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Physical & Mental HEALTH JOURNAL Spring 2016 s73 Depression is a serious med-ical condition that can hold you back from what you en-joy. And while no one knows for cer-tain what causes it, experts believe that depression results when certain chemicals in the brain are out of balance. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, relay messages from one brain cell to another. To increase aware-ness about depression and oth-er mental health conditions impacting African-American women and their families, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorpo-rated and the National Institute of Mental Health are collaborat-ing to address the Mental Health Across the Lifespan initiative. The Mental Health Across the Lifespan initiative, a multi-year collaboration between Del-ta Sigma Theta, NIMH, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Na-tional Institute of Child Health and Human Development, seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues impacting wom-en and their families, including bully-ing, depression and college students, postpartum depression, and suc-cessful aging. The initiative also aims to reinforce the importance of recog-nizing the signs of mental illness, and of seeking help and treatment from healthcare providers. NIMH and Delta Sigma Theta con-ducted an MHAL workshop during the 52nd National Convention in Houston, Texas on July 29, 2015. Men-tal health experts shared informa-tion about mental health with mem-bers of over 50 chapters, discussed the three modules for the initiative, shared mental health resources, and facilitated small group sessions with participants. The small group sessions al-lowed participants to review the ini-tiative’s modules, and to discuss strategies for launching the ini-tiative at the local chapter lev-el. In addition, identification of local mental health resources were discussed. Using the modules provid-ed, all chapters – alumnae and collegiate, are asked to imple-ment targeted community pro-grams on bullying, post-partum depression and/or depression and college students, success-ful aging, and to use the #DST-MHAL hashtag when promot-ing their MHAL initiative during 2015-2016. For further information chapters may visit the nation-al website to review and down-load the MHAL modules and re-sources. A final webinar on the initiative will also be conduct-ed in early December for those who were unable to participate on prior webinars and/or attend the Na-tional Convention workshop. s Delta Sigma Theta and NIMH Addressing Mental Health Across the Lifespan Initiative BY JOYCE JONES GUINYARD AND JACKIE E. WILLIAMS


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