Marlin at DeskThis spring, we are embarking on a new effort to erase stigma, empower family caregivers, and educate the general public on mood disorders. Our Spring 2016 webinars will include “lived experience” storytellers—caregivers and people with mood disorders telling their personal stories as part of our webinars on teen depression, bipolar disorder, and depression in adults. So, in addition to our expert clinicians, these people will provide their unique points of view and take questions live from the audience.

Lived experience matters because it resonates with us more than theories, statistics, and diagnoses on a piece of paper. When you hear someone’s lived experience, you know that mood disorders affect real people.

My lived experience is why I came to work for Families for Depression Awareness. The pain of losing Gary to suicide after his long, hard-fought battle with depression never goes away, but I have channeled that pain to help others by telling my story. When I connect with another suicide loss survivor or I talk to someone who is worried about their spouse’s mental health, I know that I am using my story to raise awareness of mood disorders.

I encourage you to register for one or more of our spring webinars to hear the stories of others who have been down the same road. The first scheduled event is our Teen Depression Webinar on March 1st, which features Sheila, a brave mother who lost a teenage son to suicide, as well as David and Emma, a father-daughter team whose family connection has stayed strong through the challenges of Emma’s chronic depression. We hope you join us.