February 2016

                              Family to Family
              Three Courses Beginning Soon
We are delighted to announce 3 Family To Family Courses beginning soon:

                 Friday afternoons in Mashpee beginning mid March
              Wednesday evenings in Hyannis beginning early March
                 Monday evenings in Orleans beginning April 4.
If you would like to register for one of these classes, call the office at
Pass along this information to anyone you know who would benefit from this life-altering course.
We will be offering the full day Think:Kids workshop again  this spring.      Watch for more information next month.
Focus on Borderline Personality Disorder
Do you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around a family member? Or are you often asking yourself, "What just happened?" after an angry outburst? You are not alone. 

 These behaviors are often diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder
 (BPD), a common illness affecting almost 6% of adults.  Sometimes referred to as "Emotional Dysregulation," people with BPD have problems regulating their emotions and thoughts which can lead to severe, unstable mood swings. They may also demonstrate impulsive behavior, have a poor self-image and have a history of unstable relationships. Often referred to as "splitting", someone with BPD may idealize a person one day, "He's everything I ever wanted!" and devalue them the next, "I hate him."
People who have BPD feel emotions intensely and for long periods of time. According to the NEABPD, one area the current research is focused on is how individuals with this illness have an inability to calm themselves after a stressful or emotional situation. Self-harm, such as cutting, suicide threats and attempts are tragically very common for people with BPD.
In a 2007 study funded by the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), 85% of people with BPD also suffer from another mental illness such as major depression, substance abuse, bipolar illness and self-injury. As a result, many people are not treated for BPD and the symptoms of self-harm, uncontrollable anger, irritability and intense insecurity continue in spite of medication changes and hospitalizations. 
Because both are mood disorders and the symptoms overlap, it is common for someone with BPD to be misdiagnosed with bipolar illness; however, there are important differences between these disorders. One difference is that with bipolar illness the mood changes generally last weeks or more.  With BPD, the mood changes are much quicker, often fluctuating within a 24-hour period.
According to the NEABPD, those who seek treatment and remain actively engaged often respond well and find their lives dramatically improved. Dialectical Behavior Therapy developed by Marsha Linehan specifically to treat BPD, is the most common form of treatment and involves individual skill training and group therapy.

          Announcing A New Course... 
For several years Rocky and I have been state trainers and teachers of Family to Family. For us, F2F was a life changer. We have also witnessed how profoundly helpful the program is for families and truly believe in F2F, NAMI's flagship educational program.
But over the years we have also grown conscious of what is missing from the material as well as how frequently we heard "what is next" at the end of every course.
There are two areas F2F touch on that participants often feel they want more instruction and information. One is how to better communicate with their ill relative. To address children and adolescents NAMI Cape Cod and The Islands sponsors Collaborative Problem Solving (Think: Kids), but it does not address families dealing with adults. The second is more information specific to borderline personality disorder. We have had many F2F participants struggling to help a loved one with BPD or someone with significant borderline features that severely impact their lives. More common than schizophrenia, it is a major mental illness which is marginally covered by F2F.
In an attempt to find evidence based programming to meet this need, Rocky and I became trainers of a course designed by Alan E. Fruzzetti, Ph.D. and Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D. for the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder. Dr. Fruzzetti led our training. Called, Family Connections, it is a 12 session series for relatives of persons with difficulty managing their emotions. Regardless of the diagnostic "label", rapid mood swings, anger issues, relationship problems, impulsivity and self injury are challenging to observe and deal with in a loved one.
Family Connections is focused on acceptance of "what is" in our lives and our loved one's lives with the objective of making our lives a little less stressful. The course also teaches skills to manage our emotions and our relationships. A significant part of the course is focused on learning and applying dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
There is a waiting list for the course starting in March. Call or email the office if you are interested in a future class.
Deb Rausch

The High-Conflict Couple: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation  by Alan E. Fruzzetti Ph.D. (Author), Marsha Linehan (Foreword)
Like the Family Connections course, in Dr. Fruzetti's highly successful book, High Conflict Couples he describes how using dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) skills can help couples deal with out-of-control emotions that lead to destructive fights and difficulties resolving problems. Also similar to the NEA-BPD course he incorporates the importance of using mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques to deescalate situations before they get out of control. Through years of working with couples dealing with these challenges, Dr. Fruzzetti provides ways to find acceptance and closeness with someone you love.
Book reviewed by Deb Rausch

              From McLean Hospital 
                  A Harvard Medical School Affiliate           
                  Understanding Self Injury
                       How to Be Helpful
                        Free Webinar
                  Wednesday, March 2, 2016
                                   4:00 PM

Dr. Hollander will discuss self-injury and review strategies for family members of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. Webinar participants will be encouraged to ask questions.

Michael R. Hollander, PhD
Director of Training, Senior Consultant, McLean 3East Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, Part-Time


We can learn a lot from experts in the field of mental health. But sometimes, hearing from a peer - or someone who has experienced struggles and successes personally - can be even more meaningful. For this reason, Families for Depression Awareness is pleased to announce the first free webinar of our spring Lived Experience series! 
   Tuesday, March 1st
         7-8:15 PM
This free webinar is designed for teens, parents, teachers, school counselors and staff, youth workers, and anyone interested in teen mental health. If you know someone who would benefit from this program, please help us spread the word!  Forward this webinar information to a friend!
Families for Depression Awareness  is a national nonprofit organization helping families recognize and cope with depression and bipolar disorder to get people well and prevent suicides. Our organization provides education, outreach, and advocacy to support families; we offer workshops and resources to help employers address mental health issues in the workplace; and we strive to eradicate the stigma associated with mood disorders

"Why Doesn't My Loved One Think He's Ill?"

Anosognosia--It's A Real Illness

Anosognosia - "lack of insight" or "lack of awareness" - is believed to be the single largest reason why individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not take their medications. A result of anatomical damage to the brain, it affects approximately 50% of individuals with schizophrenia and 40% of individuals with bipolar disorder. When taking medications, awareness of illness improves in some patients.
Impaired awareness of illness is a strange thing. To others, psychiatric symptoms seem so obvious it's hard to believe the person experiencing them is not aware he/she is ill. Oliver Sacks, in his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, noted this problem: 
"It is not only difficult, it is impossible for patients with certain right-hemisphere syndromes to know their own problems.... And it is singularly difficult, for even the most sensitive observer, to picture the inner state, the 'situation' of such patients, for this is almost unimaginably remote from anything he himself has ever known."
Reprinted from the Treatment Advocacy Center
  The Treatment Advocacy Center is the only national nonprofit focused exclusively on eliminating legal and other barriers to treatment for people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.            


In Our Own Voice Training

What's your story?
The only shameful thing about mental health conditions is the stigma attached
to them. Stigma leads to isolation, misinformation and all too often prevents
sufferers from seeking help. Stigma is rooted in silence and silence feeds
stigma. When we share our stories, we break that cycle. By speaking up, we
show others that they are not alone; that things can get better; that help is
available; and that recovery is real.
NAMI's In Our Own Voice (IOOV) program is a presentation in which two
trained presenters each share their personal experience living with a mental
health condition. In 2015, over 5,000 people across Massachusetts saw an
IOOV presentation. We want to keep growing and educating the community,
but we need your help. Use your story to shine light into the darkness.

We're currently accepting applications for our free IOOV presenter training on the
Cape. The 2-day training will be on Saturday, March19 and Sunday, March 20
from 9am-5pm in Hyannis,MA. Apply soon, the training will fill up quickly!

If you want more information or are interested in applying please call Eliza at 617-580-8541 ext. 221 or email: ewilliamson@namimass.org
Dance In the Rain... 
Dance in the Rain Whole Person Approach Peer to Peer Services and NAMI Cape Cod & The Islands launched  their collaborative peer and family program
"Bridging the Gap".
This program is designed for peers and family members to begin dialogue, heal and find unique solutions families face when there is a mental health challenge within the family unit. ( A peer is a person who has mental health challenges.  When we engage with each other that is the term we use.) The unique conditions of this illness can put tremendous stress upon the family unit causing 'gaps' or difficulties.
Dance in the Rain designed a unique approach for family members and peers to begin dialogue about the difficulties faced. Family members and peers can anonymously ask those difficult questions, things they worry or are concerned about and share experiences. In return the group offers varied perspectives to these questions. Because of the diverse levels of experience and healing on both the family and peers part the dialogue is very engaging.
Bridging the Gap is offered the second Tuesday of every month  from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at the Dance in the Rain Office 145 Barnstable Rd. Hyannis.
Come as a family or by yourself. Join the dialogue of healing and strengthening the family unit.
  Challenging stigma through the artists eye".
Dance in the Rain is seeking artists for our upcoming Mindset IV Art Event at the Guyer Barn.  We are looking for artist who are peers, family members, providers, basically anyone whose life has collided with this illness.  The event is Saturday May 21st.  All mediums are welcome.
Offering works from a diverse population who have been affected by mental illness allows us to present the many perspectives of the collective artists.  You can read more about it on our website under the events page (Mindset) and see videos from the past three events. 
Art sometimes speaks the words we cannot express.

Mary E. Munsell
Founder/ Executive Director/Peer
Dance in the Rain Whole Person Approach

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At the West Falmouth Library

The Challenge of Mental Illness for Individuals and Families
                 Thursday, March 31 @ 4pm. Free.
Author B.C. Scott, will share her story and the process of writing her book, Knockabout, Mental in Massachusetts and Jackie Lane, Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Cape Cod will share information about this non- profit organization serving the families and friends of people with mental illness. For more information about NAMI Cape Cod go to  www.namicapecod.org
B.C. Scott's book will be available for sale and signing.

Save The Dates
  • Membership Meeting - Thursday, March 24 - More info will be sent to members
  • Advocacy Day at the Massachusetts State House on Friday, April 8, 2016  10 am - 2 pm  Featuring keynote speaker Congressman Joe Kennedy III
  • NAMI Walks along the Charles River at DCR's Artesani Park on Saturday, May 14, 2016


Inclusions in the Newsletter
We have recently been asked for last minute inclusions of events in our newsletter.  We have instituted a new policy:  It is at the discretion of the Executive Director to determine whether content being submitted for distribution to the membership is aligned with our mission.  If the content is determined to be appropriate, it may be included in the monthly e-newsletter if it is submitted prior to the first of the month.