Mental Health Awareness


How can I help myself if I am depressed?
February 27, 2009, 11:42 pm
Filed under: depression, Education, Resources

How can I help myself if I am depressed?

See your doctor or mental health professional to set up a treatment plan; this may include medication, support groups, or psychotherapy.

Try to be an active participant in your care. Stick to the treatment plan and educate yourself about your condition.

Engage in mild exercise: it has been shown to reduce depression symptoms.

Take care not to become isolated; stay involved with or expand your support network.

Make sure that you continue to do things that you love doing.

Set realistic goals for yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by tasks of daily living, break up large tasks into smaller ones; set some priorities and do what you can as you are able.

Try to spend time with others and confide in a trusted friend or relative.

 Expect your mood to improve gradually. Often times with treatment, sleep and appetite will improve before your depressed mood dissipates.

Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as you respond to treatment.

Where can I go for help?

Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors.

Recommendations can come from your local NAMI affiliate, your health insurance provider, or the SAMHSA treatment locator (800) 729-6686, option #2).

Community mental health centers or outpatient clinics. Mental health programs at universities, medical schools, and state hospital outpatient clinics.

Family/social services or clergy.

Peer support groups or education programs can be found through your local NAMI affiliate, local hospital, or other mental health organization.

Employee assistance programs.

Check the phone book or internet under “mental health,” “health,” “social services,” or “physicians” for other resources.

If you are thinking of hurting yourself, please call a crisis line at 1 (800) 273-8255. You will be routed to the crisis center near you, or go to your local hospital emergency room.

Information adapted from http://www.nihm.gov, http://www.nami.org, and http://www.mayoclinic.org.

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Bipolar Disorder at work

Bipolar Disorder Exacts Twice Depression’s Toll in Workplace

Productivity Lags Even After Mood Lifts

Bipolar disorder costs twice as much in lost productivity as major depressive disorder, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has found. Each U.S. worker with bipolar disorder averaged 65.5 lost workdays in a year, compared to 27.2 for major depression. Even though major depression is more than six times as prevalent, bipolar disorder costs the U.S. workplace nearly half as much — a disproportionately high $14.1 billion annually. Researchers traced the higher toll mostly to bipolar disorder’s more severe depressive episodes rather than to its agitated manic periods. The study by Drs. Ronald Kessler, Philip Wang, Harvard University, and colleagues, is among two on mood disorders in the workplace published in the September 2006 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Their study is the first to distinguish the impact of depressive episodes due to bipolar disorder from those due to major depressive disorder on the workplace. It is based on one-year data from 3378 employed respondents to the National Co-morbidity Survey Replication, a nationally representative household survey of 9,282 U.S. adults, conducted in 2001-2003.

The researchers measured the persistence of the disorders by asking respondents how many days during the past year they experienced an episode of mood disorder. They judged the severity based on symptoms during a worst month. Lost work days due to absence or poor functioning on the job, combined with salary data, yielded an estimate of lost productivity due to the disorders.

Poor functioning while at work accounted for more lost days than absenteeism. Although only about 1 percent of workers have bipolar disorder in a year, compared to 6.4 percent with major depression, the researchers projected that bipolar disorder accounts for 96.2 million lost workdays and $14.1 billion in lost salary-equivalent productivity, compared to 225 million workdays and $36.6 billion for major depression annually in the United States.

About three-fourths of bipolar respondents had experienced depressive episodes over the past year, with about 63 percent also having agitated manic or hypomanic episodes. The bipolar-associated depressive episodes were much more persistent — affecting 134-164 days — compared to only 98 days for major depression. The bipolar-associated depressive episodes were also more severe. All measures of lost work performance were consistently higher among workers with bipolar disorder who had major depressive episodes than those who reported only manic or hypomanic episodes. The latter workers’ lost performance was on a par with workers who had major depressive disorder.

“Major depressive episodes due to bipolar disorder are sometimes incorrectly treated as major depressive disorder,” noted Wang. “Since antidepressants can trigger the onset of mania, workplace programs should first rule out the possibility that a depressive episode may be due to bipolar disorder.”

Future effectiveness trials could gauge the return on investment for employers offering coordinated evaluations and treatment for both mood disorders, he said.

Also participating in the study were: Dr. Kathleen Merikangas, NIMH; Dr. Minnie Ames and Robert Jin, Harvard University; Dr. Howard Birnbaum, Paul Greenberg, Analysis Group Inc.; Dr. Robert Hirschfeld, University of Texas; Dr. Hagop Akiskal, University of California San Diego.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and John W. Alden Trust provided supplemental funding.

In a related NIMH-funded study in the same issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, Drs. Debra Lerner, David Adler, and colleagues, Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts-New England Medical Center, found that many aspects of job performance are impaired by depression and that the effects linger even after symptoms have improved.

The researchers tracked the job performance and productivity of 286 employed patients with depression and dysthymia, 93 with rheumatoid arthritis and 193 healthy controls recruited from primary care physician practices for 18 months. While job performance improved as depression symptoms waned, even “clinically improved” depressed patients performed worse than healthy controls on mental, interpersonal, time management, output and physical tasks. The arthritis patients showed greater impairment, compared to healthy controls, only for physical job demands.

Noting that 44 percent of the depressed patients were already taking antidepressants when they began the study and still met clinical criteria for depression — and that job performance continued to suffer despite some clinical improvement — the researchers recommended that the goal of depression treatment should be remission. They also suggest that health professionals pay more attention to recovery of work function and that workplace supports be developed, perhaps through employee assistance programs and worksite occupational health clinics, to help depressed patients better manage job demands.

 

 

© 2001-2007 National Institute of Mental Health. All Rights Reserved



Book Recomendation

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Hurry Down Sunshine

by Michael Greenberg (Other Press 2008. 238 pages.)

An excellent memoir—written by the father of a 15-year old daughter about her onset of bipolar disorder and its impact on their extended, blended family. His description of life on a psychiatric ward is exceptional: marked by critical insight and occasionally dark humor. He describes the uncertainty that marks the process of treatment and recovery, which will recur throughout his daughter’s life.



House and NAMI partnership
February 2, 2009, 7:36 am
Filed under: awareness | Tags: , , , ,

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FOX TV’s HOUSE & NAMI Renew Partnership

The hit FOX TV drama House has once again teamed with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to raise money and awareness in support of people with mental illness and their families.

T-shirts bearing the slogan (or “House-ism”) “Normal’s Overrated” went on sale Thursday, January 22 with proceeds benefiting NAMI.

A similar partnership in 2007 raised over $130,000 for NAMI.

The 2009 partnership was announced to the media at an exclusive 100th episode party for the show last Wednesday in Los Angeles, where the NAMI logo was proudly displayed along the red carpet.  In addition, House cast and crew members each wore the special t-shirts to the event.

House is making an enormous contribution to public education by lending the show’s celebrity profile to raise funds,” said NAMI executive director Mike Fitzpatrick, who was in attendance at the event.

“NAMI thanks the producers, cast, and crew of House. You are making a difference in people’s lives.” Fitzpatrick added.

The event was covered by multiple media outlets including Entertainment Tonight which aired a piece featuring the cast of House discussing the relationship between the show and NAMI.

NAMI has created a special section on NAMI.org where visitors can purchase t-shirts, see highlights from the event, and even help NAMI by downloading a widget which can easily be added to social networking profile pages such as Facebook and MySpace. 

Join NAMI and House in celebrating this important partnership by purchasing your t-shirt today.