Need Votes for $1.5 Million Depression Awareness Celebration with American Express

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The International Foundation for Research and Education (iFred) asks for your vote for a fantastic newly proposed depression project called Defying Depression: aLive iThrive. If it wins, this project will feature a live broadcast with various entertainers (suggestions include Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, etc.) and shine a positive, healthy light on this disease often seen in darkness. Depression is the number one disability worldwide and leading cause of suicide, and with your vote we can further our research on this epidemic and reduce negative stigma surrounding depression.

Kathryn Goetzke White, Founder

We spend billions on wars across the globe and I wonder when we are going to spend that kind of money finding peaceful resolutions to the wars going on in the mind. Depression has taken the lives of many way too early, wasted so many good years for others, and it is time we understand why and encourage people to get treatment so they can improve the lives of all.

The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred), is supporting a new project, Defying Depression: aLive iThrive, through the American Express Members Project, and needs your votes to win $1.5 million. aLive iThrive is a televised concert where artists and leaders publicly discuss depression, re-emphasize a suicide hot line, give depression a new color (green for renewal), and symbol (sunflower seeds for the field of hope). Please spread the word and tell everyone you know to vote at http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/KDL6WW, the first voting deadline is September 1, 2008.

Kathryn Goetzke White, MBA, Founder of iFred, President of Mood-Factory, and creator of this project has dealt with depression first hand through multiple depressive episodes and has been one of the lucky ones that has received treatment. "Depression is a daily struggle, and requires a lifestyle change with ongoing treatment. I know that every single thing in relation to my body affects my mental health including nutrition, exercise, laughter, hormones, sleep, alcohol consumption (or lack of it), prayer, sugar, and medication, to name just a few. We are proposing a concert so that we can share new information, treatment options, hope, a new depression 'brand', and famous musicians to share their music."

"I am continuously amazed at how few resources we put towards the brain, when it is the most complex organ in the human body. We are murdering ourselves more than others, yet we hide it under the rug, shadowed by shame. What is happening that is making us turn against ourselves?" asks Kathryn. "We spend billions on wars across the globe and I wonder when we are going to spend that kind of money finding peaceful resolutions to the wars going on in the mind. Depression has taken the lives of many way too early, wasted so many good years for others, and it is time we understand why and encourage people to get treatment so they can improve the lives of all."

The video portion of the aLive iThrive proposal features music by independent composer Anna Puccinelli, a graduate of Northwestern University, whose music has been featured on National Public Radio and the Weather Channel. Anna's debut CD, 'Elements', grew out of her own battle with depression. "I was 22 and basically drowning in sadness. I hadn't played the piano in at least a year. One day, in desperation, I sat down to play. As soon as my fingers touched the keys these songs came pouring out and it helped her healing process." With additional treatment, Anna found the courage and energy to publish these brilliant songs and share them with the world.

Depression is the leading cause of suicide and disability worldwide with over 120 million affected (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, 2002) and will be the second leading cause of global disease burden by 2020 (World Health Organization, 2007). Untreated depression can lead to issues such as eating disorders, addictions, obesity, self-mutilation, and suicide. Up to 80% of depression is treatable, yet less than 25% of people diagnosed are being treated. Depression costs Americans $83 billion in lost productivity annually (United Press International, 2006), and social stigma causes people to avoid seeking help when they need it (BUPA, 2006).

The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred), is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to researching causes of depression, supporting those dealing with depression, and combating the stigma associated with depression. Though several organizations deal with mental illness, few, if any, actually focus internationally on depression in an encouraging, enlightening way. To find out more, visit http://www.depression.org. To learn more about Anna Puccinelli and her music, visit http://www.annapuccinelli.com.

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Kathryn Goetzke White
iFred
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