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MAY 2005

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Welcome to the depressioNet May Newsletter
A very warm welcome to all who are new to depressioNet since our last newsletter. This is one of the most exciting times in the history of depressioNet with a number of projects developing with the help of our growing network of dNetters and Friends of depressioNet.
Our Story this month is from a wonderful gentleman in his late 50’s who has been a member depressioNet for four years (how time passes!) and who shares very openly and honestly his experience with depression.
We hope you enjoy!
Warm Regards
& the Team at depressioNet

Musicus Medicus - depressioNet Fundraising Concert!
The New South Wales Doctors Orchestra, 'Musicus Medicus', and depressioNet are joining forces to hold a Fundraising Concert for the benefit all Australians living with depression!
Sunday 26th June
Sir John Clancy Auditorium, UNSW
Tickets on sale through Ticketmaster7
(See http://www.depressioNet.com.au/concert.html)
Not only will this event provide much-needed financial support for the vital depressioNet.com.au site and service, it provides a wonderful opportunity for doctors and people living with depression to work together to find solutions to the challenges of living with depression.
Conducted by David Banney, and with an exclusive performance by renowned soloist Evgeny Ukhanov,
you will enjoy the delights of Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto and Dvorak's 8th Symphony!
The Orchestra comprises medical musicians from throughout NSW who are not only giving their time and talents, each doctor-musician is personally donating $100 to depressioNet to start the fundraising!
The Concert has the support of some wonderful organisations, Doctors and 'dNetters'...
all we need is YOU to make this exciting event a brilliant success!
We invite you to join us in reducing the impact of depression on the lives of Australians by attending the 'Musicus Medicus - depressioNet Fundraising Concert and inviting your friends and colleagues!

depressioNet is proud to support the ‘Challenging Depression in the Elderly’ Conference!
Challenging Depression in the Elderly - Sydney: 23rd - 24th June 2005
The organisers of this conference from the Hammond Care Group, are people who are passionate about improving life for older people. The conference will be focussing on seeking and sharing innovative ways to reduce the impact of depression on the elderly by engaging and empowering older people, their families, friends, people who work in aged care, healthcare professionals, the community and all who have a personal and/or professional interest in this area. This is directly aligned with the purpose of depressioNet and along with a host of Australian and overseas presenters, depressioNet’s Founder and CEO will be presenting an exciting new depressioNet project aimed at making a significant contribution in this area. In support of depressioNet and the work we are doing, the Hammond Care Group are offering all who register via depressioNet a 10% discount on the conference registration. Download the registration form & brochure for your depressioNet discount! http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/elderly.html

The depressioNet bag is here!
Thanks to our dNetters we are now taking orders for the new depressioNet Bag! The environmentally friendly depressioNet carry bags will be arriving at the depressioNet office in a couple of weeks and placing your order now will ensure you receive your bags promptly and don’t miss out!
To save on postage and keep the cost down, we are selling the bags in bundles of 5 or 10 or more. You can give or sell the depressioNet bags to family and friends to help increase awareness of depressioNet as a resource for people living with depression so that people know it is here for them when they need.

5 bags including p & h - $17.50
10 bags including p & h - $30.00
10 or more bags - $2.50 per bag plus $7.50 p&h
http://www.depressionet.com.au/files/promo.html or email admin@depressioNet.com.au to place your order!

Black Dog Institute Announce the Winners!
The winners of the Black Dog Institute writing competition have now been announced. 226 people submitted contributions to the competition, explored many dimensions of the term 'black dog'. The entries were of extremely high calibre and the awards were presented on 27 April 2005 at a ceremony presided over by the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, AC. The winners and links to their entries are available at http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/media/eventscal/index.cfm

What's On
Vic: Living With Anxiety – Wednesday 22nd June
How do I know if I am experiencing anxiety or panic attacks? Why am I anxious or panicky? What can I do about it? The Presenter of the Living With Anxiety lunch is Tomi Redman. It is being held between 12:15 to 1:30pm at the Heritage Room, Ground Floor (at rear) Queen Victoria Women's Centre 210 Lonsdale Street Melbourne. For more information go to http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/vic.html

Qld: Manhood 2005 - Redefining the Roles - Oct 20th - 23rd 2005 - Sunshine Coast
October 2005 will see the Men’s Health and Wellbeing Association (Queensland) Inc. embark on an exciting new project called Manhood 2005. The centre piece is a conference which will bring together organisations and individuals who are involved in grassroots men’s work with government departments, agencies and private sector men’s health providers. http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/manhood_05.html

Qld: 6th International Mental Health Conference- ‘What’s New In Mood Disorders’ 2nd – 4th Sep 2005
This conference will explore new perspectives in the field of mental health including: changes in classification; diagnostic advances including brain imaging and other investigations; the biology and genetics of mood disorders; new drug treatment approaches (especially for bipolar depression and treatment resistant mood disorders); transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS); the relationship of personality to chronic depression and vulnerability to mood disorder; new psychotherapy approaches to treatment; and co morbid mood and other psychiatric illness. More information is available at http://www.depressionet.com.au/conferences/imhc05.html

ACT: Suicide In Australia: Are We Making Progress-Sunday 29th May ANU
Suicide in Australia affects people of all ages & from all walks of life with devastating consequences for families and the community. In memory of those lost through suicide, AFFiRM is proud to present a community seminar & forum. Dr Kathy Griffiths will respond to the topic Are we making progress? by outlining relevant recent research in the area, and Ms Dawn Smith will focus on current suicide prevention strategies and policies in Australia, including Lifeline. Speakers will then join a panel to answer questions and discuss relevant issues. If you are interested in attending, contact Lou Farrer: louise.farrer@anu.edu.au

Research Projects - Helping Them To Help Us!
Research into depression and related conditions is very important and needs the combined efforts of healthcare professionals and people who live with depression to make it valuable to us all. Information on the full list of research projects is available at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/research_project.html

Women’s Mental Health Studies at the Alfred
The Alfred are conducting three research studies that focus on women and mental health.
1.   Suffering from Bipolar Affective or Schizoaffective Disorder?
This study is examining the use of hormonal treatments for Bipolar and Schizoaffective Disorders in women.
2.   Postmenopausal and Suffering with Schizophrenia?
The APRC is seeking female volunteers with current symptoms of psychosis to take part in a 12 week supplementary trial exploring the role of a new form of estrogen (SERMs) in the treatment of schizophrenia.
3.   Using Estrogen to Treat Psychotic Symptoms
This study is looking at the effect of estrogen on symptoms of mood and psychosis in premenopausal women who are suffering from either schizophrenia, schizophreniform or schizoaffective disorder. More information is available at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch35_intro.html

Lay Beliefs About Mental Health Research
This survey requires people from 18 - 65 years to complete an on-line questionnaire designed to help better understand what people believe about the causes of mental health problems. There are a series of questions on the causes and treatment of mental illness, which take about 30 minutes. Participants are eligible to enter a $50 prize draw. http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch37_intro.html

How Organisation And Funding Influence Primary Carer For Patients With Depression
The Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and Monash University in Melbourne are collaborating to explore how organisation and funding influence how GPs care for patients with depression. They need people in Melbourne who live with mild to moderate depression either personally or through a family member and are willing to complete two questionnaires. http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch34_intro.html

Depression Treatment Under Trial
Australian researchers are currently conducting clinical trials into a medication for the treatment of depression, with a special emphasis on Australians aged over 65. This trial is looking to accept new patients at their trial centres in Melbourne and Brisbane. http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch33_intro.html

Our Stories
I'm a 58-year-old, tertiary-educated divorced male from a conservative and stable family background, living in Melbourne, Australia. I was married in the late 1960's, and subsequently spent a couple of years travelling the world on a working holiday with my wife. We had no children, by mutual choice. I was a member of the Australian Defence Forces for some years, based in Brisbane. Until 1991, I held responsible, well-paying technical positions in both Melbourne and Perth, working for private companies and Government departments.

In the early 1980's, I was amicably divorced, and unfortunately was retrenched from work in 1992. Since then, I have only worked casually or part-time, and have not worked at my trained profession since being retrenched. I have been happily living with my partner for about fifteen years now, and possibly owe her my life, or at the least, my present relative peace of mind. Currently I have been unemployed for nearly four years and rely solely on social security for income.

Initially, troubles with working led to my being diagnosed with clinical depression in 1999. Two years ago, my diagnosis was amended to dysthymia with generalised anxiety disorder. I am hypervigilant, and mildly obsessive compulsive. During the last six years, I have trialled many antidepressant medications of all classes, mostly without any benefits, and am currently taking Lexapro, Kalma and also Stilnox for a major displaced sleep pattern.

I discovered the depressioNet web site about four years ago, around the same time as starting to have panic attacks at work and home. This was manageable in the short term, but ultimately led to me becoming unemployable. For me, depressioNet provided firstly, a place where I could "go" without being patronised or ridiculed for my apparently silly beliefs or feelings, and I could see feedback from other depression sufferers with similar problems to myself. That in itself provided me with a lot more self confidence, as I knew that I wasn't isolated or struggling on my own in an uncaring world. Well, the world at large may not care that much, but at least I'd found a place where I could ask questions about my state of mind, medications, and therapies, and hopefully answer other's questions about these things. This was, at that time, crucial in my coming to terms with the illness, as until 1999, I'd never even thought about depression as an "illness". Like a lot of people still do, I thought it was simply a matter of "snapping out of it", or "getting on with the job". How ill-advised was that opinion prior to my own diagnosis!

Secondly, depressioNet provides an invaluable set of resources about conditions, therapies and medications, as well as announcements about mental health seminars, consumer drug information, self-help and reading material. And, importantly, all the information is investigated and approved by educated, and professionally-advised and well-sourced team members and moderators. If it's on dNet, then I can trust it!

Now, in mid-2005, I'm at least at peace with my thoughts such that I can now, within reason, rationalise what I'm doing and possibly why or why not. I'm still not "cured"; maybe I never will be, but then again there's every chance I will be. DepressioNet definitely played its part, I think, for this change of heart over the last few traumatic years.

I still visit the forum on a regular basis and people still help me out a lot (often, I'm sure without realising it!), and I try to help others as best I can. Whether we've been here three years or three days is immaterial, as the key words in this forum are compassion, respect, education, empathy, patience, giving, and tolerance (and a gentle smattering of good humour to sometimes lighten those dark nights).

What you won't find on depressioNet is prejudices, intolerance, ridicule, criticism, aggression, ignorance, disrespect or narrow-mindedness.

Kind regards, GEOFF

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


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