January 10, 2012


Many of us fall into the New Year’s Resolution trap – making promises to ourselves we’re really not able to keep, and ending up disappointed.  For those of us working to manage depression, that can be a recipe for disaster.  Instead of setting ourselves up for failure with unrealistic expectations, we need resolutions that are positive and reachable, but no less meaningful when accomplished. On our Depression Toolkit we’ve provided some guidance for developing your own achievable depression-fighting resolutions for 2012.

Temperatures have dropped, and we have precious few hours of daylight to enjoy. The Michigan winter is here! For many people, shorter and darker days mean an increase in depression symptoms. For some, these symptoms result in Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Read on for more information about SAD and treatment options, brought to you by the Michigan Depression Outreach and Collaborative Care (M-DOCC) program.

Fans of pro football are familiar with the career Eric Hipple, who quarterbacked the Detroit Lions during the 1980s.  But they may be less familiar with Hipple’s struggles off the field, battling his own depression and coping with the suicide of his 15-year-old son in 2000. Visit our Depression Toolkit to learn more about Hipple’s “playbook” for getting well and staying well.

Hipple has made recent appearances at several southeast Michigan community events, including a suicide prevention meeting in Orion Township, and will be a featured speaker at a Community Parent event in Fenton on January 11.



School-based depression awareness program expands

Pictured: The 2010-11 P2P team from Roberto Clemente H.S.

The Peer to Peer Depression Awareness Campaign, a collaboration between the U-M Depression Center and Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS), has been expanded to include all six Ann Arbor public high schools, one Ann Arbor private high school, and Saline and Willow Run High Schools for the current school year. The P2P program was recently awarded renewed funding from the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), and students at these nine schools are currently developing depression awareness campaigns for their schools. A group of school counselors and social workers from Bowling Green, OH, also plans to submit a grant proposal to create a P2P program in their schools.

In addition, this year the Depression Center plans to offer another SafeTALK Training for Trainers to prepare additional AAPS staff to become certified SafeTALK trainers and help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program. SafeTALK suicide alertness “first aid” training helps people 15 years of age and older identify people with thoughts of suicide and connect them to community suicide resources.

Psychotherapy training part of new Depression Center initiative

The Frankel Program for Improved Access to Quality Mental Health Services for Youth and Young Adults, a new donor-funded Depression Center program, will offer a range of psychotherapy training opportunities designed for mental health professionals at U-M, within the Ann Arbor community, and throughout the state of Michigan. Training sessions begin this month. The Frankel training initiative is co-sponsored by the U-M Institute for Human Adjustment.

U-M Psychiatric Emergency Services expands capacity, adds privacy and safety features

Renovations to U-M Hospital’s Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) are part of recently unveiled UMHS Emergency Department upgrades that increase patient capacity and enhance arrival, waiting, and triage areas. The improvements to PES expand patient care space and add new features for patient privacy and safety. The unit provides round-the-clock services for individuals in need of immediate psychiatric care. Read more and view photos and video of the renovation.

Helping others may help with depression

Offering kindness to others, showing gratitude, and thinking optimistically may work as a form of depression therapy. A recent article on these forms of "positive activity interventions" in US News & World Report quotes Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., Depression Center associate director and a professor of psychiatry, who said “There's a lot of good research that shows these kinds of actions can have a positive impact on life. In general, people who help others stop focusing on their own pains and problems and worries and feel good about themselves."

In defense of the pursuit of discovery

Depression Center member Huda Akil, Ph.D., co-director of the U-M Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute and a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences, contributed commentary to the Washington Times on the importance of supporting the quest for new knowledge in science and technology, even in hard times.

Re-evaluating treatment protocols for eating disorders

David S. Rosen, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, and internal medicine and a member of the Depression Center, was quoted in a New York Times article about newer, more aggressive feeding regimens being evaluated for patients hospitalized due to anorexia.

Addiction may drive shoplifting behaviors

Kirk Brower, M.D., professor of psychiatry and a member of the Depression Center, was quoted in an Ann Arbor.com article that examined patterns in grocery store thefts, some of which may be explained by people stealing valuable items for resale to support an addiction.

Placebos and brain pathways

A study by Scott Y. H. Kim, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and a Depression Center member, was cited in a Miller-McCune article about the need to better understand the power of the placebo effect in evaluating the effectiveness of potential treatments.

‘Holiday blues’ a common phenomenon

Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., Depression Center associate director and a professor of psychiatry, was interviewed in a Huntington Woods-Berkeley Patch feature article about strategies for overcoming common stressors and staying upbeat during the end-of-year holiday period. Riba was also quoted in a Manchester Enterprise story about a recent Manchester, Michigan-area suicide and patterns of elevated anxiety and depression around the holidays.

Differences in perceptions of stigma

U-M Counseling and Psychological Services' (CAPS) college mental health survey finds that the stigma felt by students seeking counseling varies significantly by social identity (race/ethnicity, gender, etc.). The survey also found that more than one-fifth of students have had experience with counseling before arriving at college. Read the full survey results.

Mourning the loss of a community leader

Depression Center Executive Director John Greden, M.D., was quoted in an Ann Arbor Chronicle article that reflected on the life of a beloved local law enforcement leader, Chief Greg O’Dell, the challenges of his profession, and the stigma that persists around depression.


January 24: Bright Nights – Mood, Food, and Attitude: Metabolic Syndrome in Depression
Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown Branch

January 27: Depression Center Colloquium
New Advances in Telepsychiatry

February 17: Depression Center Colloquium
Suicide Risk Management

March 7-8, 2012: Depression on College Campuses Conference
Rackham Graduate School

March 11: Boy Interrupted documentary screening

A special screening and panel discussion to raise public awareness of bipolar disorder and benefit the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund. We thank Michigan Radio for their media sponsorship of this event.

April 20: Depression Center Colloquium
Management of Pain and Depression

We welcome suggestions about the content and format of this publication – please email lhutchen@umich.edu with your feedback.



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