December 2015 marks my sixth month at Families for Depression Awareness. I’ve learned a great deal about this organization and the work we do everyday. I’ve met families who are utilizing our resources and services to help their loved ones dealing with depression or bipolar disorder and, in turn, helping other families.
Marlin Collingwood with Chris Kelley, Winchester High School Principal
This year, the Winchester (MA) Public Schools developed district-wide improvement goals, one of which is to “build a strong and effective system of supports and interventions to ensure that all students’ social-emotional and mental heath needs are met.” Several folks from Winchester invited us to bring our Teen Depression programming into their community.
Follow the easy steps below to support Families for Depression Awareness throughout the year. Everyone who sets up a recurring monthly donation by December 31, 2015 will be entered to win an all new 6" Kindle Paperwhite! The winner will be chosen by January 6, 2016. READ KINDLE GIVEAWAY TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
Step 1: First, decide how much you want to give on a monthly basis. (Setup requires your first month's donation.)
Step 3: Under "Donation Amount," enter the amount of money you want to give each month.
Every year since 2004, the U.S. Surgeon General has declared that Thanksgiving is also National Family History Day. Both on Thanksgiving and on other occasions that families gather, Americans should talk about – and write down – the health problems that seem to run in their families. Because knowing about health issues is critical for prevention measures and timely intervention, learning about our families’ health history may help ensure a longer, healthier future together.
At Families for Depression Awareness, we couldn’t agree more! Mental health conditions often run in families, so having greater knowledge of your own family history may provide you with a better understanding of your own mental health. It may also give you a good sense of what to look for in your relatives, including your children, so you can help. Just as significantly, when you communicate openly with your family about mental health, the opportunities for support and stability greatly increase.
Take some time this week to explore your family’s mental health history and open the lines of communication with your loved ones. Here are some practical things you can do:
Photo credit: David Lee, rights reserved
From Marlin Collingwood
When my husband Gary died by suicide in May 2014, he wrote in his letter to me that he didn’t do this to cause anyone else pain, but to end his own.
But suicide leaves horrible exit wounds for those of us left behind.
The days, weeks, and months after you lose someone you love to suicide are filled with so many emotions: confusion, heartbreak, rage, loneliness, grief, despair, relief – the list goes on and on.
It’s a club I never thought I’d be a member of and some days it still seems unreal that I’m in it. Unfortunately, it’s a club that’s been around since the beginning of time and whose membership continues to grow everyday.
I’m talking about the Suicide Loss Survivors club.
While of course it’s not an actual club, those of us who belong can usually spot each other from afar. Our stories are all unique and different, but the end result is the same: we lost someone we love to suicide and the pain is with us every day.
One in five adults experience mental health difficulties in a given year. Perhaps you are struggling. There is a high likelihood that you know someone who is.
Having awareness – recognizing and acknowledging your difficulties and your need for help – is one of the most important parts of getting support for mental health issues. Why? Because many mental health issues improve greatly with the right support.
As summer draws to an official close, kids are back to school and family vacations are memories. Many of us are looking forward to pumpkin spice coffee, changing leaves, and – for those in many parts of the country – crisper, cooler weather.
For those who deal with depression and bipolar disorder, the changing seasons don’t mean a change in their day-to-day struggles. They face the same challenges related to treatment, medication, and coping skills all year and their families continue to look for ways to help them.
At Families for Depression Awareness, we help families recognize and cope with depression and bipolar disorder to get people well and prevent suicides. There are many actions you can take to help a loved one and to support suicide prevention in your community. We hope that World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, gives you extra motivation to learn more and take action to help prevent suicides.
Since I started as Executive Director in June, I’ve met with hundreds of people that are involved in our work helping families. These have included numerous clinicians and mental health providers; elected officials; families who are currently providing care for a loved one who suffers from bipolar disorder or depression; folks who are themselves struggling to get well from their own condition; suicide loss survivors; teenagers wanting to help other teens understand mental illness by sharing their own stories; and dozens of colleagues in the world of mental health nonprofits.
In talking with nearly every one of these people I’ve come to understand how important community is in all of our lives – especially those of us dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide.