Women's health forum to highlight depression

Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2005

Just in time for Juneau's late October blahs, the annual Women's Health Forum this Saturday will take on the weighty topic of health and depression.

The organizers chose the topic at the request of Juneau residents who attended previous Women's Health Forums. The event started eight years ago.

Almost any disease - especially the chronic ones - has a component that can generate anxiety and depression, says Dr. Maureen Longworth, an organizer of the event.

"The reason that it is so crucial is that people have different outcomes, even with the same disease, based on their attitude, their belief, their treatment," Longworth said. "The mind-body connection is very strong."

In her 20 years as a doctor, Longworth has discovered that patients who complain of "XYZ symptoms" often have a mood problem that is either holding the patient from healing or just feeling good.

Still, it's hard for people to admit depression, Longworth said.

The forum will be held at Centennial Hall from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday. It is free, and open to men as well as women.

The event begins with an open house, with more than 20 tables providing local health information, such as smoking cessation, nutrition and domestic violence.

A free lunch of butternut squash soup and black bean quesadillas will be served at 11:45 a.m. and the keynote speech by Susan Hedlund, a professional counselor from Portland, Ore., begins at noon.

Hedlund will discuss women, depression and "the hope for healing."

The rest of the afternoon will be devoted to four workshops. Attendees will pick one of the four, and there will be time afterward to revisit the informational tables.

The workshops include:

• Hedlund, teaching on "Dealing with Depression and Cancer."

• Longworth, teaching on "Mood and the Hormones: Energy Balancing Techniques for PMS, menopause and other mood fluctuations."

• Yoga instructor Kristin Mabry, on "Yoga for Mental Health." This session is limited to the first 20 arrivals.

• Professional counselor Jamie McLean, presenting "Women and Depression: Attending to the Neglected Self."



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