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October is National Depression Awareness Month

Sad? Angry? Hopeless?

 When asked to describe the typical symptoms of depression, most people lean towards the emotional aspects, such as hopelessness, persistent sadness or irritability. Many times, however, depression can present itself in a series of physical symptoms.

 Headaches, back pain, muscle aches, chest pains, digestive system issues, extreme fatigue and sleep disorders can be a few of the physical symptoms of depression, a treatable condition that affects nearly 10 million Americans each year. Since many of these symptoms are also symptoms of other illnesses, it is easy to misdiagnose depression.

Ben Gordon Center ] invites you to take advantage of free, anonymous online mental health self-assessments for alcohol problems, depression, and anxiety disorders. Please visit The Ben Gordon Center Screening Tool to complete a simple online questionnaire. 

Mental Health First Aid Training

10313440_10152508379171320_796220119994379096_nNEXT SCHEDULED TRAINING

Thursday, October 16
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 Valley West Medical Office Building
, 1310 N. Main St, Sandwich

 The stigma surrounding mental illness often prevents people from seeking help or even acknowledging that they need help. And if they do want help, they don’t know where to turn.  Mental Health First Aid equips the public to help persons with mental illness connect to care.

You will learn
–The prevalence of mental illnesses in the U.S. and the emotional and economic cost.
–The potential warning signs and risk factors for depression, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorders.
–A 5-step action plan to help an individual in crisis connect to professional care.
–Resources available to help someone with a mental health problem.

TO REGISTER or for more information, please call Capri at 815-756-8501 or email

 $35 per person for training

Click here – to VISIT the National Mental Health First Aid website

DeKalb Police Department Drug Take Back

10696198_929113767152434_1599126704517656269_nThis Saturday, September 27th, from 10am – 2pm DeKalb PD will be holding their Drug Take-back event at the police department. Use this opportunity to clear out your home of unwanted, unused, and expired medications. If you can’t make it this Saturday, contact Community Relations Officer Chad McNett at 815-748-8439 to arrange a time to drop off your old medications. No liquids or sharps will be accepted. See you Saturday!


How to Be More Positive: A Simple 5 Day Challenge

Five days to more positivity.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your Mood

September 15-21 marks National Wellness Week. Approximately 20 million adults in the U.S. have a mood disorder such as depression or anxiety. While mood disorders should always be evaluated by a mental health professional, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to ease symptoms or keep them from reoccurring.

Healthy Diet

While you’ve heard that eating a healthy, balanced diet is good for your physical health, it can also benefit your mental health. Researchers in Australia studied the link between diet and mental health and found lower rates of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder among those who consumed a traditional diet of meat and vegetables than among people who followed a modern Western diet heavy with processed and fast foods or even a health-food diet of tofu and salads. In addition to cutting back on processed foods and junk food, certain foods provide mental health benefits including:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in brain function. When consumed, serotonin is released in the brain and helps to reduce mood swings and depression symptoms. They can be found in seafood, such as salmon, as well as flaxseed and walnuts.
  • Tryptophan: Tryptophan produces serotonin which is often low in those with depression. Tryptophan can be found in red meat, dairy products, soy, and turkey.
  • Vitamin B6: Individuals with depression often have low levels of Vitamin B6, which can be found in grains such as cereals, brown rice, and breads. Chicken, corn, eggs, legumes, nuts, peas, and sunflower seeds are also rich in B vitamins.
  • Green Tea: Green Tea is an incredibly rich source of antioxidants and contains an amino acid, theanine, that has been shown to provide an anti-stress relaxation benefit.

exerciseRegular Exercise
Physical activity is increasingly recognized as an effective tool to treat depression and anxiety, according to a recent study by the University of Toronto. Moderate exercise can prevent episodes of depression in the long term and also keep anxiety and depression from reoccurring. Thirty minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week can significantly improve depression and anxiety symptoms. But psychologists studying how exercise relieves depression and anxiety suggest that exercising for as little as 10 minutes can deliver several hours of relief. Benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Stress Reduction: Exercise slows down the release of stress-related hormones.
  • Self Esteem Boost: Doing something good for yourself, like exercise, makes you feel better about yourself.
  • Improved Sleep: Daily exercise can improve sleep quality and exercising consistently can provide improvements in sleep over time.

Just as exercise can improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, so can sleep. Evidence suggests that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared to those that sleep well. Depressed individuals may suffer from a range of insomnia symptoms including difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and daytime sleepiness. Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late.
  • Wake up at the same time every day. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. As with your bedtime, try to maintain your regular wake-time even on weekends.
  • Create a comfortable atmosphere. You want to make sure your room is conducive to sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using shades, ear plugs or a noise machine to help you sleep. Also, research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime can interrupt sleep.

Symptoms of depression and anxiety often occur during times of stress. Taking steps to reduce stress in your life and maintain a healthy lifestyle can improve your symptoms and keep them from reoccurring. It’s also important to remember that depression and mood disorders are not the same for everyone. Understanding how to make small adjustments in your life to positively impact your depression can help you cope. Talk with your doctor or therapist about how nutrition, exercise, and sleep fit in with your treatment plan.


Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, by Michael W. Otto, PhD, and Jasper A.J. Smits, PhD (Oxford University Press, 2011)

September is Recovery Month


September is The 25th annual Recovery Month “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” encourages people to openly discuss – or speak up about – mental and substance use disorders and the reality of recovery. It aims to foster public understanding and acceptance of the benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery from behavioral health conditions. The observance also promotes ways first responders, faith leaders, youth and young adults, and policymakers can recognize these issues and reach out to help others, as well as themselves.

Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.

National Recovery Month 2014

Upcoming Fall Mental Health Awareness Days

images (1)Fall is a busy time for Awareness Days and Mental Health.  Please make sure to mark all the following dates on your calendar and check back with the Ben Gordon Center website to see what activities are going on nationally and locally.  


October 6  Bully Prevention Day – WEAR Blue Shirt Day to stop bullying and cyberbullying. 

October 6 -10 Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 9  National Depression Screening Day

October 10 World Mental Health Day – Wear GREEN to Stop the Stigma

October 23 – 31  Red Ribbon Week