With COVID-19 still in full swing, human connection can feel elusive.
Sade Miller, a junior social work student, has recently organized a group to help those whose mood disorders may have worsened during COVID-19. Miller herself suffers from a mood disorder, and is the lead facilitator of the WVU Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
“We just talk; we introduce ourselves and what we personally go through, and then we just create conversation,” Miller said.
The goal of the WVU DBSA, one of more than 700 similar groups across the country, is to “improve the lives of people living with mood disorders.”
Michael Pollock, Executive Director of DBSA National will be presenting at the West Virginia Social Work Conference on Friday, September 11th, 2020. Michael will be giving an overview of digital programs and resources, including videos, podcasts and materials to download and share with clients with Depression and Bipolar Disorder and other mood disorders. These resources can help social workers as well as those living with mental illness and their families.
Racism is a direct and constant threat to the mental health of millions living in this country. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance views the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis as one in a long line of tragic events that call on us to find common ground.
We cannot turn away from the fact that people of color, particularly African Americans, continue to live in fear of violence at the hands of the police. The mental health effects of constantly looking over one’s shoulder, concerned that you may be judged and suspected without cause, are profound.
This fear is part of a much broader reality that places all people of color at disproportionate risk for depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and more. As an organization concerned with the mental health of all Americans, we cannot and will not ignore this reality.
We view the public outrage we are seeing nationwide in light of the psychological burden that racism represents. We applaud peaceful protests that will move us toward understanding, compassion, and justice while exposing the mental health effects that racism creates.
It is all too easy to blame one individual, one group, or one event for what is happening right now. Instead, DBSA is focused on decisive actions that will advance the long-term mental health of all citizens:
We call on police departments across the nation to make urgent changes in policies, training, and accountability to prevent acts of injustice and brutality against any individual.
We call for cultural changes within police departments that make it safe and acceptable for officers to obtain the mental health care they themselves need.
We call on Congress to fund the full $38.5 billion needed to provide our citizens with the community-based mental health care required in this time of unprecedented stress.
We also ask Congress to provide direct federal funding for the expansion of virtual, peer-led support groups. There must be no obstacles for people who reach out to give and receive support.
Living with depression or bipolar disorder can demand a lot of you. Wellness comes from knowing your strengths and finding ways to move forward, one step at a time
The DBSA Wellness Wheel is an easy-to-use tool that gives you a complete picture of the progress you’ve already made in your wellness journey. As you create your own wheel, you will see your strengths in perspective and discover ways to move toward the life you want to live.
A wellness tool created with you in mind
The Wellness Wheel concept has been widely used by mental health experts as a tool for recovery. DBSA’s Wellness Wheel reflects the real-world challenges you face and the ways you’re rising up to meet them.
We have drawn on multiple research studies and our own lived experience to create the Wellness Wheel and the educational tools that go with it. Our goal is to support you in celebrating your progress, and encourage you to explore new pathways for learning and personal growth.
Let’s get started! Take an inventory of your strengths in 7 key areas
Physical How would you describe your body’s overall health? Are you doing well with sleep, nutrition, and exercise? Are there changes you can make that will help you feel even stronger and healthier?
Occupational How does having a mood disorder affect your career? Do you feel confident at work, or do you need more resources to feel fully supported?
Financial How well do you handle money? Do you have a plan for spending and savings? Do mental health symptoms sometimes pull you off track?
Environmental Do you spend time outdoors? Do you find calm and comfort in certain spaces, indoors and out? How can you arrange your home and office to support your mental health?
Social Are your relationships mostly strong and supportive? Do you feel close to others, or are there times you feel isolated and lonely? Do you attend a regular support group of peers who understand your situation and needs?
Intellectual Do you enjoy learning new things? Do you have a creative hobby or pursuit that enriches your life? Would you like to try new things that will be stimulating and satisfying?
Spiritual Do you feel a strong sense of purpose and meaning? Do you draw on your deepest values to provide inner guidance? Are you hoping to feel more centered and balanced?
If you don’t have all the answers yet, don’t worry! The prompts in the workbook will guide you along. All you need are some colored pencils, markers or pens and you’re ready to begin.
Sleep, nutrition, and physical activity for total health.
Spending, saving, and planning for confidence with money.
Enjoying your surroundings at work, home, and outdoors.
Stimulating your mind and enjoying creative activities.
Making sure your working life satisfies and supports you.
Creating caring, supportive relationships and community.
Finding connection with your values, meaning and purpose.
In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the issue creating the need to stop face to
face groups, DBSA WV has decided to implement the following temporary procedure
until the danger of the COVID-19 Pandemic has passed.
DBSA peer facilitators have been asked to use Zoom accounts to connect with their
group participants via Zoom online. DBSA WV will be helping financially with the cost
of the Zoom expense. DBSA National is still offering online support groups for those
that are interested as well.
This is a temporary solution to a temporary situation with the COVID-19 Pandemic. I
believe that face to face is usually always going to be the best way for people to meet
and support each other, but until the Pandemic has passed it is in everyone’s best
interest to use online services. For the safety of everyone, DBSA WV is requesting that
face to face groups stop meeting until further notice.
In light of the current situation, I ask for your patience and understanding. At this time
our main concern is to continue making support services available and to keep all
involved safe from spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Nancy Marshall, Executive Director
DBSA WV held its annual state conference including peer support/facilitator training at St. John the 23rd Pastoral Center in Charleston, WV on September 26th and 27th, 2019. Participants from six counties attended the two day event. Training, which was provided by BBHHF included Mental Health First Aid and Person Centered Care and Considerations by Dave Sanders, Motivational Interviewing and Trauma Informed Care by Jim Matney, and Strategic Prevention Framework provided by Josh Murphy and Kimberly Shoemake from Prestera.
Jill Burgos, Chapter Relations Manager from DBSA National joined us on the second day of training and did a presentation at the annual face to face meeting of the Board of Directors following the conference on September 28, 2019.
DBSA WV extends a special thanks to Dave Sanders for arranging all the speakers. We also wish to thanks to all the speakers for making our conference complete.
DBSA WV thanks Brenda and all the staff at St. John’s for all their help and hospitality at this beautiful facility.
DBSA National provided a “Train the Trainer” seminar for DBSA WV at the Hilton Garden Inn in the Clarksburg-Bridgeport area of Harrison County on Saturday, December 7th, 2019. This one-day workshop, enables individuals affiliated with DBSA WV to train peers who are interested in becoming facilitators at new or long standing DBSA meetings across the state. Jill Burgos, Chapter Relations Manager for DBSA National taught eleven participants from seven counties in the state how to facilitate a meeting from beginning to end. The afternoon was spent with participants practicing their skills through role play.
DBSA WV wants to thank Jill for such an interesting, educational, fun day due to her interactive teaching style and her encouragement of our questions. We also want to extend our thanks to the staff at the Hilton for the meals and their hospitality.