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alexandra_styronWe are often contacted by Families for Depression Awareness supporters and volunteers for information about turning a family story about depression into a book. Some people ask for help with transforming personal experiences into a marketable piece of nonfiction. Others want help with figuring out who their audience will be.

We are excited to announce that Alexandra Styron, daughter of celebrated writer William Styron and acclaimed author of the memoir Reading My Father, will answer questions about writing a memoir in an upcoming video!

Brain scan
Researchers at Emory University are studying whether PET brain scans may help to predict whether a person will respond better to antidepressant medication or talk therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) as a treatment for depression. The study, published by the JAMA Network, is among those seeking to identify biomarkers related to depression treatment as researchers hope to improve the outcomes for people with major depressive disorder.

Unfortunately, PET scans are expensive and not necessarily readily available. Until this approach is more widely tested and verified, it can be considered a good idea but not an answer to the complicated question of what is the best treatment for each individual with depression.  

However, here are some tools you can use now to improve your depression treatment!

neuroimaging"MRI may be an effective way to diagnose mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, according to experts from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In a landmark study using advanced techniques, the researchers were able to correctly distinguish bipolar patients from healthy individuals based on their brain scans alone. The data are published in the journal Psychological Medicine."

Read the full Science Daily article.

Use these current tests to diagnose bipolar disorder:

white house sealToday, Monday, June 3rd, President Obama and Vice President Biden are hosting a National Conference on Mental Health at the White House as part of the Administration’s effort to launch a national conversation to increase understanding and awareness of mental health.

"There should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many people that we love," President Obama said during his opening remarks.

girl_crying According to the Center for Disease Control's first ever data on cyberbullying, cyberbullying triples the risk of suicide in teens.

"Suicide attempts that required treatment were more than three times as likely in teenagers who reported being bullied online, compared with youths who were not bullied, an analysis of federal data on more than 15,000 adolescents found," reports Sherry Boschert in this month's Clinical Psychiatry News Digital Network article on the topic.

president_obamaMay is Mental Health Awareness Month!  Although the month is coming to a close, we wanted to share some of the top news stories that we have been following with you.

President Obama's Proclamation of May as Mental Health Awareness Month discussed the need to eliminate the stigma of depressive disorders because it can act as a barrier to treatment. He wrote, "We need to make sure [people with a mental health condition] know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness -- it is a sign of strength."

katie_duffinKatie Duffin, A Los Angeles native, counsels parents of California’s Welfare-to-Work program. “The parents I work with are generally open-minded and supportive,” Katie says.  “They want to do right by their kids but they don’t always know how.

susanhuntleySusan Huntley is a mediator who has suffered with depression. Read about how she is working on behalf of students in need of mental health services.

mom_and_teenTeens who are dealing with depression are often reluctant to seek help.  Our upcoming May 29th Teen Depression Webinar will teach parents, school staff, youth workers, and other adults how to spot teen depression and help young people who may be resistant.  The webinar is free and also covers other topics such as signs of self injury and treatment options.

Sudan PhotovoiceNine Malden High School students involved in the “Capturing Community Wellness through Photovoice” photography exhibit are set to receive the 2013 Distinguished Service in Mental Health Advocacy award presented by Families for Depression Awareness. The award is being presented at our Strides Against Stigma event on April 27th at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.



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If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 800-273-TALK or 911 immediately. For crisis support via text message, text LISTEN to 741741.