Tennessee group raising awareness for mood disorders

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tuesday is World Mental Health Day acknowledging the importance of recognizing mood disorders and treatment.

To go in line with that Governor Bill Haslam, proclaimed Tuesday Depression, Bipolar, and Mood Disorder Awareness Day for the state of Tennessee.

If you stopped into any First Watch restaurant in the Knoxville area Tuesday, you might have seen the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) raising money and awareness.

“There’s just a prevalence of mood disorders in our society. Because of the stigma a lot of people don’t talk about what’s going on,” said Barbara J. Stephens, Counseling and Psychotherapy Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

That is exactly what DBSA says proclamations like Governor Haslam’s will help prevent.

Previous story: Gov. Haslam proclaims depression, bipolar awareness day in Tennessee

“I think we need to have more open and frank dialogue about these issues, and I think it’s a really big positive move for our community to be having these discussion,” Stephens said.

With 25 million people in the United States diagnosed with mood disorders, statistics show almost 90 percent of people have, or know someone who has, a mood disorder. If you think you might be one of those people it is easy to get help.

“Certainly seek out professional help, and be proactive about it. Don’t wait until things are so bad that it’s hard to come back,” Stephens said.

Looking for the right kind of help can make a big difference.

“Working with a psychiatrist that can prescribe the right medication. Meeting with a counselor on a regular basis is very critical, and certainly getting peer support in the form of a support group is very helpful,” Stephens said.

Ignoring the stigma and talking about what you are going through can make all the difference.

“It can not only improve the lives of individuals, but it can save lives,” Stephens said.

DBSA has a support group that meets every Wednesday night from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church. It is always open to anyone who wants to attend.

If you are looking for other resources or help, you can contact Barbara Stephens at (865) 888-9248 or by email at bjstephens61@yahoo.com.

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