Microsoft word - nlmay05.doc

May 2005 dNetter

Welcome to the depressioNet May newsletter
A very warm welcome to all who are new to depressioNet since our last newsletter. This is one of the most
exciting times in the history of depressioNet with a number of projects developing with the help of our
growing network of dNetters and Friends of depressioNet.
Our Story this month is from a wonderful gentleman in his late 50’s who has been a member depressioNet
for four years (how time passes!) and who shares very openly and honestly his experience with depression.
We hope you enjoy!
Warm Regards
& the Team at depressioNet

Musicus Medicus –depressioNet Fundraising Concert!
The New South Wales Doctors Orchestra, 'Musicus Medicus', and depressioNet are joining forces to hold a Fundraising Concert for the benefit all Australians living with depression! (See attached brochure or Not only will this event provide much-needed financial support for the vital site and service, it provides a wonderful opportunity for doctors and people living with depression to work together to find solutions to the challenges of living with depression. Conducted by David Banney, and with an exclusive performance by renowned soloist Evgeny Ukhanov, you will enjoy the delights of Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto and Dvorak's 8th Symphony! The Orchestra comprises medical musicians from throughout NSW who are not only giving their time and talents, each doctor-musician is personally donating $100 to depressioNet to start the fundraising! The Concert has the support of some wonderful organisations, Doctors and 'dNetters'. all we need is YOU to make this exciting event a brilliant success! We invite you to join us in reducing the impact of depression on the lives of Australians by attending the 'Musicus Medicus - depressioNet Fundraising Concert and inviting your friends and colleagues!
depressioNet is proud to support the ‘Challenging Depression in the Elderly’ Conference!
Challenging Depression in the Elderly
- Sydney: 23rd - 24th June 2005
The organisers of this conference from the Hammond Care Group, are people who are passionate about
improving life for older people. The conference will be focussing on seeking and sharing innovative ways to
reduce the impact of depression on the elderly by engaging and empowering older people, their families,
friends, people who work in aged care, healthcare professionals, the community and all who have a personal
and/or professional interest in this area. This is directly aligned with the purpose of depressioNet and
along with a host of Australian and overseas presenters, depressioNet’s Founder and CEO will be
presenting an exciting new depressioNet project aimed at making a significant contribution in this area. In
support of depressioNet and the work we are doing, the Hammond Care Group are offering all who register
via depressioNet a 10% discount on the conference registration. Download the registration form &
for your depressioNet discount!
The depressioNet bag is here!
Thanks to our dNetters we are now taking orders for the new depressioNet Bag! The environmentally
friendly depressioNet carry bags will be arriving at the depressioNet office in a couple of weeks and placing
your order now will ensure you receive your bags promptly and don’t miss out!
To save on postage and keep the cost down, we are selling the bags in bundles of 5 or 10 or more. You can
give or sell the depressioNet bags to family and friends to help increase awareness of depressioNet as a
resource for people living with depression so that people know it is here for them when they need.
10 or more bags - $2.50 per bag plus $7.50 p&h or email to place your order! May 2005 dNetter

Black Dog Institute Announce the Winners!
The winners of the Black Dog Institute writing competition have now been announced. 226 people submitted
contributions to the competition, explored many dimensions of the term 'black dog'. The entries were of
extremely high calibre and the awards were presented on 27 April 2005 at a ceremony presided over by the
Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, AC. The winners and links to their
entries are available at
Whats on
Vic: Living With Anxiety – Wednesday 22nd June
How do I know if I am experiencing anxiety or panic attacks? Why am I anxious or panicky? What can I do
about it? The Presenter of the Living With Anxiety lunch is Tomi Redman. It is being held between 12:15 to
1:30pm at the Heritage Room, Ground Floor (at rear) Queen Victoria Women's Centre 210 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne. For more information go to
Qld: Manhood 2005 - Redefining the Roles - Oct 20th - 23rd 2005 - Sunshine Coast
October 2005 will see the Men’s Health and Wellbeing Association (Queensland) Inc. embark on an exciting
new project called Manhood 2005. The centre piece is a conference which will bring together organisations
and individuals who are involved in grassroots men’s work with government departments, agencies and
private sector men’s health providers.
Qld: 6th International Mental Health Conference- ‘What’s New In Mood Disorders’ 2nd – 4th Sep 2005
This conference will explore new perspectives in the field of mental health including: changes in
classification; diagnostic advances including brain imaging and other investigations; the biology and genetics
of mood disorders; new drug treatment approaches (especially for bipolar depression and treatment resistant
mood disorders); transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS); the relationship of personality to chronic
depression and vulnerability to mood disorder; new psychotherapy approaches to treatment; and co morbid
mood and other psychiatric illness. More information is available at
ACT: Suicide In Australia: Are We Making Progress-Sunday 29th May ANU
Suicide in Australia affects people of all ages & from all walks of life with devastating consequences for
families and the community. In memory of those lost through suicide, AFFiRM is proud to present a
community seminar & forum. Dr Kathy Griffiths will respond to the topic Are we making progress? by
outlining relevant recent research in the area, and Ms Dawn Smith will focus on current suicide prevention
strategies and policies in Australia, including Lifeline. Speakers will then join a panel to answer questions
and discuss relevant issues. If you are interested in attending, contact Lou Farrer:
Research projects – Helping them to help us!
Research into depression and related conditions is very important and needs the combined efforts of
healthcare professionals and people who live with depression to make it valuable to us all. Information on the
full list of research projects is available at:
Women’s Mental Health Studies at the Alfred
The Alfred are conducting three research studies that focus on women and mental health.
1. Suffering from Bipolar Affective or Schizoaffective Disorder?
This study is examining the use of hormonal treatments for Bipolar and Schizoaffective Disorders in women.
2. Postmenopausal and Suffering with Schizophrenia?
The APRC is seeking female volunteers with current symptoms of psychosis to take part in a 12 week
supplementary trial exploring the role of a new form of estrogen (SERMs) in the treatment of schizophrenia.
3. Using Estrogen to Treat Psychotic Symptoms
This study is looking at the effect of estrogen on symptoms of mood and psychosis in premenopausal
women who are suffering from either schizophrenia, schizophreniform or schizoaffective disorder. More
information is available at:
Lay Beliefs About Mental Health Research
This survey requires people from 18 - 65 years to complete an on-line questionnaire designed to help better
understand what people believe about the causes of mental health problems. There are a series of
questions on the causes and treatment of mental illness, which take about 30 minutes. Participants are
eligible to enter a $50 prize draw.
May 2005 dNetter

How Organisation And Funding Influence Primary Carer For Patients With Depression
The Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and Monash University in Melbourne are collaborating to
explore how organisation and funding influence how GPs care for patients with depression. They need
people in Melbourne who live with mild to moderate depression either personally or through a family member
and are willing to complete two questionnaires.
Depression Treatment Under Trial
Australian researchers are currently conducting clinical trials into a medication for the treatment of
depression, with a special emphasis on Australians aged over 65. This trial is looking to accept new patients
at their trial centres in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Our Stories
I'm a 58-year-old, tertiary-educated divorced male from a conservative and stable family background, living
in Melbourne, Australia. I was married in the late 1960's, and subsequently spent a couple of years travelling
the world on a working holiday with my wife. We had no children, by mutual choice. I was a member of the
Australian Defence Forces for some years, based in Brisbane. Until 1991, I held responsible, well-paying
technical positions in both Melbourne and Perth, working for private companies and Government
In the early 1980's, I was amicably divorced, and unfortunately was retrenched from work in 1992. Since then, I have only worked casually or part-time, and have not worked at my trained profession since being retrenched. I have been happily living with my partner for about fifteen years now, and possibly owe her my life, or at the least, my present relative peace of mind. Currently I have been unemployed for nearly four years and rely solely on social security for income. Initially, troubles with working led to my being diagnosed with clinical depression in 1999. Two years ago, my diagnosis was amended to dysthymia with generalised anxiety disorder. I am hypervigilant, and mildly obsessive compulsive. During the last six years, I have trialled many antidepressant medications of all classes, mostly without any benefits, and am currently taking Lexapro, Kalma and also Stilnox for a major displaced sleep pattern. I discovered the depressioNet web site about four years ago, around the same time as starting to have panic attacks at work and home. This was manageable in the short term, but ultimately led to me becoming unemployable. For me, depressioNet provided firstly, a place where I could "go" without being patronised or ridiculed for my apparently silly beliefs or feelings, and I could see feedback from other depression sufferers with similar problems to myself. That in itself provided me with a lot more self confidence, as I knew that I wasn't isolated or struggling on my own in an uncaring world. Well, the world at large may not care that much, but at least I'd found a place where I could ask questions about my state of mind, medications, and therapies, and hopefully answer other's questions about these things. This was, at that time, crucial in my coming to terms with the illness, as until 1999, I'd never even thought about depression as an "illness". Like a lot of people still do, I thought it was simply a matter of "snapping out of it", or "getting on with the job". How ill-advised was that opinion prior to my own diagnosis! Secondly, depressioNet provides an invaluable set of resources about conditions, therapies and medications, as well as announcements about mental health seminars, consumer drug information, self-help and reading material. And, importantly, all the information is investigated and approved by educated, and professionally-advised and well-sourced team members and moderators. If it's on dNet, then I can trust it! Now, in mid-2005, I'm at least at peace with my thoughts such that I can now, within reason, rationalise what I'm doing and possibly why or why not. I'm still not "cured"; maybe I never will be, but then again there's every chance I will be. DepressioNet definitely played its part, I think, for this change of heart over the last few traumatic years. I still visit the forum on a regular basis and people still help me out a lot (often, I'm sure without realising it!), and I try to help others as best I can. Whether we've been here three years or three days is immaterial, as the key words in this forum are compassion, respect, education, empathy, patience, giving, and tolerance (and a gentle smattering of good humour to sometimes lighten those dark nights). What you won't find on depressioNet is prejudices, intolerance, ridicule, criticism, aggression, ignorance, disrespect or narrow-mindedness.


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