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Newsletters
September 2004
NEWSLETTER

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. Erika has come on board the Team at depressioNet, generously giving her time and effort to prepare our newsletter so it will be back to monthly now – at last! There is a lot more to putting the newsletter together than meets the eye and we sincerely hope each person finds something of interest or other value here. We welcome all feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Participate in our first official research study!
depressioNet is about to conduct our first official research. There are a number of aims for this project including ensuring that the issues for people living with depression in the broader community are heard and improving the depressioNet service. We encourage all to complete the questionnaire online at: http://www.depressionet.com.au/survey/customer_survey.html

Our D-Day Fundraising Campaign
The incredible efforts and generosity of people like us who have become Friends, Grandees and Partners and put the word out there and encouraged others to do the same during July bought us time. During August, our ‘dNetters’, members of our online communication forums, emailed their MPs asking for government support. Following a meeting with Brendan Nelson MP, Minister for Education, Brendan approached Tony Abbott, Minister for Health & Ageing, on our behalf. The good news is that Mr Abbott agreed to provide $100,000!

We are now nearly ¾ of the way there - and we need to keep up our efforts to reach our target of $200,000 asap to secure depressioNet for the year ahead and set it up to be financially self-sustaining into the future. In line with the philosophy of depressioNet the aim is for people like us to each do what we can towards achieving what depressioNet needs rather than looking to someone else out there to provide the solution for us. The focus of our fundraising campaign is to seek and recognise contributions within four key categories, allowing for differing levels of donation, involvement and partnerships with depressioNet.

Remember that all donations to depressioNet are tax deductible!

1. One off donation:
Send a cheque or money order, make an electronic funds transfer, or donate by credit card either using our secure online donation facility or by phone on 1300 13 55 42.

2. Become a ‘Friend of depressioNet’
‘Friends of depressioNet’ are people who donate either $100 as a one off donation or commit to making a regular contribution of $10 or more a month. Remember to complete the Friends of depressioNet form!

As a Friend of depressioNet you will receive Friends Updates to let you know a little more of the projects and happening’s behind the screens at depressioNet, how you may be able to contribute time and skills if this is of value to you, receive wallet cards and flyers as needed to give to friends, family, workmates etc.

3. Become a depressioNet Grandee
We encourage all who are able to make a one-off donation of $1000 and/or to invite others you know who may be able to do so and who want to contribute towards reducing the impact of depression.

All depressioNet Grandees receive a certificate of recognition, the depressioNet butterfly lapel pin and our deepest thanks on behalf of all people like us who live with depression. You will also be invited to join with other Grandees and Partners at the annual get-together. We only need 50 Grandees to achieve our goal and with hundreds of thousands of people living with depression, we just need to invite as many people as we can to join us to support our depressioNet. Remember to complete the depressioNet Grandee form.

4. depressioNet ‘Partners in Health’
We invite businesses and organisations from all areas to join with depressioNet in reducing the impact of depression on the lives of real people in the community by becoming a formal ‘Partner in Health’.

Our Partners In Health contribute by making an Annual financial contribution or establishing a regular donation as well as offering practical assistance in a number of ways to help with the work depressioNet does. All depressioNet Partners In Health receive a certificate of appreciation to display proudly so your employees and customers know you are supporting people with depression through your partnership with depressioNet.

There are a range of additional ways that we can work together such as having depressioNet wallet cards and flyers that recognise our partnership and your support. We will ensure that you have sufficient for you to give to employees and customers so they know depressioNet exists as a 24-hour resource for them. We do our best to ensure that a partnership with depressioNet provides significant benefits for all concerned and work with you to find creative ways to enhance this relationship.

Our Thanks to the following Partners in Health – and the people who make it happen!
As the larger donations come from organisations and business, it is important to also acknowledge that these are only possible because at least one individual – a real person like you and I - from within that organisation has recognised the benefits and has become an advocate for depressioNet.

Grand United Health Fund
Provides very affordable health cover and in particular focuses on the alternative and natural healthcare to encourage physical and mental health & wellbeing. The website gives a one-stop shop for total health and wellbeing and is a valuable family resource. http://www.grandunited.com.au/

Grand United have been very supportive of depressioNet for the past 2 years and have followed this up with a recent generous donation of $10,000 towards our D-Day campaign. Our thanks to Philip and Simone and the culture within Grand United that empowers them to contribute towards empowering people living with depression through this contribution. A great company to be associated with and a great Team to work with!

Ward McKenzie Pty Ltd
is an Australian owned company established in 1867 and like depressioNet, is an Australian success story. Most of us will have their products in our kitchen and will be familiar with the ‘McKenzie’ brand of food products. Importantly for depressioNet, Ward McKenzie is also a company of people who care about people :) and when depressioNet’s Auditor Tom Tyrrell spoke to his clients about our urgent need, they donated $5,000 towards achieving our target! Our sincere thanks to Tom for extending the invitation and to Steve and the real people at Ward McKenzie who were willing and able to contribute towards ensuring depressioNet is here for people living with depression to help each other in the future!

MAPS Group
Another ‘wuzzie’ (warm and fuzzie) depressioNet ‘people’ story. When we moved into our new office in April, it was depressingly bare! Our CEO was at Gough’s Office Furniture in Burwood Melbourne looking at prices that were just beyond our non-existent budget and talking with one of the owners, Louise about depressioNet. In spite of being in the business of selling furniture, Louise directed Leanne to a company that she knew were moving and looking to sell all their furniture… MAPS Group.

“Maps Group Ltd (Maps Group) is a public company which negotiates and facilitates contracts for common use goods and services on behalf of its members.  Maps Group offers suppliers targeted access to the Government purchasing sector through its tender process and marketing programs.” OK so most of us here are still not quite sure what MAPS Group actually do in business terms, but we are in no doubt as to what they have done for depressioNet. With a truck full of desks, filing cabinets, storage cupboards, chairs and even plants arriving, the depressioNet office is a much more pleasant – and functional – place to work!

Some Other 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

Workplace Giving – Australian Charities Foundation
Workplace Giving is the process of making regular donations to charities through your employer’s payroll system. Employees can nominate an amount to give from their salary each month – no matter how small. A few dollars per month is significant to depressioNet, especially when multiplied by a number of employees.

The Australian Charities Fund facilitates workplace giving so there is no cost to depressioNet and it is simple for employer organisations and their employees. Encourage your workplace to support depressioNet through workplace giving! http://www.australiancharitiesfund.org.au/

Shop at Ritchies and Support depressioNet!
Ritchies is a Victorian Supermarket chain that runs a great 'Community Benefit' scheme. 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.

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

Mood Guide – “Dealing with Depression”
Following the successful release in 2002 of ‘Dealing with Depression’, Professor Gordon Parker and his colleagues at the Black Dog Institute in NSW have now written an updated edition of this book. The new edition maintains the strength of the original publication but gives greater emphasis to topics that have generated questions from interested readers. Topics that are covered in greater detail in the second edition include the bipolar disorders and the ways in which different personality styles can contribute to the non-melancholic depressive disorders. Dealing with Depression is available now in bookstores.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
The current proven most effective treatment for depression is a combination of antidepressant medication AND therapy. Unfortunately we find that most people still are only aware of – and getting – the medication half of treatment. Many have never heard of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which is one of the most effective therapies for treating depression. In addition, CBT is the most effective treatment for anxiety and many people with anxiety know nothing about it. A clinical or counselling psychologist is generally the first port of call for CBT and if you would like help finding someone in your area, email lou@depressioNet.com.au and she will track down the options available in your area. There is also a good online CBT program available called “Mood Gym” at http://moodgym.anu.edu.au/

What’s On
Carers Week 2004 is a national awareness week held during October each year all over Australia. The event was established to promote and raise awareness of the valuable role that carers play in our community and to generate discussion about carer issues. Carers Week also provides an opportunity for carers to come together, support one another and share ideas and information. The theme for Carers Week 2004 is - 'Health and Wellbeing' and the focus will be to:
1. Raise awareness of the extra role that carers take on, and the health issues they may face
2. Support carers to take action which positively enhances their own health and wellbeing
You can find out what is happening in your region by visiting Carers Australia at www.carersaustralia.com.au

Writing Competition – history of ‘Black Dog’
The Black Dog Institute is holding a writing competition to help uncover the history of the term ‘black dog’ as a description for depression. Entries are to be in the form of a written essay (of between 1500 and 5000 words) and must address the history of ‘black dog’ as a term used to describe depression. Prizes will be awarded for the 3 best entry essays.: An Application form and further information can be obtained via the Institute’s website: http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au or by phoning (02) 9382 4523.

The World Premiere of Personality Games!
Written by Professor Gordon Parker and Neil Cole and directed by Michael Bishop, Personality Games is a play about being a psychiatrist and being a patient… about Borderline Personality and about testing the borders. A 3-week season at The Carlton Courthouse in Melbourne begins on September 2 Neil Cole is a Director of depressioNet and Gordon Parker is Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute so we know it will be insightful and entertaining. http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/vic_personality.html

Anxiety Disorder Workshop South Australia! 27th - 30th September http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/sa_workshop.html

Betty Blues: A Comedy about depression 24th Sept - 9th Oct. Refreshing to be able to laugh – even at depression! http://www.depressionet.com.au/whatson/vic_bettyblues.html

Reducing the Impact of Depression – Dental Care
A very common side effect of taking anti-depressants is a dry mouth. While the suggestions Dr Ross has made below are relevant to everyone for good dental care, it is particularly important for people who are taking anti-depressant medication to make a habit of doing those things that will counteract the effect of having a dry mouth. Our thanks to dentist, Dr Geoff Ross.

Many people do not realize that good quality saliva is essential to help avoid tooth decay.

Various medical conditions and various medications – including several anti-depressant preparations - deplete the quality and quantity of the saliva. The subsequent lower quantity of saliva is often (although not always) detected by the patient and reported as resulting in a “dry mouth”.

Such patients are at high risk of rapidly developing multiple areas of tooth decay, especially on exposed root surfaces. Preventive dental care is essential! This often involves:

  • thorough twice daily tooth brushing and flossing
  • using tooth paste containing fluoride
  • rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse
  • stimulating saliva with sugarless chewing gum
  • sipping water frequently
  • avoid picking between meals
  • using artificial saliva substitutes where necessary
  • avoiding acidic or acid promoting foods
  • seeing the dentist regularly for dental examinations, monitoring, and specific individual advice.

    Research Projects - Helping them to help us!
    depressioNet is committed to supporting research into any aspect of depression & related conditions. Please consider participating in one of the following projects that need our participation and support. For more information on any of these projects visit www.depressionet.com.au/research_project.html

    THE POSITIVE DIMENSION OF DEPRESSION
    Women in their second or third trimester of pregnancy are invited to participate in research examining positive psychological functioning, how this can be measured, and how it might be used to better prevent and treat depression.

    SELF-REFERENT COGNITION IN DEPRESSED AND EUTHYMIC MOOD STATES
    This exciting new study is being conducted from Monash University in Melbourne and aims to contribute to the understanding, prevention and treatment of depression and other emotional problems.

    BIPOLAR AFFECTIVE DISORDER AND UNIPOLAR DEPRESSION STUDY
    People with bipolar affective disorder, unipolar (major) depression and their family members are invited to participate in a study conducted by the University of Melbourne, Department of Psychiatry at the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg. You will need to attend 2 sessions between 7pm and 3am. This study is investigating the response of a hormone (melanotic) to bright light, which may in the future be a useful diagnostic tool for identification of people at risk for bipolar disorder.

    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.

    DEPRESSION AND HEART DISEASE STUDY
    This study being conducted by Dr. David Barton at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne is seeking to learn more about the relationship between depression and heart disease. It needs people who are able to visit The Alfred Hospital and The Royal Melbourne Hospital for treatment for approximately 10 weeks.

    SUPPORT AND EDUCTION PROGRAM FOR BIPOLAR DISORDER OR DEPRESSION
    This study needs people who can commit to attending eight (8) sessions at the Mood Disorders Unit, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick NSW. It 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 ANITDEPRESSANT
    This study is being conducted by Professor Gordon Parker from The Mood Disorders Unit - Black Dog Foundation and needs people who live in Sydney, have a first or new episode of depression requiring treatment, and have either never previously received an antidepressant drug or not have received an antidepressant drug in the last three months.

    TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION (TMS) A NEW TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION
    The physical treatments currently available for depression are antidepressant medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), both of which are helpful to many people. A third option is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This is currently only offered through research studies such as this one!

    MENTAL HEALTH LITERACY AND HELP SEEKING QUESTIONNAIRE
    This research project can be completed via online questionnaires. The study aims to examine whether knowledge and attitudes about mental illness is a predictor of help seeking for psychological distress. Friends and family needed too!

    A NEW SCALE FOR BIPOLAR DEPRESSION
    The Geelong Hospital and Healthscope are seeking people who have current depressive symptoms of Bipolar Affective Disorder (“Manic Depression”) to participate in a new project.

    THE RELATIONSHIP OF EXERCISE TYPE TO DEPRESSION
    The following study is being conducted by a depressioNet team member and needs people who are between 18 and 80 years old and have either participated in a form of exercise recently or have not participated in any exercise recently.

    Here for you – 24 hours a day!
    I recently met a wonderful lady who is committed to helping people to overcome the challenges of living with depression in the work she does daily. In a follow up email, this lady shared something she reminds people to do – and as we all tend to judge ourselves so much more harshly than we do others, I think it is a reminder we all can use…

    “I will be handing out advice to visit your site and encouraging people to find what works for them and to accept depression as the illness that it is. I find myself reminding people to be kind to themselves, to imagine that it is their best friend who is suffering and follow the advice they would give to them.”

    Also remember, there is a Team member behind the screens at depressioNet 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 & the Team at depressioNet

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