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August 28, 2006

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance 2006 Conference in San Mateo, California - September 9th

Can people living with depression and bipolar disorder make full recoveries? That's the central theme of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance's (DBSA) upcoming conference in San Mateo on Saturday, September 9, at the San Mateo Marriott. The conference is co-sponsored by DBSA California, the national organization's state chapter.

Hundreds of mental health consumers, family members and clinical experts are expected to attend the highly-anticipated conference, Living Well: Making Recovery Real.

DBSA is the leading national patient-directed organization focusing on the most prevalent mental illnesses -- depression and bipolar disorder. The organization's conferences provide an opportunity for consumers to connect with peers, family members and experts to explore new recovery skills, get the latest news on treatment options and rediscover hope.

Two of North America's most highly-regarded mental health advocates will provide the opening and closing keynote speeches at the daylong conference.

Victoria Maxwell, an award-winning actress, writer and producer will give the opening keynote. Maxwell has gained acclaim for her often hilarious yet poignant one-woman show, Crazy for Life, her true-life story about accepting and living with a psychiatric disorder. Her honest, irreverent approach to her own experiences disarms the prejudices often associated with mental illness while providing crucial information on how to deal with it openly and effectively.

The closing keynote will be given by the former Executive of King County, Wash., Randy Revelle. Revelle is credited with pulling together thousands of advocates to create insurance parity, greatly enhancing access to care and treatment in Washington State.

During his speech, Revelle will share his personal experiences living with severe mental illness as he presents "Overcoming the Stigma: A Personal Story of Recovery from Mental Illness."

Breakout sessions at the conference run the gamut, from popular "Ask the Doctors" sessions to discussions with such notable writers as Tom Wootton, author of The Bipolar Advantage.

To register for the conference go to or call 800-826-3632. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, although space is limited.

Living Well: Making Recovery Real is open to the general public. The program gets underway at 9 a.m. with events concluding at 5 p.m. A Friends Reception featuring a performance by Maxwell will be held following the conference. Tickets for the reception can be purchased separately.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is the nation's leading patient-directed organization focusing on depression and bipolar disorder. The organization, which has more than 1,000 support groups nationwide, fosters an understanding about the impact and management of these life-threatening illnesses by providing up-to-date, scientifically-based tools and information. Assisted by a 65-member scientific advisory board, comprised of the leading researchers and clinicians in the field of mood disorders, DBSA supports research to promote more timely diagnosis, develop more effective and tolerable treatments and discover a cure. More than 4 million people receive information and assistance each year.

Posted by szadmin at 1:02 PM | Comments (5)

States Try Out Courts Tailored for Mentally Ill

National Public Radio has had a good program recently on Mental Health Courts that are being implemented in the US. NPR reports that "In many states around the country, judges have set up special courts to deal with defendants who have severe mental illnesses. The goal is to stop people from repeatedly cycling through the courts and jails and transform them into productive members of society."

Following is a brief excerpt from the program:

SHAPIRO: There are more than 120 mental health courts across the country. They aren't distributed evenly. Ohio has thirty, for example, while other states have none. And although they've become widespread, researchers have only completed local studies of their effectiveness. Dr. Henry Steadman is president of Policy Research Associates in Delmar, New York, and he recently began a national study of whether mental health courts work and for whom.

Dr. HENRY STEADMAN (Policy Research Associates): I think at this point it looks like it's something that can be very beneficial for all parties involved.

SHAPIRO: But he says there's still a lot more research to be done.
Dr. STEADMAN: I believe that for many of the people coming through the mental health courts, these are a wonderful intervention that will save the community money, will, in fact, provide a better quality of life and will, in fact, benefit the people enrolled in the mental health courts. And the key is just to refine that a little bit so that it isn't used for people with whom it will not be as effective.

SHAPIRO: The money argument can be counterintuitive. How can a program that incorporates housing, counseling, medication and employment assistance be cheaper than just locking someone up?

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton, who led the drive for mental health courts in her state, says the statistics are actually very dramatic. In Ohio, keeping someone in the mental health program costs taxpayers $30 a day, all- inclusive.

Ms. EVELYN STRATTON (Ohio Supreme Court Justice): If you put them in prison, it's $60 a day. If you put them in a mental hospital, it's $451 day. And if you put them in a general hospital, it's $1500 a day.

SHAPIRO: She says those numbers have convinced many a local politician to fund this program. But some mental health advocates aren't sure it's a good idea. Ira Burnham is legal director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C. He says yes, mentally ill people need help. But do they really have to be arrested to get it?

Listen to the entire program at NPR:

Mental Health Courts - discussion on NPR

Posted by szadmin at 12:48 PM | Comments (2)

New National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


You will be directed to a local crisis center for counseling or emergency services.

According to NAMI Stigma Busters, the suicide hotline 1-800-SUICIDE may be shut down on August 31, 2006. Please disseminate this information.

Posted by szadmin at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)