East meets West tackles depression

Above: East Meets West

By Charlotte Redman
Staff Writer

Are you or anyone you know suffering from depression? Do you wish you knew how to help? Attend East Meets West on Monday, March 10th from 7 to 9 P.M. at Westford’s Stony Brook Middle School to learn about the fight against depression. East Meets West is a free event that has been organized by Sustainable Westford and the Westford Health Department to provide information on treatments for anxiety and depression.

Sustainable Westford Founder Gloria Gilbert said, “According to medical research, one in five children has a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds and the sixth leading cause of death for 5 to 14 year olds [and] the number of attempted suicides is much higher. An estimated 19 million American adults are living with major depression. More and more children and adults are put on anti-depressant drugs [and] we want to educate those who are affected on the relationship between mental and physical healing.”

Due to the amount of people found to be suffering from anxiety and depression it has become important to educate and offer ways of healing other than medications prescribed by doctors.

According to Westford Health Department Director Sandy Collins, “Our hope is that attendees realize that the majority of those suffering do get better with some type or combination of treatments. Through the program they will be educated about options and hear about both natural and traditional ways to approach this illness. Those who come that evening will walk away with a heightened awareness of the scope of the problem, will be able to recognize if they or a family member are impacted and obtain valuable resources and considerations for treatment.”

In order to educate the community there will be a panel discussion as well as a question and answer session. The panel discussion will feature Dr. Alison Caldwell-Andrews, Helen Fu, CNC, CH, CNHP, and Dianne Walsh, LICSW.

Regarding the speakers Gilbert said, “I requested 2 of them [the speakers], Dr. Alison and Helen Fu because I believe Mind-Body Alt. Medicine is not well understood. The Director of the Health Department brought in Dianne Walsh because she co-leads a depression support group in Westford.”

According to The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, “Mind-Body Medicine focuses on the interactions between mind and body and the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social and spiritual factors can directly affect health.”

Speaker Helen Fu has experienced the wonders of Mind-Body Medicine directly, through saving her mom’s life for 18 years after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Helen Fu said, “What would you do for your mom? Saving [my] mom became my mission. I started to learn nutrition, Chinese herbs, and acupuncture… Then used my skills and knowledge to help [my] mom […] The doctors claimed it [her surviving] was a miracle.”

In addition to exploring Mind-Body Medicine the relationship between mental and physical healing medicine as well as natural remedies, psychotherapy, and drug therapy will be addressed during the panel discussion.

“Is our diet related to depression and other mental issues? Find out how to use food as your medicine and medicine as your food. Are there any other natural ways to reverse the condition? Explore the other many components that may help fight this terrible sadness,” said Gilbert.

The name East Meets West was chosen to highlight the treatments that will be discussed from both Eastern Medicine and Western Medicine. All members of the community are welcome to attend. Learn more about how to help those who suffer from depression and anxiety at this free event.

“Everyone has the right to feel good. When people are happier they lead better lives and everyone benefits including the community.  People are able to give more of themselves if they are happy,” said Fu.