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MARCH 2002

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

Welcome to depressioNet!
February was a very busy month (and hence the date of this newsletter!) and there have been a lot of exciting things happening. Remember to check out what is on in your area, and that there is a 'Team behind the screens' at depressioNet who are here to help you in anyway we can.
Our sincere thanks to all who have made contributions to help keep depressioNet alive for all!

As many of you are aware, 3 weeks ago we had to shut down the depressioNet Chat Room. However this is just a temporary arrangement while our new chat room is preparing to go live. Next week the new chat room, developed specifically for depressioNet, will open. Thanks again to the team at Hyperdrive.

Message Board and Chat Guidelines
We have reviewed the guidelines for our chat and message board and they are now more comprehensive. It is important that everyone understands and abides by the guidelines so that depressioNet is a safe place for us to share with other people who live with depression and related conditions. As guidelines are a bit like instruction books J, to help keep these 'front of mind' we will include a 'Guideline' in each newsletter. It is appropriate for our first one to be about your first visit to chat! Chat can seem very strange at first. The following are a few hints to make it a bit easier. http://www.depressionet.com.au/guidelines.html#firsttime

Working Together Online Communication Forums
An important part of the depressioNet philosophy is to help other organisations provide services to people living with depression and related conditions wherever we can. We are currently helping with two exciting projects that utilise the benefits of online communication forums to provide services for 'people like us.'
1. NSW Carers Association are trialing online support groups using our newly developed chat room facility.
2. The Mental Health Association of NSW is conducting a statewide depression and anxiety screening day called 'Healthy Mind Day ' on April 11th. They will be setting up public booths around the state to give people the opportunity to assess their own state of mental health and to access information and referral to support services and appropriate care. You will also be able to take part in the screening online from the privacy of home. For further information on Healthy Mind Day visit: http://www.depressionet.com.au/nswscreen.html

Resources - Hospitals
Thankfully psychiatric hospitals have come a long way in terms of the services and treatment they provide. Unfortunately many of us still have a 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' perception of psychiatric hospitals and are unaware of the quality of programs and services now offered. There are times when a stay in hospital can help give treatment a boost forward and if this is something your doctor recommends, it is worth finding out as much about these services to dispel any incorrect perceptions or fears you may have.
To help with this we have asked hospitals to provide information about their services and facilities so that we can include this on depressioNet.com.au. We have had information about The Sydney Clinic and South Pacific Private Hospital in NSW on depressioNet for some time and in February we added another 6 hospitals!
Our thanks to The Wentworth Clinic and Healthscope for your support in this project. We will be adding to the list in the months ahead. Visit 'help in your area' for your state and select 'Hospitals'.

Learning to Care
The depressioNet Visitor Care Team attended the Living Works 'ASIST' program in February. ASIST is a two-day workshop for community 'care givers', run by National Lifeline. Others who also wanted to learn how to identify people at risk of suicide and encourage them to seek the help they need joined us. The program was fabulous and provided very practical skills that are of use to all of us both here at depressioNet and in our daily lives! Living Works run the program throughout Australia, and we would highly recommend it for anyone. We have kept information about ASIST on depressioNet.com.au in 'What's On' National.

'What Works For Me'
This is another project we have started work on in the past week, and is the result of feedback from visitors to the depressioNet messageboard. With so many hundreds of thousands of people living with depression, anxiety and other related conditions and all of us doing our best to deal effectively with the effects and symptoms of our illness, we hold a wealth of experience that can help others. What we need is a forum to share those things that we find helpful in our daily lives.
We have started a new, temporary board called 'What works for me' on the depressioNet messageboard and ask everyone to post their ideas and experiences in what helps you to deal effectively with depression and related conditions in your daily lives. Next month we will take these ideas and create a new section on depressioNet where these ideas and suggestions will be permanently available to help others.

Professor Martin Keller Tour
In February Wyeth brought one of the world's leading psychiatrists in the area of depression to Australia to speak with health care professionals - both GPs and Psychiatrists - and present some interesting research results. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg (Adolescent Psychologist) and I had the opportunity to join Professor Martin Keller on a 'tour' to Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide and take part in a panel forum following Professor Keller's presentation each evening to GPs and Psychiatrists. It is great to see that the health profession understands the value of 'people like us' in looking at solutions to mental illness and how important it is that we work together to maximise our treatment. My thanks to Wyeth for this opportunity.
The research presented was of interest not only to the medical professionals. As an Australian living with depression I found the information presented very interesting and it forms the basis of this month's article.

Sponsorship and Independence
A number of people have asked recently how depressioNet can remain truly independent when we accept sponsorship from commercial organisations. This is an important issue as we work very hard to maintain our independence so that our first priority and focus will always be the people we exist to serve Australians living with depression and related conditions.
We will only accept financial support from those individuals and organisations that support the depressioNet philosophy and integrity, and at no time will we compromise these either in practice or perception. All of our Sponsors and Partners share and respect this philosophy and work with us to reduce the impact of depression on the lives of Australians. The value we bring to them is in helping them in any activity that may be of interest and / or benefit to Australians living with depression, and related conditions.
Wyeth have recently provided major sponsorship to depressioNet for a second year. Their support has been a lifeline for depressioNet and we are deeply grateful. Our assistance with the Martin Keller tour is an example of how we work with Wyeth to add value to the work they are doing in helping doctors understand the needs and issues for people with depression. A win(depressioNet)-win(Wyeth)-win(doctors)-win(all Australians living with depression) situation. This is the perfect example of depressioNet partnerships.

Research Help them to help us!
The more that is understood about depression and related conditions, the better for us all! Participating in relevant research projects is a very practical way to help improve the understanding of depression and related conditions. The more that is learned, the better for us all. We currently have 6 research projects that need our help listed at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/research_project.html
Nicole Shepherd from the University of Queensland has asked for as much help as possible for her project
The Gender Order and Mental Health In Young Australians This is an interview that can be done by phone!

Mental Health Promotion & Illness Prevention 17th to 18th March 2002
This conference is being held at the Burswood Convention Centre, Perth, Western Australia.

Holding it all Together 21st 24th April
For all involved in meeting the challenges for children and families where parents have a mental illness

The APS Resilience Conference
The Victorian Branch of the Australian Psychological Society are holding a conference on 'Resilience' - exploring psychological, physical and Spiritual Well Being. This is being held in Ballarat, on 26th & 27th April.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/child_adol.html
Brisbane, 11th to 15th June. The current status and new developments in child and adolescent mental health

NEW! SPA Conference http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/suicide_prevention.html
Suicide Prevention Australia are hosting a conference to be held in Darling Harbour over the 21st-23rd June.

Stress & Anxiety Research Society Conference http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/star.html
held in Melbourne in July and is the first time that STAR has been held outside Europe.

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!

MoodWorks Educational Society Inc
The MoodWorks Educational Society are running a number of talks on different topics relating to mental health from The Melbourne Clinic in Richmond. The next two evenings are:
March 12th - The stigma of mental illness - Barbara Hocking from SANE
April 9th - Responses to questions - Dr. David Grounds, clinical psychiatrist

Rotary Community Forums
These are excellent forums aimed at educating the community. Venues for March are: Warwick, QLD;
18th March 2002 - Crookwell, NSW and Box Hill Central, VIC; 20th March 2002 - Beecroft, NSW
28th March 2002 - Beaudesert, QLD. Coming up in April 2002 - Bowral, NSW; Epping, NSW; Pakenham, VIC

ACT Mental Health Information Sessions
There are two information sessions being run by the Mental Health Foundation in the ACT. They are in late March and there are only going to be these two sessions, so don't miss out!!

"Living With depression" forum in Tas
The student counsellors at the northern campus of the University of Tasmania are running a forum on 'Living with depression' on the 23rd April from 1pm to 2pm on the Launceston campus.

Mood Disorders Association of SA
The Mood Disorders Association of SA have set up a number of support groups that now meet in and around the city of Adelaide on a regular/monthly basis.

Making Changes
The Making Changes Program is designed to help us move forward and make the positive changes in our lives. Dr Timothy Sharp holds programs all around Australia.

ADAVIC have just let us know of their many new lectures, programs and workshops throughout 2002.
For more information contact ADAVIC on (03) 9853 8089

Here for you always!
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

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