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  Welcome to Depression Forums




Our mission is to create an atmosphere that is both supportive and informative in a caring, safe environment for our members to talk to their peers about depression, anxiety, mood disorders, medications, therapy and recovery.

Our vision is to advance the public awareness of mental health issues so as to eliminate the stigma that surrounds depression and mood disorders through education and advocacy, as well as striving to obtain quality medical care for mental health patients, as it is no different from any other medical illness.


Latest News

Be Aware: 3 Ways To Support Someone Suffering From Mental Illness

Have you ever felt ashamed about skipping out on a plan or event because of mental illness?

Gabi Garrett


I have.

Would the same apply if you had a health issue, such as a minor headache, instead of mild anxiety or heart palpitations? I’d say, probably not.

As someone who has struggled with anxiety for the past five years, it’s important for me to highlight the stigma that comes along with having mental health issues.

Mental illness has gotten a bad rep in popular culture.

Many shows portray the idea that if you have a mental health issue, you should be locked away from the public.

When Lana was trapped inside the fictional Briarcliff Mental Institution in “American Horror Story” for essentially choosing to be a lesbian, we saw how far the stigmas against mental illness have come, and how far we have to go.

It could be those with mental illness are shown to be locked away because the majority of the public can’t handle these issues.

How can we make it more natural to understand mental illness?


Published By Lindsay, 2015-10-11 20:38:04

How to Move on From a Seemingly Horrific Incident

Gregg McBride
Source: Gregg McBride

It wasn't so long ago that I was physically attacked while walking to the gym one morning. This was during a walk I had been making for over three years at the time—and although I knew the neighborhood I was living in was a bit on the "edge," I never expected anything like this attack to happen. Granted, it was very early in the morning (before 5 a.m.)—a time of day that I've since learned that (sadly) no one should be walking by themselves.

Still, I had always been cautious when out at such an early hour. And on the day that this incident happened, I could hear noise coming from two rowdy guys sitting on a curb in the middle of the block I happened to be on. Using common sense, I crossed the street (from the side they were on) and continued on my way. I didn't have far to go—only about two more blocks until I would reach the gym I belonged to.

When I noticed one of the guys running over to me, I could tell from his somewhat manic behavior that there was going to be trouble. These two guys were not vagrants and didn't even look to be criminal types. They did, however, seem to be very high on some kind of substance. The guy crossing over to me kept asking, "Where are we? Where are we?"


Published By Lindsay, 2015-10-10 18:20:55
Med & Health News

Depression and teens

Learning that your teen has depression can be terrifying for a parent – concerns range from getting the right treatment to general safety. It was estimated in 2013 that 8 percent of high school students attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And now, a reanalysis of data in The BMJ last week found that Paxil, one of the most prescribed antidepressants on the market, is ineffective and even harmful for treating major depression in adolescents.

The new findings are in contrast to the original study from 2001. Researchers of the original industry-funded study found Paxil, just one of a group of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, was safe and effective. The reanalysis showed that a number of adolescents from the original study did experience increased thoughts of suicide. But the suicidal thoughts were simply counted as generic adverse events and not clearly presented in the results.

For a long time, there have been some indications that these medicines may raise the rates of thoughts of self-harm in adolescents. This led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2007 to issue a “black box” warning about increases in suicidal thoughts. In December 2014, the warning was revised to state that attempts at self-harm decreased in patients ages 24 and older with anti-depressant use, but there was no change on the warning for adolescents.

During this nearly decade long discussion, most psychiatrists and many other mental health professionals felt that the warnings were too strict. As a result, they thought many teens were not getting the help that they needed – while others worried that these medicines were possibly harmful. 

What has followed in the wake of this latest reanalysis are stories in the press which have raised the issue of the safety and effectiveness of some antidepressant medications for adolescents.  


Published By Lindsay, 2015-09-24 15:23:31
Featured Topics

DEPRESSED IN THE CITY: 1 in 5 New Yorkers suffer from mental health disorders



DEPRESSED IN THE CITY: 1 in 5 New Yorkers suffer from mental health disorders, report says 

Thursday, November 12, 2015, 1:55 PM
For editorial use only. Additional clearance required for commercial or promotional use, contact your local office for assistance. Any commercial or promotional use of Bloomberg content requires Bloomberg's prior written consent. 

At least 8% of New York City residents suffer from symptoms of depression, a new report by the city Department of Health says.

We're the Big Blue Apple.

One in five New Yorkers have a mental health disorder, and at least 8% suffer from symptoms of depression, a new report by the city Department of Health says.

“Major depressive disorder is the single greatest source of disability in NYC,” the report says. "At any given time over half a million adult New Yorkers are estimated to have depression, yet less than 40% report receiving care for it.”


Published By Lindsay, 2015-11-13 17:01:31

Mental Illness Affects Everyone

Do you know that 1 in 4 Americans will suffer from some form of mental illness in any given year? Do you know that approximately 60% of adults, and almost 50% of youth, ages 8 -15,
with a mental illness received no mental health services in the previous year?
Do you know that serious mental illness costs the U.S. $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year?
Lenny Sanicola Headshot








Published By Lindsay, 2015-10-22 17:39:17

Celexa May Help Ease Alzheimer's-Linked Agitation

Study finds it might be safer alternative to standard antipsychotics


TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The antidepressant Celexa shows promise in easing the agitation people with Alzheimer's disease often suffer, and may offer a safer alternative to antipsychotic drugs, a new study finds.

"Agitation is one of the worst symptoms for patients and their families: it puts the Alzheimer's patient at risk for other system overloads (cardiac, infection), wears them out physically, and exhausts caregivers and families," noted one expert, Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

He said that while antipsychotic drugs are typically used to help ease the agitation, they are also associated with a higher risk of death for Alzheimer's patients, so safer alternatives would be welcome.

The new study was led by Dr. Constantine Lyketsos, director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center in Baltimore. It included 186 Alzheimer's patients with agitation symptoms such as emotional distress, aggression, irritability, and excessive movem




Published By Lindsay, 2014-02-19 18:21:07

In Honor of World Mental Health Day Here's My Mental Heath Story



That Is A Sign Of Mental Illness

Ingrid Vasquez
I remember the first time I knew something was wrong. I was in my junior year of high school when I thought about what would happen if I purposely fell down the stairs. I'd always been an overachiever, but being the year before college that really mattered, I wanted to escape from the pressure that I was going through in school. I didn't have bad grades, but I was struggling with school in a way that I was never used to doing so. I wasn't cutting myself. I didn't feel depressed. But I was willing to hurt myself. And that is a sign of a mental illness.

I remember I had asked to leave class early that day. I probably stood at the top of those stairs for about 10 minutes. I kept picturing myself wearing a cast in my arm and having to stay home for a week. I moved back and forth trying to figure out where the best place to fall from would be to cause just enough harm. Ultimately, those 10 minutes turned to seconds and the school bell rang. My chance had gone away.



Published By Lindsay, 2015-10-15 23:19:42
Member Testimonials
thanks, everyone! input like this really seems to help sooth me and calm my frantic alwaysover thinking head!
Forum Admin  Forum Admin

Eating-disorder patients battle insurers over care

Eating-disorder patients battle insurers over care

Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer
September 10, 2011

When Jeanene Harlick's weight dropped to 65 percent of normal, her doctors recommended the San Mateo woman go into an intensive residential treatment facility that specialized in treating anorexia and other eating disorders.

But her health insurer, Blue Shield of California, refused to cover her care - not because it wasn't considered medically necessary, but because her plan excluded coverage for residential treatment programs. Harlick spent almost 10 months in residential treatment, while her parents went hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt to cover the cost.

Harlick, now 37, later sued the insurer.

Getting treatment covered for eating disorders has long been a struggle for many of the 24 million Americans diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. Intensive residential treatment for eating disorders typically costs $900 to $1,200 per day.

In a significant ruling for those seeking residential treatment for mental health conditions, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with Harlick last month. The three-judge panel ruled Blue Shield's policy excluding residential treatment violates the state's 2000 Mental Health Parity Law, which requires certain serious mental health diagnoses, including eating disorders, to be covered at the same level as physical health.

Major victory for patients

"It's a landmark victory for those suffering with eating disorders," said Lara Gregorio, legislative policy program director for the National Eating Disorders Association. "So many families go bankrupt fighting this and still don't win. It sets a precedent for other states to follow suit."

But the legal battle is not over. On Friday, Blue Shield, which is based in San Francisco, filed a petition for a rehearing in front of the same appellate court panel. A lower court had ruled in favor of the insurer.

Blue Shield spokesman Stephen Shivinsky said the petition is based on "several significant errors in the opinion." According to court documents filed Friday, the insurer argued that state law does not require coverage for all medically necessary treatments and allows plans to set coverage limits.

Harlick's attorney, Lisa Kantor, described the appeal as "desperate" and is convinced the appellate court decision will prevail.

"The point of this decision is (insurers) have to provide all medically necessary treatments for severe mental illnesses," Kantor said. "When you exclude a critical modality of treatment such a residential treatment, you're not providing parity."

California has one of the strongest mental health parity laws in the country, but some argue that anorexia and other mental health conditions are still not treated as comprehensively as physical health, often because they are misunderstood.

While many patients with eating disorders can be treated on an outpatient basis, some patients need hospitalization or the constant supervision of a residential treatment center.

"Residential treatment is a key component of working on eating disorders," said Victoria Green, clinical director of New Dawn Eating Disorders Recovery Centers, which has a residential treatment center in San Francisco.

"You have hospitalization, which only stabilizes somebody medically, and we're the next level of treatment. We treat highly acute people who cannot function in the world," she said, adding that insurers either don't cover the care or authorize just a few days of treatment at a time.

Insurance dictates care

Dr. Neal Anzai, medical director of the eating disorders program at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, said his patients have to be "literally on the verge of death" to get hospitalized and then their insurance coverage often dictates how much care or what kind of care comes next.

"It's hard to get people into the hospital, but once they're there, there's a battle whether we can get them down to residential care or partial hospitalization," he said.

In Harlick's case, her insurer would cover hospitalization but not residential care.

Harlick had been battling anorexia and obsessive-compulsive disorder for more than 20 years when her doctors recommended a residential center in 2006. Harlick finally found a suitable inpatient facility in Missouri, where she stayed almost 10 months - from April 2006 to January 2007.

"The treatment I received helped me have a lot more compassion for myself. I do still struggle and am still working on it," said Harlick, who continues to battle with issues of weight and is on disability, but is working to finish her master's in social work at San Francisco State University.

"I'll keep on fighting, but I know if I haven't received the treatment I did, I would most likely be dead," she said.

Harlick said she wants her case to be successful to help other people receive the treatment they need. She also hopes it will legitimize anorexia as a mental illness, and not an obsession with weight and appearance as some people believe.

"It would just be extremely rewarding to think something a little good came out from my struggle because I still feel enormous guilt and shame," said Harlick, referring to her continuing condition as well as the unspecified amount of money her family spent for her treatment.

More than money involved

For Harlick's mother, Robin Watson, the money was the last thing on her mind.

"We were so desperate, we thought we were going to lose our daughter," said Watson, who lives in Burlingame. "We had to move and deal with the consequences later."

While Watson hopes to recoup the treatment costs, she said the three-year court battle has become about more than money. "It's about the discrimination insurance companies put on mental illnesses and the very little understanding they have about eating disorders," she said.

Kantor, Harlick's attorney, filed a petition last week in state Superior Court in Los Angeles for a class-action suit against Blue Shield on similar grounds.

"Jeanene was lucky. Her family knew they needed to take care of her," Kantor said. "I'm scared to find out what will happen to a lot of young women who had this policy and didn't have a family to support them. I don't know how many lives we've lost."

U.s. toll of eating disorders

-- About 24 million Americans have anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating disorders. .

-- Anorexia is characterized by self-starvation and weight loss. Binge eating and bulimia can involve behaviors such as vomiting, use of laxatives and excessive exercise.

-- More than 90 percent of sufferers are female, with most being diagnosed as teenagers.

-- Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental health diagnoses.

-- Health effects include fatigue, blood pressure problems, osteoporosis, electrolyte and chemical imbalances, and death.

-- Twenty-three states, including California, have enacted mental health parity laws that require insurers to cover eating disorders, but coverage requirements vary greatly.

Source: National Eating Disorders Association.

E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


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