New Field of Hope for Depression Survivors

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In support of May’s National Mental Health Month and to kick off spring, the new nonprofit iFred – the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (http://www.depression.org) - is shining the light on depression survivors and inviting others to help by donating a seed to the 1st Annual Field of Hope. This field is in honor of those who are surviving or affected by depression. This year’s field will be planted May 31st in Goodland, Kansas and everyone is invited to buy a seed to ensure a bright and beautiful field for as little as $10 at http://www.thefieldofhope.org. All contributions are tax deductible, and at the end of the season you will receive a postcard of the sunny field and know that you have put money towards a cause that is working to create a better world for depression survivors.

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Sunflower oil is the 4th largest consumed oil in the world, and depression is one of the most widespread medical conditions

In support of May’s National Mental Health Month and to kick off spring, the new nonprofit iFred – the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (http://www.depression.org) - is shining the light on depression survivors and inviting others to help by donating a seed to the 1st Annual Field of Hope. This field is in honor of those who are surviving or affected by depression. This year’s field will be planted May 31st in Goodland, Kansas and everyone is invited to buy a seed to ensure a bright and beautiful field for as little as $10 at http://www.thefieldofhope.org. All contributions are tax deductible, and at the end of the season you will receive a postcard of the sunny field and know that you have put money towards a cause that is working to create a better world for depression survivors.

One in four people are affected by depression through family, friends, and coworkers, and one in ten people experience a major depressive episode every year. The World Health Organization has estimated that by the year 2020, depression will be the 2nd leading cause of health impairment worldwide. Depression is the leading cause of suicide and often co-occurs with other illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. It also is associated with addictions, eating disorders, and other forms of escapism that temporarily help people feel better. Unfortunately, despite the magnitude and severity of the illness, the stigma for depression and mental illness today is worse than it was 50 years ago.

Kathryn Goetzke White, founder of ifred, says “We have to change the way we look at depression and change the number of resources we are putting towards it. So many people take their own lives yet so little funding goes to the research, treatment, and prevention of depression. I am not a depression sufferer, I am a survivor, just as someone with cancer, heart disease, or arthritis is a survivor. The iFred Field of Hope is for all those people out there working hard to overcome their depression, as a symbol that it is not a hopeless condition, but one that can be treated with the positive visual that there are brighter days coming.”

Larry Kleingartner, President of the National Sunflower Association and member of the iFred advisory board, thinks the relation between sunflowers and depression survivors makes perfect sense. “Sunflowers are the most human like flower there is. The sunflowers, like humans, need air, water, nutrients, care, and space to flourish. They both grow towards the light and thrive in the sun. And yellow is the color of happiness. Depression survivors, when properly cared for and treated, move toward happiness.”

Kirsten Straughan, a member of the iFred advisory board, Registered Dietician and author of Fit Moms, Healthy Family, points out that there are many health benefits to sunflowers and sees the symbol as a positive connection. “Sunflower seeds are loaded with nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and fiber that assist in good nutrition – even in lowering cholesterol.”

Lynn Hoelting, Chairman of the Goodland Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees and General Manager of Mueller Grain in Goodland, Kansas, also likes the connection. “Sunflower oil is the 4th largest consumed oil in the world, and depression is one of the most widespread medical conditions,” he said. “I can imagine a lot of people will benefit from your use of the sunflower, including the oilseed suppliers like Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, roasters like CHS, Dahlgren and Sungold, and major manufacturers that use sunflower in their consumer products.”

John White, President of iFred, is energized to shed light on depression in the business world. “It is costing our corporations billions of dollars annually in lost productivity, ultimately affecting the bottom line. There are so many individuals not receiving treatment because of the stigma – they would rather tell their boss they committed a crime than they were dealing with depression. It is to everyone’s benefit when that changes – the companies, the individuals, and society as a whole”.

iFred was started by Kathryn Goetzke White last year when she was looking for a nonprofit to donate part of the proceeds of the Mood-lites product line she was about to launch. Kathryn lost both her father and her aunt to untreated depression both ending in suicide. She herself experienced multiple depressive episodes before getting treatment. Seeing a need to draw attention to depression and its treatment, she created iFred.

Note to editor: 1. iFred is asking for a $10 donation to plant a seed in the field of hope for you or your loved one (or as many as you would like). 2. iFred is looking for media to run public service announcements already created on http://www.depression.org or http://www.thefieldofhope.org. 3. iFred is looking for survivors that would like to step out of the shadow and share their stories of depression.

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Alisa Greenwood
iFred
410-268-0044
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