Category Archives: Events

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Join DeKalb CSB at NAMI Walks 2016

Join the DeKalb CSB Team at NAMIWalks

NAMIWalks Georgia – 5K
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Grant Park, Atlanta
11:00 am
(Check In: 9:00-10:45 am)

DeKalb CSB is a proud sponsor and supporter of the 2016 NAMIWalks Georgia! NAMIWalks is NAMI’s largest and most successful mental health awareness and fundraising event in the country! Through NAMIWalks public display of support for people with mental health challenges, we are changing how Americans view mental illness.

We are inviting all DeKalb CSB staff, family and friends to join together as we improve lives and our communities one step at a time. Join the DeKalb CSB Walk Team  and help stomp out stigma!

Click here to register today and join the DeKalb CSB Walk Team!
Click here to learn more.
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Psychosis Early Intervention: From Bench to Practice Recap

Psychosis Early Intervention: From Bench to Practice

Saturday, March 19, 2016
The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia’s first ever conference dedicated to highlighting the emerging science of psychosis early intervention for youth was held at the Carter Center in March, 2016. Hosted by DeKalb CSB’s CEO, Dr. Joseph Bona, this conference featured some of the top researchers in the country who reviewed the latest scientific findings in this developing area of early schizophrenia and psychosis. If you would like to learn more about Psychosis Early Intervention, view the videos below or on YouTube.

DeKalb CSB’s Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEIP) strives to reduce the duration of untreated schizophrenia in youth or those considered at high risk for developing psychotic illnesses. The surveillance and monitoring program identifies youth at ultra-high risk of developing schizophrenia before they experience their first psychotic break. “This program is imperative to stop individuals from being permanently disabled for the rest of their lives,” shares Rachel Weissman, Team Lead of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program. “A lot of things get taken away from those with schizophrenia, and we want them to have happy and successful lives in whatever way that means for them.”



Program Agenda & Highlights

8:30-8:45 a.m. Welcome: Joseph Bona, MD. Adjunct Associate Professor, Emory University Department of Psychiatry. Chief Executive Officer, DeKalb Community Service Board.

8:45-9:45 a.m. Stress and Neuromaturational Processes in the Prodrome to Psychosis – Elaine Walker, PhD. and Samuel Candler Dobbs, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Emory University Department of Psychology.

9:45-10:45 a.m. The Impact of Premorbid/Adolescent Marijuana Use on the Age at Onset of Psychosis and Other Early-Course Feature- Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH Professor of Psychiatry, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine Chairman, Lenox Hill Hospital Department of Psychiatry

11:00-12:00 p.m. Treatment Engagement Strategies in First Episode Psychosis: What does the evidence say?- Robert Cotes, MD Assistant Professor, Emory University Department of Psychiatry Clinical Director for Treatment Resistant Schizophrenia Clinic

12:00-12:30 p.m. Panel & Q&A with Morning Speakers

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Potential Markers of Risk and Early Interventions to Prevent Conversion to Psychosis- Joseph McEvoy, MD Professor, Department of Psychiatry Augusta University/ Medical College of Georgia Clark Case Chair in Psychotic Disorders

2:30-3:30 p.m. Organizing a Psychosis Early Intervention Program in the Public Sector: Lessons Learned- Joseph Bona, MD, MBA Adjunct Associate Professor, Emory University Department of Psychiatry Chief Executive Officer, DeKalb Community Service Board.

3:30-4:30 p.m. Kindling for a Growing Fire? Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and High-Risk Psychosis- Brian Miller, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry Augusta University/ Medical College of Georgia

4:30-5:00 p.m. Panel & Q&A with All Speakers


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Management of Depression

Management of Depression by Dr. Paul

Depression is a serious and debilitating illness that the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around 350 million people suffer from, yet the cause remains unknown. This makes Depression the second leading cause of disability worldwide. It is important to diagnose and treat depression at the earliest sign. If left untreated, Depression impairs social, family, and work life; and worse can lead to death by suicide.

Depression can be a part of many psychiatric conditions; the most common one is called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). It contains other symptoms in addition to being sad or depressed. In the common media, the terms depression and major depressive disorder are used synonymously. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM V) lists the following symptoms for MDD namely:


DSM- V Symptoms for Major Depressive Disorder :
  1. Depressed mood most of the day, almost every day, indicated by your own subjective report or by the report of others. This mood might be characterized by sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness.
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day nearly every day.
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain.
  4. Inability to sleep or oversleeping nearly every day.
  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day.
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day.
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a   specific plan for committing suicide.




While the exact cause of depression is unknown, it is believed to be a result of complex interaction between one’s environment and one’s genes. Any factor increasing stress like trauma, abuse, injury, loss of job, death in family, divorce, alcoholism etc. can increase the risk of depression. Also medical conditions like anemia, thyroid problems, cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases can predispose one to depression. Also people with pessimistic personality types are more prone to depression. Loneliness and lack of social contact, especially among the elderly in the industrialized countries, is a risk factor for depression.
The good news is that the treatment of depression is an intense field of research. We now have many evidence based treatments available. Two commonly used treatments are psychotherapy and psychotropic medications. Psychotherapy, or counseling, can be used with benefit in mild to moderate depression. Several types of therapy options are available namely cognitive behavioral therapy, psycho dynamic psychotherapy, and interpersonal therapy. The success of therapy depends on finding the right fit between the patient’s needs and therapists’ expertise.




Severe depression requires the use of combination treatment using therapy plus medication or use of one or more psychotropic medications called the antidepressants. Commonly used psychotropic medications work through serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine pathways. One popular class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) like Prozac and Zoloft increases the availability of serotonin in the brain. Another group called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) like Effexor and Cymbalta increases the availability of norepinephrine in the brain. For many who don’t improve with one anti-depressant may need an adjunct medication like the antipsychotics. The psychotropic medications can cause serious side effects and should only be taken after weighing the risks and benefits in consultation with a psychiatrist.


Natural remedies like exposure to bright light or sunvangogh has shown to improve the mood. St John’s Wort or hypericum extracts also helps with depression. Other lifestyle changes like regular exercise, healthy diet, mindfulness and adequate sleep can also boost mood and alleviate depression. However, in spite of all the above, about one third of patients continue to suffer from one or more symptoms of depression despite trying different medications. For them, more aggressive treatment modalities like Deep brain stimulation, Electro-convulsive therapy, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Vagus Nerve Stimulation, and Ketamine might be considered.


Depression is a complex and heterogeneous entity. Each patient is depressed for his/her unique condition. What works for one person may not work for the other. Thus having more treatment options is better.  The art of medicine comes in finding the right treatment match for the particular patient. In summary, depression or major depressive disorder is a serious illness which can cause disability and death. Early diagnosis and treatment can save lives. Many treatment options exist. If you suffer from any of the symptoms of MDD, consult your clinician and seek appropriate help.


dr_paul.7Dr. Panchajanya Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, is an American Board certified - Child, Adolescent, and Adult psychiatrist. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. He holds adjunct faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine; University of Georgia & Georgia Regents University, and University of Central Florida School of Medicine. He is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), 2013, by American Psychiatric Association.
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Shift Work Challenges to Health and Wellness

Anyone that has ever done shift work knows how disruptive these variable shifts can be to a person’s well-being and overall health. In one study, researchers in Denmark found that women who worked night shifts were up to four times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who didn’t work nights. With about 22 million Americans involved in shift work across various sectors, finding the optimal sleep schedule can be a catch-22 situation since shift workers typically face two challenges: sleeping during the daytime and being wakeful during the nighttime. Both are contrary to natural circadian rhythms, which are the product of millions of years of evolution during which humans have stayed awake during day and slept at night. The modern assault on this sleep-wake cycle (also called the circadian rhythm) may have dire health consequences and research suggests that shift work, especially night work, has been associated with increased risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, substance abuse problems, and more.


Coffee cup


Other medications like stimulants, sedatives, and hypnotics, are used to correct the side effects from a disrupted sleep-wake cycle but term need careful oversight of a doctor due to adverse side effects. Melatonin, on the other hand, restores and increases sleep while being a safe and non-addictive choice, both for short and long term use. Another way promote sleep is to create an environment that is conducive to restful sleep by improving the body’s natural Melatonin production by avoiding bright screens and lights at night. This can be done by minimizing blue light found from TV, computer, phone, and tablet screens and keeping the room dark at night.




Research also suggests that night shift workers are more likely to sleep less, work more hours, drive drowsy at least once a month, and have poorer overall health when compared with non-night shift workers.  Fatigue related to shift work and sleep deprivation has been attributed to industrial disasters like  nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania in 1979, and Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986. In summary, shift work is disruptive to our sleep and well-being. Unless one is careful and take steps to mitigate the sleep disruption caused by shift-work, one may endanger his well-being and the safety of others. If you do shift work and your sleep and well being remains compromised after all your efforts, consult a doctor.

dr_paul.7Dr. Panchajanya Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, is an American Board certified - Child, Adolescent, and Adult psychiatrist. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. He holds adjunct faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine; University of Georgia & Georgia Regents University, and University of Central Florida School of Medicine. He is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta.

You can contact the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at 1-800-35-NIOSH for more information on your rights and options. NIOSH also provides training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours which can be assessed at

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New Life Community Church 1-edit

With One Accord Community Event

The DeKalb Community Service Board had the pleasure of participating with other community leaders at With One Accord Community Event held at New Life Community Church on July 10th with Pastor Marlon Harris. With One Accord Community Event is a collaboration of local churches, political official, entertainers, professional athletes, and community members unified under the agenda to restore education awareness, wealth protection and advancement to black communities.

Ashunte Claybrooks, Brenda Cibulas and Major K.D. Johnson DeKalb County Police Department, South Precinct.

Attendees from DeKalb CSB included Dr. Joseph Bona– CEO and Chief Medical Officer, Brenda Cibulas- Chief Clinical Officer, and Ashunte Claybrooks- Center Director for North Mental Health Center. The representatives worked together with local political officials, law enforcement, and other leaders in our community to help gain educational awareness. Long time DeKalb county resident Ashunte Claybrooks also spoke at the event and informed the attendees of DeKalb CSB’s presence and work within our community. Claybrooks challenged attendees to decrease the stigma in the African American community regarding mental health.

DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) is an innovative, community-based behavioral health and developmental disabilities services organization located in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, offering a full range of mental health services, developmental disabilities programs and substance abuse treatment to more than 11,000 citizens annually who are uninsured and under insured. As a public, not-for-profit organization, the DeKalb CSB operates more than 20 locations in DeKalb County with a diverse workforce of more than 500 direct-care and support staff.




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Notice of Budget Public Hearing & July Board Meeting Announced

DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) will conduct a public hearing on the agency budget.  Interested parties who would like to comment on the budget can do so either in person or in writing.

The hearing will be held on July 14, 2016, at 6:00pm at the DeKalb Community Service Board, 445 Winn Way, 4th Floor, Room 421,  Decatur, GA  30031.  Those requesting to make comment must sign in.  Written comments should be mailed by July 10, 2016 to:

DeKalb Community Service Board
Attn:  Marianne Wilson
445 Winn Way, 4th Floor
Decatur, Georgia  30030

The July 21st  board meeting of the DeKalb Community Service Board is open to the public for those who are interested in services for mental health, addiction and developmental disabilities. The meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at 445 Winn Way, Room 421, Decatur, GA 30030.

The Advocacy Committee meeting will be held in the same room at 3:00 pm and is also open to the public.

The Audit, Finance and Compliance meeting will be held in the same room on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm and is also open to the public.

For those with disabilities in need of assistance or accommodations to participate in the meeting, please notify Community Relations at (404) 508-7875.

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Telemental Training Atlanta 8/20/16

Registration Now Open! TeleMental Health Treatment & Ethics Training

TeleMental Health Treatment and Ethics:
What Clinicians Need to Know

Saturday, August 20, 2016
9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Jeff Ashby, Ph. D., ABPP
Bohan Auditorium, 445 Winn Way Decatur, GA 30030

Six (6) CEU ‘s approved for through the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work.

Register today for the TeleMental Health Treatment and Ethics Training sponsored by DeKalb Community Service Board.

Dr. Jeff Ashby, Director of Georgia State University’s Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program will use case examples, discussion, and lecture, to help participants gain an understanding of the appropriate treatment and ethics associated with telemental health services.

As a result of this workshop, participants will:

    • Understand the treatment of internet dependency and related psychological problems.
    • Become familiar with the research related to telemental health services.
    • Learn the protocol for appropriate intake and informed consent.
    • Understand the various delivery methods of telemental health.
    • Become familiar with the theory integration needed to provide telemental health services.
    • Learn the protocol for appropriate treatment and termination using these services.
    • Understand the ethics and risk management strategies in telemental health.
    • Become familiar with the best practices in the business of telemental health.

>>> Learn More

Registration Details

Registration Fee – $65
$20 late fee after August 12th.
No cost for DeKalb CSB employees.

For additional information contact:
Teiresias Jones

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MHM 2016 Social Media Images-Twitter Profile

Do You Know What Mental Illness Feels Like?

We often hear the clinical terms used by doctors and other professionals to identify the symptoms of mental illnesses…but if someone hasn’t gone through it, would they know how to recognize it?

So often, clinical terms don’t do justice to what life with a mental illness feels like. We know that two people with the same diagnosis can experience the same symptom and describe it in very different ways. Understanding the signs of a mental illness and identifying how it can feel can be confusing—and sometimes can contribute to ongoing
silence or hesitation to get help.

It’s important for people to talk about how it feels to live with a mental illness. We know that mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. But not everyone knows what to look for when they are going through those early stages, and many simply experience symptoms differently. We all need to speak up early—Before Stage 4—and in real, relatable terms so that people do not feel isolated and alone.

This May is Mental Health Month; DeKalb Community Service Board is raising awareness of the importance of speaking up about mental health, and asking individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like by tagging social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posting with our hashtag is a way to speak up, to share your point of view with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through—and to help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

Life with a Mental Illness is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need. Whether you are in Stage 1 and just learning about those early symptoms, or are dealing with what it means to be in Stage 4, sharing how it feels can be part of your recovery.

DeKalb CSB wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, that recovery is always the goal, and that the best prospects for recovery come when we act Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4).

Addressing mental illnesses B4Stage4 means more than burying feelings and refusing to talk about them, and waiting for symptoms to clear up on their own. B4Stage4 means more than wishing that mental health problems aren’t real, and hoping that they will never get worse. B4Stage4 means more than thinking that someone on the edge of a crisis will always pull himself or herself back without our help, and praying that someone else will intervene before a crisis occurs.

B4Stage4 means, in part, talking about what mental illnesses feel like, and then acting on that information. It means giving voice to feelings and fears, and to hopes and dreams. It means empowering people as agents of their own recovery. And it means changing the trajectories of our own lives for the better, and helping those we love change theirs. So let’s talk about what life with a mental illness feels like, to voice what we are feeling, and so others can know they are not alone.

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Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2016

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is May 1 – 7, 2016.  Join DeKalb CSB and The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health as we raise awareness about the importance of prevention and early identification of mental health challenges in youth. This year’s theme is “Healthy Families, Resilient Children: Mental Health is a Family Affair!”

Nearly 1 in 5 children suffer from a mental health challenge.  Join us in helping to reduce the stigma associated with children’s mental health.


As national events continue to illuminate the critical need for mental health care reform in this country, we must increase our efforts to educate the nation about the importance of prevention and early identification of mental health challenges. As a nation, we are vigilant about ensuring that our citizens know basic first aid techniques, understand the importance of smoke detectors, and can recite the techniques of “stop, drop and roll” but we fail to educate ourselves about the signs and symptoms of mental illness.

We must also highlight the fact that children are an integral part of a family unit and create an understanding among policy leaders and practitioners that healthy families are better equipped to support resilient children. Legislation, policies, and practices must fully endorse the undisputed importance of full family engagement and participation in the care and treatment of their children. Further, we must advocate for a holistic approach to children’s mental health that includes the provision of supports that strengthen the family as they nurture resiliency.

Please join us as we create a national dialogue about the importance of healthy families and resilient children! Learn more…

Mailing: PO Box 1648, Decatur, GA 30031
General information: 404.294.3834
Appointments, referrals and crisis support: 404.892.4646

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