iFred Celebrates Global Day for Hope in Chicago – Agenda

GDFH program

 

9:00 – 9:15 am:  Speakers


Introduction/Opening:  Chicagonistas:  MJ Tam and Beth Rosen  @Chicagonista

Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, www.elizabethlombardo.com, @DrELombardo

Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo is a psychologist, physical therapist, and author of Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love.  Dr. Lombardo is active spokesperson for mental health, and serves as an advisory member of the Schools for Hope advisory board.  She is here to share how she is bringing hope and happiness to the world.

Joyce Marter, www.urbanbalance.com, @Joyce_Marter, @Urban_Balance

Joyce Marter, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and CEO of Urban Balance, is an innovative insurance-friendly counseling practice based in Chicago.  Joyce is sharing her message of hope for the Chicago community, and the steps she is taking through her work to ensure healthy brains for all.  We extend our gratitude to Joyce and the Urban Balance Practice for leadership in the mental health community.

Phyllis Foxworth, www.dbsalliance.org, pfoxworth@DBSAlliance.org, @DBSAAlliance

Phyllis Foxworth serves as the vice president of advocacy for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Phyllis will talk on how DBSA reaches the Chicago community and more by providing hope, help, support, and education and improving the lives of people living with mood disorders ensuring access to quality healthcare.  We applaud Phyllis and the DBSA organization for their outstanding services in both Chicago and across the nation.

Dr. Eugene Lipov www.gptsif.org, @Dr_EugeneLipov, @GlobalPTSIF

Dr. Eugene Lipov is Medical Director of Advance Pain Centers and the pioneer of the Chicago Block for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He runs the foundation Global Post Traumatic Stress Injury Foundation, and is here to share with us how he is bringing hope to the military and those that have been through severe trauma through an innovative procedure called the Stellate Ganglion Block.

Jessica Mead www.catholiccharities.net/Loss , @CCofChicago

Jessica Mead is the Program Coordinator for the Catholic Charities of Chicago LOSS program, a support program for survivors of suicide.  She is here to share the work Catholic Charities has provided in Chicago for over 30 years; helping thousands of families cope with the effects of suicide.  We are honored to have Jessica here on behalf of the LOSS program and bringing hope to surviving families and friends.

Penny Tate www.ifred.org, www.schoolsforhope.org, @ifredorg

Penny, Program Manager for Schools for Hope at iFred, is a strong advocate for youth mental health.  She shares today steps iFred is taking locally, nationally, and internationally to ensure our children are taught skills critical to create, maintain, and share hope and ways you can be involved.  We applaud her for shining a light of hope for our children.

Kathryn Goetzke www.ifred.org @ifredorg @kathryngoetzke

Kathryn Goetzke is the founder of iFred, the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression and President and CEO of The Mood Factory.  Kathryn’s leadership, innovation, compassion, and dedication to end stigma with the color yellow, the sunflower and rebranding is our inspiration today.

 

9:15 am:  Invitation to Plant and Share Hope


Plant Hope – We invite you to plant hope in Chicago and honor someone you know with depression or someone you have lost to suicide.  Use the sunflower seed provided, and place the seed in the ground as a way to honor and support those in need in our Hope Garden in Lincoln Park.  Come back and visit the sunflowers.  Share the pics with family and friends, in a show of solidarity.  @ifredorg #PlantHope #Hope2015

You may also take a packet of seeds home, and plant in your yard.  Don’t forget to share with us their growth throughout the season!  @ifredorg #PlantHope #GrowHope #BloomHope #hope2015

What Brings Me Hope Station – A great way to get hope, is to give hope.  Visit our ‘What Brings Me Hope’ station, write out what brings you hope, have a photo taken, and share with the world to inspire others.  Please use @ifredorg and use the hashtags @ifredorg #sharehope #hope2015

 

10:00-10:45 am:  Free Yoga Class by Debbie Muraff


Please join us for a free yoga class led by accomplished Yogi, Debbie Muraff. Enjoy the day, breathe in the fresh air, and renew your spirit and body with a sense of hope and wellness.  Leave the planting feeling healed, rejuvenated, and supported. Debbie has also brought free samplings of her amazing cookie brittle, “Sideways,” a gluten free, dairy free treat for wellness and feeling good.  Want more for yourself or to give as gifts? Contact her at muraff@comcast.net!!!

 

Thank you! – Thank you to all who shared and planted hope with us today.  And a huge thank you to the Chicago Park District for giving us the land to plant, and to our sponsors and participants for making this day possible:

GDFH logos

 

Why the Sunflower?

  • Sunflowers grow towards sunlight with their faces tracking the sun. We need those with depression to seek light instead of responding to the natural instinct of hiding in darkness during a depressive episode.
  • Sunflowers are yellow; the color of joy, happiness and hope—symbolizing that depression can be successful treated. iFred believes this symbol, if used similarly to the pink ribbon for breast cancer or red dress for heart disease, can serve as a much more hopeful and positive universal icon for depression survivors.
  • Sunflower seeds and oils contain antioxidants, Vitamin E and Omega 6’s. This kind of brain nutrition is incredibly important for those with depression.

JOIN US And Plant HOPE Around The World

Join us for Global Day of Hope by planting sunflowers on Saturday May 2 in support of the 350 million people living with the treatable disease of depression. The sunflower is the international symbol of hope for depression and Global Day for Hope seeks to amplify our mission to shine a positive light on depression and eliminate the stigma associated with the disease through prevention, research and education.

Sunflower Global Day for Hope Saturday May 2ndPlantings will take place all over the world, including Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, South America, Nepal, Germany and more! People from all corners of the globe are invited to join the movement by planting sunflowers in their own communities and uniting on social media in an empowering, international symbol of hope.

“People don’t talk about depression and we must change that,” iFred Founder Kathryn Goetzke said. “Depression is treatable and yet because of the stigma associated with it, less than 25 percent of people with diagnosable depression receive treatment. We need to turn the conversation to provide solutions and hope for children and adults who silently suffer from the disease.”

According to a report by the World Health Organization, suicide is a preventable mental health disorder that is treatable. And yet, because it is not significantly addressed, we lose over 800,000 lives annually, it is the second leading cause of death globally for youth ages 15-29, and is estimated to cost the United States alone over 100 billion dollars every year.

“Like so many other treatable medical conditions, support from family, friends and community can make all the difference to an individual fighting for a healthy life,” said Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, psychologist & physical therapist and author of Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. “We can all play a significant role in guiding our friends and loved ones to find and maintain hope by helping to address stress effectively, showing kindness and gratitude to one another and by stopping the unending search for perfection. Hope is a teachable skill and we all have the power to help someone close to us find purpose and positivity in life.”

The Global Day for Hope will be celebrated worldwide with sunflower plantings in communities, homes, public spaces and parks and there are many ways to participate:

  • Plant Sunflowers: Plant one, plant a garden, get friends and community involved and celebrate HOPE together.
  • Wear Yellow: Yellow is the color of the joy and happiness we feel when depression is successfully treated.
  • Share, Share, Share: Post, tweet, or share a photo on social media. Shine your light on hope and use the hashtags #HOPE2015 and #PLANTHOPE and be sure to tag us @ifredorg.

 

Teaching Hope: A Powerful Lesson

IMG_0958iFred’s recent project, Schools for Hope, launched this fall with fifth graders in the Chicagoland area. The curriculum aims to teach hope to students as a result of the disheartening statistic suggesting that one out of nine students attempt suicide before graduating high school, with forty percent of those being in grade school (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2011).iFred learned that research suggests that hope is a teachable skill and created the program with the intention of instructing each and every ten year old around the world useful tools for finding and maintaining hope.

Hopelessness is the number one symptom of depression and leading predictor to suicide (Association of Physicians, 2004) and suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is an issue that must receive our attention and action.

Our society has created a stigma surrounding mental illness and as a result individuals become isolated, feel ashamed, and do not seek treatment. This is no different with our children. It is evident we must educate on the importance of caring for our minds as we do for our bodies, and by doing so, we will encourage new generations to embrace mental health, provide people with the support and care that is currently lacking, and lead individuals to effective treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, prevention programs have been shown to reduce depression including school-based programs focused on enhancing cognitive, problem-solving, and social skills of children and adolescents. The Schools for Hope curriculum is designed to provide children with the tools to always find hope and promote the importance of caring for an individual’s emotional well-being.

It is important and necessary to understand the research, statistics, and learn about what we can do to create change and improve on in mental health education. However, after having the opportunity to observe firsthand the discussions that formulated in the classroom, I must add that the true gift and lesson was also given by the children. Hearing their thoughts, ideas, and insight on the importance of hope, was nothing short of inspiring, heartwarming, and a reminder of the impression we can make on young open minds.

By giving them hope, we empower new generations to enact change for the better. Scholastic agrees, and recently released an article written by teens in their Choices Magazine, educating teens on depression and offering treatment and support options. Editor Eva Rosenfield stated, “The stigma surrounding depression makes people feel like they can’t talk about it openly-or at all.  And in turn, these people are not getting the help they need.”

We can make a difference and save lives. Let us listen to the voices of our children and bring them a world where they always have love, support, compassion, and HOPE.

#teachhope #sharehope

A new article written by Penny Tate

Artwork Inspires a Message of Hope Among Students

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April 4th, 2014 was a day of true celebration.  Students gathered in the heart of campus at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte to witness the dedication of a beautiful piece of artwork.  But it is the powerful and inspiring message that the sunflower sculpture displays that will continue to touch the lives of all who view it.

The sunflowers stand to honor the 350 million who suffer worldwide from depression and other forms of mental illness.  With that honor, it serves as a reminder that no one student or person should ever have to stand alone.  Help and Hope are always available in our greatest time of need.  A plaque reads:

This sunflower sculpture is donated to the University in recognition for those suffering from depression and other mental illnesses.  The sunflower is yellow, the color of joy; it naturally grows toward the sunlight and likewise, this sunflower sculpture symbolizes turning away from the darkness and embracing the light.  Embrace the light that surrounds us, as no amount of darkness can overpower the light that is available to all.

The Graduate Team and the Inspiring Story Behind Their Project

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 Pictured from left to right:  Bhargavi Golluru, Chris Yoder, Paul Franklin, Samantha Howie, and Tim Seckler

Their passion came from the heart with each student having known someone or been impacted in their life in some way by mental illness.  When learning about iFred’s Field for Hope project, the team initially wanted to do a sunflower planting on campus to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma of depression.

Early into their project, they were met with their first obstacle.  A viable location did not exist for the planting or care of sunflowers.  The team did not give up hope!  Instead, they decided to engineer and construct a sculpture in the form of a sunflower.  This course of action opened up the opportunity for creating awareness and sharing the message with campus inhabitants, faculty and visitors year round.

They put in an incredible amount of time and effort to see the sculpture come to life in a matter of weeks.  The team posted fliers announcing the unveiling, as well as creating an event on social media to invite the student body, faculty, and visitors.  Please visit Artwork for Hope for a visual display of their creative process.

The Dedication

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 The entire team was present to welcome attendees and share the story of their project.  Sunflower pins and brochures were distributed near a bright colored sign displaying the message “Help Bring Sunshine Into The Lives of Others”.  Samantha Howie stated, “Our ultimate goal is to let those with depression know that they are not alone.  There is help available.”

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Melissa Marshburn from Cardinal Innovations and Penny Tate from iFred were proud to attend, speak, and personally thank the students.
Cindy Ballaro was so inspired by the event, she has plans to carry on the message with her own sunflower sculpture displayCindy-Ballaro at The Respite: A Centre for Grief and Hope.  What a beautiful way to deliver hope through the creative process of art.

iFred extends a heartfelt thank you to the following students on the “To Give Them A Choice” Team.  These individuals deserve the highest recognition for all of their hard work in shining their light.  Their vision was brought to a reality and will impact the lives of students, faculty, and visitors to come.

A new article written by Penny Tate

#sharehope #endstigma #shinelight

The Past, Present, and Future for Depression; A Perspective of Hope from Geneva

 

As I sit here at a crowded Starbucks in sunny Geneva Switzerland, preparing for the meeting tomorrow at the headquarters of the World Health Organization, I marvel at how far we have come in the field of mental health since my father’s suicide over 20 years ago.  In those days, we looked upon suicide as a poor choice a person made and simply did not talk about it.  Today, while we still have a long way to go, we are starting to understand that it is more than a choice; it is a complicated combination of life circumstances, chemical processes of the brain, genetics, and childhood trauma.

Last year I had the privilege of attending the discussion of the ground breaking resolution for the UN to make global mental health a priority throughout the world with a proposed Global Mental Health Action Plan.  On May 27th, 2013 the World Health Assembly adopted the “Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020“, putting the world on notice that mental health must be a priority.   I have the honor of attending the WHO follow-up conference tomorrow October 7th, during Global Mental Health week, to hear across the globe how member states and affiliated organizations are going to put the plan into action.

In 2004 when I began my work to end the stigma of depression through rebranding, less than 25% were receiving treatment leaving a full 75% of the world population untreated.  Last year, the World Health Organization statistics reported that the number untreated is now 50%, so while progress might not be evident it is improving.  These statistics bring me joy and gratitude that the tireless work of the people in the field of mental health, creating awareness and bringing services to the 350 million with depression, is not happening in vain.

That being said, there is much left to do.  Depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, yet it is treatable.  It is significantly underfunded and still highly stigmatized and there is much more to do to bring treatment numbers to 100%.

I encourage you to join us October 10th, Global Mental Health Day, to learn more about depression.  Join us in watching the free, live Global Web Screening of Hidden Pictures, the first feature documentary on global mental health.  Read and share information on mental health from organizations like Psyhcentral and Webmd with perspectives from both the medical profession and patients.  Or take the pledge to plant a virtual sunflower, showing your solidarity in our movement to bring dignity and respect to those living with depression.

Follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook community for posts throughout Global Mental Health week.  There is Hope.  Depression is treatable.  Share the word and help save a life today.

 

 

Fascinating Research on Getting the Most out of Art Therapy

There is such a great deal of  information on art therapy, it is becoming a new trend in treatment for patients with mental health issues.  I think it is FANTASTIC, as we are learning how to use alternative methods for improving our state of mind.  One thing that seems, to me, to be missing in all of the literature, is the benefit of creating something positive vs. negative vs. neutral and the overall effect on mood.

I write about this because our work is on rebranding depression, and often times in the art world brilliant artists create rather ‘dark’ images.  While I understand the need to express and am thankful this type of release is positive, what research is starting to show is that creating something positive is even more beneficial to mood and health than just expressing negative or neutral emotions. [Read more…]