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October 2004

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Welcome to depressioNet!
depressioNet is created by and for 'people like us' – Australians living with depression. At depressioNet we recognise that the Australian experience of depression and the issues for people in their daily lives vary and we look to find innovative solutions to the broader issues while our focus at all times is caring for the individual. A very warm Welcome to all!

Don’t forget to complete our survey!
Our thanks to all who have completed the depressioNet online survey. This survey has been developed to enable us to learn what people are wanting from depressioNet and how we can better meet your needs. This means the views and experiences of all who read this newsletter are! – so if you haven’t already please don’t do so at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/survey/customer_survey.html#moreinfo

What a difference Workplace Giving Makes!
depressioNet is now registered with the Charities Aid Foundation and Australian Charities Fund - two organisations that support and facilitate Workplace Giving. Through Workplace Giving, employees can make regular donations to a charity of their choice directly from their pay at no cost to the employee or the charity. The donation is taken out before tax which means that the person and the charity are benefiting rather than the Tax Man
For example, if a company has 2500 employees and 10% of employees each donate an average $5 from their weekly pay, that equals $5000 per month or $60,000 per year to the charity... What an incredible difference this would make for depressioNet and the thousands of people we help each week!
This is an exciting opportunity and if you are interested in setting up this process in your own workplace and offering people the opportunity to contribute to depressioNet in this simple yet invaluable way, please send an email through to team@depressioNet.com.au and we will give you all the support your need! Find out more about how these two charity support organisations can help you support depressioNet at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/dday/workgive.html

New Mental Health Resources
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has recently developed two excellent resources to support mental health practitioners and the public:
1. Guidelines to mental illness and treatment options
Six Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) have been developed to provide information about particular mental illnesses and treatment options. The CPGs address six specific disorders or conditions. These are:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder and agoraphobia
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Deliberate self harm (youth and adult), and
  • Schizophrenia
    2. 'Your rights when you consult a psychiatrist' brochure
    The RANZCP has also developed a good practice guide for consumers and their carers to raise awareness of the issues involved when a psychiatrist crosses professional boundaries. The brochure gives examples of good conduct and misconduct and provides contact and support details for a consumer or a carer who may wish to make a complaint about a psychiatrist. If you would like to order hard copies of these resources, please email Kelly at the RANZCP on kelly.fitzmaurice@ranzcp.org with your name, organisation.

    What’s On
    Read My Lips Melbourne 29th October
    A performance that explores eating disorders, depression, and mental illness in young people. This is not a happy story nor is it a sad story; it is a real story. At the conclusion of the evening there will be a forum with the writer, the cast and an expert in the treatment of eating disorders. Where: Kaleidescope Theatre Building 8 at RMIT Swanston St Melbourne, When: 7pm Friday 29th October Cost: $10 RSVP: readmylips3@yahoo.com.au or 0404 832 524. Read My Lips is supported by The Butterfly Foundation who aim to provide direct relief to Australian sufferers of eating disorders and their carers. For more information on the Butterfly Foundation please visit www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

    Peace of Mind Strathpine, Queensland 11th November
    The Peace of Mind Centre in Strathpine, a Centre for Psychology and Counselling, is running a workshop ‘Depression and Challenging Negative Thinking’. Topics include: What is Depression? What is Faulty Thinking? and CBT information. For more information please visit: http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/qld_peace.html

    Depression Management Program - The Melbourne Clinic
    The Depression Management Program is based on the cognitive-behavioural psychology model providing strategies for managing the disabling effects of depression. Such techniques are at the forefront of effective psychological treatment interventions for depression, especially for recurring and relapsing depressive states. Find out more at the depressioNet Melbourne Clinic information page http://www.depressionet.com.au/resources/hospitals/melb_clinic.php#programs

    Positive Psychological Approaches to Weight Loss – Sydney, November 11
    A key component of happiness is good health. A key component of good health is weight management. In collaboration with our colleagues at www.makingchanges.com.au, and as part of National Psychology Week, this FREE evening seminar will describe an exciting and effective positive new approach to this vitaly important part of healthy living and wellness.

    ARAFMI: Mental Health Carers & Friends Association Western Australia
    ARAFMI is there to let you know that you are not alone and that there is help out there for you. They provide mutual support for families and carers of people with a mental illness. There are 9 ARAFMI offices throughout Western Australia to support you. For more information call WA ARAFMI on (08) 9228 0577 or Toll Free on: 1800 811 747 or visit: http://www.arafmi.asn.au or visit depressioNet’s ARAFMI page.

    Mood Disorders Association of SA Inc (MDA)
    MDA offers education and support services to those in South Australia who may be suffering from depression and manic depression. Telephone interviews and advice can be given during office hours; Monday to Thursday, 9.30-4.30pm. Many support groups are available. Call (08) 8221 5170 or visit our website information page at http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/sa_mda.html

    The Happiness Institute's Book Reviews
    The Happiness Institute offers access to short, succinct book summaries quickly and easily about the newest and most effective ideas from the world's best personal development writers and researchers from the Happiness Institute. This exciting new service offers you international research and best selling books - in summary form. There is a $99 annual subscription for 11 editions each calendar year. Find out more at http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com/premium/

    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

    Perceptual Study In Depression And Bipolar Disorder
    People aged between 18 and 55 years are required for a study investigating perceptual differences between affective disorders. Interested people with a diagnosis of unipolar depression or bipolar disorder are required to assist us in this new research. You can help by taking part in this study that requires around 2-3 hours of your time. http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch24_intro.html

    An Investigation Of Compulsive Hoarding, Its Cognitive Features And Treatment
    This research project will examining hoarding of things in a compulsive and unrestrained manner. Participants must be located in Melbourne to complete a questionnaire and interview. There are a group of hoarders who clutter their houses so that they become unusable. There are others who establish very strong attachments to sentimental objects. There is little research on the person-things linkage, and little is known about how to help those who have problems with their attachment to things. This research program is asking for participants to fill out a series of questionnaires so that comparisions can be made between those who hoard and those who do not. Find out more at http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch19_intro.html

    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. Further information can be found at http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch8_intro.html
    1. Neuroimaging In Bipolar Disorder We are currently conducting a study using MRI in order to learn more about the way the brain functions in Bipolar Disorder. This study involves a brain scan, which takes about 40 minutes, and the completion of some questionnaires. Please contact Belinda Ivanovski Phone: (02) 9382 2997 Email: b.ivanovski@unsw.edu.au
    2. Genetic Study Of Bipolar Disorder This research is aiming to identify genes that predispose people to developing Bipolar Disorder. If you or someone in your family has Bipolar Disorder you may be able to participate in the study. Contact: Tracey Freeman Phone: (02) 9382 3715. Email: t.freeman@unsw.edu.au
    3. The Neuropsychology of Bipolar Disorder This study hopes to gain insight into the relationship between 'day-to-day' functioning and performance on cognitive testing across all phases of bipolar disorder. In addition to traditional neuropsychological tasks designed to measure concentration, memory, problem-solving and decision making, we have a number of newly developed tasks that we hope will help us better understand Bipolar Disorder. Contact: Amanda Olley (02) 9382 3767 Email: amanda_olley@unsw.edu.au
    4. Binocular Rivalry Study This study examines whether a particular kind of visual test (called Binocular Rivalry) is able to detect Bipolar Disorder. We hope to learn whether this test can be used to screen for Bipolar Disorder and perhaps monitor its treatment. Contact: Belinda Ivanovski. Phone: (02) 9382 2997. Email: b.ivanovski@unsw.edu.au. Or Contact: Dr Gin Malhi Phone: (02) 9399 1212
    5. Development of The Bipolar Depression Rating Scale (BDRS) The BDRS is a clinician-administered tool for assessing Bipolar Depression and mixed episodes. We are trying to gauge how reliable and valid this instrument is by administering the scale alongside the tests we commonly use at the MDU in assessing patients with Bipolar Depression. Contact: Catherine Cahill (02) 9382 3841 c.cahill@unsw.edu.au

    Confidence In Controlling Benzodiazepines Questionnaire
    This research project needs people who are currently being prescribed Benzodiapines to fill out a questionnaire to find out what will make it easier to wean off Benzodiapines. Find out more on http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch18_intro.html

    Self-Referent Cognition In Depressed And Euthymic Mood States
    This research aims to significantly contribute to the understanding, prevention and treatment of depression and other emotional problems, thereby helping to alleviate the suffering of a great many people. Find out more on http://www.depressionet.com.au/research/rsch23_intro.html

    National Stigma Survey
    Reducing the stigma attached to mental illness is a major focus for SANE Australia. In fact, SANE recently posted a National Stigma Survey on their website. So if you or someone you care about is affected by mental illness, use the survey to let SANE know about any experiences of stigma and discrimination, and give them the facts to advocate on your behalf. To complete the survey, visit the SANE Australia website http://qld.mentalhealth.org.au/news/items/2004/07/00389.shtml

    Recovery, Rehabilitation Readiness and Goal Setting Warrnambool, Victoria
    Psychiatric disability rehabilitation support agencies and clinical services programs are invited to a two-day training program to develop skills in and review psychiatric rehabilitation concepts and processes. It involves interactive exercises, frameworks and tools that you can apply in your programs and services. The training also enhances understanding of both client and worker aspirations in rehabilitation settings. Emphasis is placed on the vision of recovery, assessing rehabilitation readiness and overall rehabilitation goal-setting. Find out more on http://www.communitynews.infoxchange.net.au/group/noticeboard/items/20041030001.doc

    Our Stories
    The road to wellness and/ or learning to live effectively without the symptoms of depression impacting our lives is unique for each of us, yet many of the issues are the same. We all have unique stories to tell of our journey and challenges. It is good to hear of other’s stories particularly those that give us hope and have happy endings (beginnings!) when we are struggling. For many of us this can be the first step in coming to know that we are not alone.

    Over the next few months we thought we would bring you a selection of stories from the people like us who use depressioNet or have used it in the past and no longer need the information, help and support. We hope you find these of value and thank those who have shared their personal journeys so generously.

    Warmth and Peace to all
    & the Team at depressioNet

    The Story of 'Anny'


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