abilities into doing something worthwhile. In the same way as people join Rotary and other community group, you will soon be able to join our AoS program. If you would like to be included on our AoS Newsletter emailing list – yes, an email to team@depressioNet.com.au will do the trick!

Young People Like Us – 'Echo' Program
The 'Echo' project was inspired by one of the members of our messageboard and chat – Echo, who is 17 yo. Echo found depressioNet while searching for information about depression on the Internet during a very low period in her life. A few months later, with the support of people at depressioNet she was organising Mental Health Week activities in her school and speaking at the school assembly about her experiences with depression. What a fabulous way to increase the awareness and understanding of depression in our schools and with young people – from the inside out! A bit like an 'underground movement' really. J The Echo project shares the depressioNet philosophy with a focus on supporting young people in secondary schools to help themselves and each other. If you would like more information or to join our Echo Newsletter emailing list, Anna is the girl to contact - anna@depressioNet.com.au

Mental Health Week 2003
Mental Health Week is celebrated Australia wide each year and this year runs from October 5th to October 11th. If you know of any events being run in your area let us know and we will include these in 'What's On'.

Online Sessions with Health Care Professionals
depressioNet will be holding online sessions with Health Care Professionals in our chat rooms throughout Mental Health Week. Everyone will be welcome to come along and have a chat to psychologists, psychiatrists, natural therapist, as well as specialists in other areas of health where the incidence of depression is high such as heart disease, eating disorders etc. A diary of chat sessions will be available closer to the week.

Healthcare professionals who would like to be involved in a professional capacity can send an email to lou@depressioNet.com.au – and of course you are always welcome anonymously. Healthcare professionals live with depression and related conditions, ie are 'people like us' too!

Mental Health in the Workplace
One of the topics for Mental Health Week 2003 is 'Better Mental Health in Workplaces'. We can send you depressioNet brochures for your workplace or organise for one of the depressioNet Team to come and speak about depression at your workplace during this week.

depressioNet also provides the 'Mental Health Solutions' (MHS) for the Workplace program which is designed to provide solutions based on the depressioNet philosophy to the challenges that employers face in providing support and assistance to their people who live with depression and reduce the impact of depression on the individual, their families and the workplace. Email for more information to mhs@depressioNet.com.au

APS Tip of the Month!
This months' tip is from the Australian Psychological Society Managing Traumatic Stress Symptoms and Stressful Events 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.

Things you can do to help yourself

There are several things you can do to look after yourself and promote recovery from stressful events. The following points provide some general advice.

  • Recognise that you have been through a distressing experience and acknowledge that you will experience some reaction to it. Excessive denial, or refusal to accept your feelings, can delay the recovery process.
  • Remind yourself daily that you are not abnormal and that you can and are coping; don't be angry with yourself for being upset.
  • Avoid overuse of alcohol or other drugs to cope.
  • Also avoid making any major decision or big life changes.
  • Do not try to block out thoughts of what has happened; gradually confronting what has happened will assist in coming to terms with the traumatic experience.
  • Don't 'bottle up' your feelings; talk to people, share your experiences with others when opportunities arise.
  • Try to maintain a normal routine; keep busy and structure your day.

    Allow yourself time to rest if experiencing fatigue, and remember that regular exercise is important.

    Research – Help 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 invite you to consider participating in.

    depressioNet Survey: This research needs people who have or are using the depressioNet website. This research is aimed at finding out if depressioNet helps people with their conditions and how.

    An Investigation of Compulsive Hoarding, Its Cognitive Features and Treatment: Participants are invited for a project examining hoarding of things in a compulsive and unrestrained manner.

    Confidence in Controlling Benzodiazepines Questionnaire: If you are currently being prescribed benzodiazepines, you can help us find out what situations make it easier or harder for people to cut down or quit benzodiazepine use by completing a questionnaire

    Internet Support for Depression: This research project is about the effectiveness of support groups on the Internet that are used to receive support for depression and/or other negative moods

    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.

    Mood Disorder Unit – Prince of Wales Hospital: The Mood Disorders Unit are currently conducting two research projects: Australian Trial for Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and New Investigational Medicine for Depression Study.

    5 Research Projects Currently Being Conducted Into Bipolar Disorder: The Mood Disorders Unit at The Prince of Wales Hospital, N.S.W is conducting 5 different research studies into Bipolar Disorder.

    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!

    Healthy Weight and Improved Fitness Program: Making Changes have developed a specialised program to help you achieve a healthy weight and improved health and fitness. The program will begin on the 21st of July.

    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!

    Reduce Your Depression and Improve Your Self Esteem: This cognitive behavioural therapy group aims to challenge people's negative thinking and beliefs in relation to their personal worth, their degree of personal responsibility, their attractiveness, perfectionism and the future. Run by psychologist Catherine Madigan.

    It's In My Heart Workshop: A one-day workshop of resources and helpful ideas for professionals including counsellors, student counsellors, welfare co-ordinators and those involved in supporting children and young adolescents through family and personal issues.

    Self Enhancement and Motivational Workshops: These Workshops for students 10yrs and over include some major life enhancing topics to keep youngsters motivated, focused and interested in their school work, sports and daily activities.

    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

    Natural Therapies


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