The American Red Cross hosted a reconnection workshop for military families focusing on identifying depression, Dec. 2.

The workshop was conducted in a classroom-like setting as an open discussion amongst the attendees on Marine Corps Air Station New River. The participants shared their connection between the reasons for being there and their professions whilst the facilitator tied in the factors pointing to depression and the actions they can take against depression.

"This work shop is not a therapy session," said Dawn Schulze, services to the armed forces reconnection workshop facilitator. "This is a psychoeducational group where we do activities with the group members using a handout. The first thing we do is define depression and we recognize it in ourselves so we can recognize it in others."

Schulze began the discussion with a quote from Carlos Jung, a physiatrist, ‘The word happiness would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.’ Schulze then explained that depression is a chemical imbalance and fighting depression requires restoration of that balance though various activities with exercise being the most effective method.

"I was interested in ways for individuals to address depression in family members and friends who are suffering," said Patty Kotora, a combat casualty visiting nurse. "This experience was very helpful because it reinforced what I have already learned, but also clarified ideas about balancing depression and its involvement in real life situations."

Kotora works with Marines that have combat injuries and with those Marines’ families in adjusting to their Marines life and necessities.

"I was interested in ways for individuals to address depression in family members and friends who are suffering," said Kotora. "As a nurse, I want to be able to recognize symptoms in the Marines and in their family members, and want to be able to teach them signs they can watch out for. As a military spouse, I want to know those signs and symptoms as we navigate deployments and other challenges of this lifestyle."