Tuesday, November 29, 2011

7 Steps for Dealing With Loss and Grief from Huffington Post

The experience of losing something we value is a part of life no one can escape from. Loss has many shapes and forms, it could be a relationship that comes to an end, a loved one dies, a break up comes, children leave or any other sort of transition that brings about a feeling of loss. When a feeling of loss happens, learning to cope is essential to be able to bounce back. When we lose something, we go through a period of grieving process which can generally start with denial and then go to feelings of anger, sadness and then acceptance. Awareness is important to make sure you're not stuck in any of these stages and that you can process each and move forward.

Here are some general steps you can follow when you're hit with a loss: Please press on the link for the full article.

Dying with Christian Dignity

Everyone’s ultimate cross and fate lies in death. For some death will come peacefully, others violently, while others will fight it to the end or meekly accept it. Whichever the case, all deserve dignity in their final moments. The Christian faith accepts death with dignity as a way of transformation from the temporal state to the eschatological state. In this transformation, life does not cease, but continues and is enhanced in the beatific vision for the just. Ultimately, even the temporal form of man, his body, will again taste life in the general resurrection.
Christianity faces death with dignity. It does not hope to trick death, fear death, or prematurely sacrifice oneself to it without greater cause. Christianity views death as the final cross and suffering where one can offer his or her pains to Christ in one last redemptive manner for one’s own sins and the sins of the world. The ironic ideal of death and suffering giving life and happiness is manifested when a Christian puts his faith and hope in Christ and accepts his or her cross. The ultimate paradigms of Christ and his saints show one how to accept these final moments; moments that differ from person to person in every way but ultimately lead to one destination which is God.
While Christ and his saints offer great insight into the acceptance of death, I would like to go beyond the mere spiritual preparation that involves prayer, sacraments, and other pious rituals. I would rather look at how a Christian within the modern world of science accepts death. Does the Christian seek an easy death that involves euthanasia, or does he seek to extend his life through every scientific means to the point of losing self identity? These are difficult questions but the church has given some insight for not only primary caregivers, but also for those competent enough to make the decisions regarding life and death in correlation with Christian dignity.
The terms ordinary and extraordinary measures are the foundation for such decisions in determining whether to prolong or cease life. Ordinary medical measures refer to any proven methodologies within the medical community that are needed in order for life to be maintained. Such examples would be any basic medications or proven surgeries that can cure the ailment. As Christians, we are called to accept the crosses that come with these procedures and choose life at all costs. Extraordinary measures, however, are measures that sustain life that are beyond the basic measures. Extraordinary measures could include experimental drugs, unproven surgeries and high risk procedures with no sure or certain outcome. Also included within this idea are any methods that sustain life artificially. Christians are given the option to choose or deny extraordinary measures. If they so choose, an extraordinary measure can be applied but the right to accept the natural consequences of death with human dignity is fully accepted within the Christian tradition. Such decisions on extraordinary measures are usually made by the patient if still lucid, but later fall to the family in order of legal authority.
Christians are to accept death with faith and hope and are encouraged to utilize modern medications and procedures but when these procedures and medications become overbearing and unfruitful, a Christian may with confidence meekly accept the final cross of his or her life and with love meet God in the afterlife.

By Mark Moran, MA

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Metaphysics and Death: The Brain a Metaphysical Organ

While far from a scientist but always a philosopher and theologian first, I would like to attempt to open dialogue and raise questions regarding the purpose of the brain and its relation to the body and the soul. I would also like to discuss issues of Near Death Experience as legitimate functions of the soul or merely physical reactions within the brain.
Secularists have attacked the nature of the soul, memory, and feelings as natural chemical reactions that can be interpreted as “abstract” but in reality exist within the material. Within the complex nature of the brain, emotions and memories arise but are merely an evolutionary adaptation from matter and nothing beyond the material. They further contend that the brain creates illusions of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) where the person actually believes his or her “soul” has left the confines of the body. The idea of depersonalization concerns the loss of emotion and the detached feelings people have upon the approach of death. This is why some explain why the person feels they are away from his or her body. The other element is hyperaltertness that deals with sharper hearing or vision and either dull or more vivid thoughts at the approach of death. Both these states help the person face dangerous situations. In times of crisis, if action is available, the natural defense mechanism is to act, however, according to secularists if no physical action is available the brain merely utilizes neural and spiritual imaging resources. In conclusion, the argument rests that the brain is merely a physical organ that via chemical processes can create altered states of consciousness and mimic spiritual existence beyond death.
Atheistic motivated psychology attempts to remove memory and abstract concepts as separate realities from the material world. It wants to divorce the idea that abstract ideals are beyond the physical and enforce a concept that through evolution, abstract concepts have sprung from the matter and clay of the brain. This is a huge jump without any empirical evidence. The reality is Socrates, Plato and Aristotle all view the ideas of the abstract as superior and separate to the material world. Concepts cannot be sensed via touch, sight, scent, taste or audio, but are ideas that transcend the temporal sphere. Concepts of justice cannot be dissected on an operating table, but only understood via manifestation. They do not exist within nature physically. Furthermore concepts of love, ideas, or shapes all exist outside the actual object. For instance, the idea of “squareness” exists within itself without material representation. Again, the concept that one plus one equals two exists without representation. Plato referred to these ideas as the universals. The universals exist as abstract concepts that cannot be understood via the senses but only via the intellect. He concluded independent spiritual abstract ideals that are beyond the touch of one’s senses can only be comprehended by the same spiritual “stuff” of the soul. Aristotle tied these two elements together when he took basic “matter” and” form” concepts and found the forms or universals within matter and individualized; the physical world reflected the spiritual forms. Hence emotion, spiritual sight, or any other abstract notion that escapes the lens of science is real and is manifested via the material world. These ideas do not originate from matter but are expressed via matter. This is a very different concept than what atheistic psychology proposes in its attempt to put science and theology at odds.

On the contrary, science is not at odds with theology for both claim the same source which is God. Biologically these chemicals are trace elements for the existence of emotion. They are not the origins of the emotion but the physical correlation of it. The idea that the body affects the mind and the mind affects the body is an undeniable principle that stems from the dualistic nature of man. Man is both body and spirit and in that combination and complicated fusion there lies interaction. Could one not deny the abstract concept of worry and its effect via ulcer? Or can one not deny the physical pain that can also cause emotional pain? An example would be the physical pain of surgery and also the psychological pain of the loss that correlates with that surgery? While hyperalertness and detachment may very well be biological evolutionary devices for the body to prepare for death or accept death, one cannot claim that they are solely biological. And if so, who is to claim that in some cases the mental state produced is biological and in other cases spiritual? Not everyone who experiences the close breath of the reaper claim NDE. With such conclusions, the ChristiaN or theist will not dismiss these chemical reactions within the brain or possible natural explanations for NDE visions, but instead will accept them and incorporate them relevantly to theology. In the end, scientific investigation and theology cannot be at odds, but in this case how do both find credence with each other?
The answer to this question is simple because the brain is the gateway to the soul. The brain is a metaphysical organ in many ways. It is capable of channeling the spiritual essence of man into physical or material coherence. In many ways it is an adapter that translates and shares the ideas of the soul into praxis with the body. This organ is metaphysical because it exists in both planes. No other organ can boast of such an ability. No other organ carries its responsibilities beyond the physical. While cliché phrases unite love with the heart, one cannot deny that the heart plays no spiritual or emotional role. The reality is the brain or the mind meets the soul half way and articulates its desires to the world. It is in this complex fusion of mind and body where the intellect and will of the soul shout to the world, “I am here”.
In this regard, the psychology of the mind is better understood within a prism of faith. Instead of proclaiming that certain chemical reactions in the brain create emotion, faith dictates that these abstract emotions are manifested via the brain through these chemical reactions. In pure sacramental form, the body manifests the soul, so why would it be any different at a more micro level? For science to proclaim that chemicals cause the emotion instead of vice versa is merely atheistic philosophy infused into science.
With this deeper understanding of the brain as a metaphysical organ we can answer a few challenges posed by secularists. First, as noted, we can dismiss the notion that chemical reactions in the brain are the cause for human emotion. Second, we can challenge ideas of brain death. Secularists contend that if a piece of the brain is removed or a part of it is damaged then the emotion and memories associated with that part is forever loss. With the image of the brain as a metaphysical organ and gatekeeper of the soul one can easily contend with equal reason and intelligence that the memory is merely inaccessible to the physical element of man. The reality is that it still exists within the intellect of the soul, awaiting healing or the final resurrection of the broken body with the soul. Finally, in regards to NDE, one can accept that not every vision is spiritual, but if the brain is seen as a metaphysical organ with such capabilities, then one cannot dismiss NDE on all counts within reasonable grounds. Who is to say what vision is a true manifestation of near death and a mere evolutionary coping device. One cannot empirically prove this. Unlike science, theology can speculate via hope and faith, science must empirically show evidence. There is no physical evidence to disprove that these numerous and diverse experiences stem from a spiritual reality.
With these ideals in place the Christian or theist can with good reason accept scientific findings regarding the functions of the brain without fear that science is posing a threat to their faith. The reality is both the spiritual and the physical are in harmony with one another. This is the case especially with the brain which acts as a perfect gateway that reflects the harmony of the soul and body. In many ways, one could speculate that this proposes a Trinitarian design that reflects the image of God and his inner-workings of Father, Son and Holy Spirit via body, soul and mind; three units working as one.

By Mark Moran , MA

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dark days? Bright ideas for coping with winter From MSNBC

Does winter get you down? Plenty of people suffer mood changes ranging from mild "winter doldrums" to full-blown seasonal affective disorder (aptly acronymed SAD), all due to the decrease in daylight that occurs in fall and winter and the hormonal changes that coincide with it.

"SAD is a serious condition, a subtype of major depressive disorder in which life can be severely compromised by fatigue, low mood, anxiety, reduced sex drive, and more," says psychologist and SAD specialist Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at New York's Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. "But SAD is really just the tip of the iceberg," he adds. Far more of us experience similar but less intense symptoms, becoming just short of clinically depressed. And that's just, well, sad.

Future Therapy can help today! from Science Daily

Patients with major depression do better by learning to create a more positive outlook about the future, rather than by focusing on negative thoughts about their past experiences, researchers at Cedars-Sinai say after developing a new treatment that helps patients do this.

While Major Depressive Disorder patients traditionally undergo cognitive-behavior therapy care that seeks to alter their irrational, negative thoughts about past experiences, patients who were treated with the newly-developed Future-Directed Therapy™ demonstrated significant improvement in depression and anxiety, as well as improvement in overall reported quality of life, the researchers found.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Women And Prescription Drugs: One In Four Takes Mental Health Meds from Huffington Post

When it comes to feeling depressed or anxious, or inattentive, women are more likely to take prescription medication than men, according to a new report from Medco Health Solutions, the pharmacy-benefit manager.

One of the more startling statistics in the report, which analyzed prescription claims data from 2.5 million insured Americans from 2001 to 2010, is that one in four women is dispensed medication for a mental health condition, compared to just 15 percent of men.

Antidepressant use especially is high among women, up 29 percent since 2001, the report showed, and anti-anxiety meds are used by women at almost twice the rate seen among men. In 2010, 11 percent of middle-aged women were on an anti-anxiety medication, while only 5.7 percent of men that age were. There's also a gender shift when it comes to the use of drugs for ADHD in adulthood: although the disorder is thought to afflict primarily young boys, slightly more women use ADHD medications as adults than men.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

5 ways to increase happiness from Huffington Post by Dr. Grohol

Happiness is one of those concepts we all seem to love to learn more about, but we are unwilling to take any big steps to increase it in our own lives. Some experts claim happiness can be found in a particular herb or a special diet, but there's little research to back up those claims.

What scientific research into happiness has shown us is that it can be increased in many different ways -- but you won't find the answer from a pill. Before you begin, you have to keep in mind that you control only about half of your happiness level. The other half is set by genetics, the situation and the environment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Treatment of Traumatic Grief

In the previous article we discussed what traumatic grief is and how it affects the survivor. We utilized Lifton’s five major themes that correspond with traumatic grief. In this segment, we will analyze the recovery procedures for people of traumatic grief. We will also include Christian principles that can heal the wounds of traumatic loss and grief.
The first step involves understanding the nature of the trauma. The trauma is so severe that it has brought one to the jaws of death. The realization that death is inevitable and was so close can negatively affect a survivor. Lifton’s first rule is to manage the symptoms of anxiety that correlate with the trauma. It is the goal of counselor to help the patient identify and face the pain associated with the trauma. Only then can the counselor help the patient feel less alone and push them towards a sign of hope. Strategies for symptom management help the patient realize they have control and hope. Some strategies include cognitive and behavioral therapies such as relaxation, or techniques for interpersonal skills. Medication is also an option to ease the emotional anxiety so the person can focus and heal. Support groups of people who share similar stories of trauma are also encouraged.
The second step involves reconstructing meaning. In this element, the person begins to find a place for the traumatic event in their life narrative. They face the trauma and then reconstruct their life story with the trauma of the past. This is the very definition of metaconstruction which integrates one’s past and future self conceptions into a new story.
The final element involves finding new spiritual wholeness. This is the final step of healing. In this step, the survivor must recover a new meaningful sense of purpose, return to society, and move towards a healthy self-acceptance of who one is. Some create survivor missions which give them a sense of destiny and ultimate value. Some find this value in God as its source, while others find non theistic means such a good of community or justice. In many ways this final step is a self acceptance and forgiveness of the past that eliminates the negative energy and produces good energy via praxis.
Obviously, God as the source produces the greatest recovery. However, some may remain bitter towards God for the evil that befell. These are signs that a full recovery is not there yet. The bitterness is negative and only until they are able to remove that darkness from their soul will they be healed. The saints and mystics focused their energy on Christ who suffered the most traumatic death. They focus on the trauma the Blessed Virgin faced seeing her son brutally murdered before her eyes. In that grief, they find love, support, and healing. They realize in this fallen world, they are not alone. No matter how traumatic the event, the end is resurrection in Christ. If survivors are able to go through the three steps of recovery, they will then be able to unify with Christ their sufferings and elevate it to a higher and supernatural level that the world cannot comprehend. This is the great mystery of Christian grief: through suffering comes redemption.
While traumatic grief and the pains of survivors are immense and require long periods of recovery, it is possible through good counseling, therapies, and God that one can again find meaning, wholeness, hope and love. This does not entail that the healing process eliminates the scar or the memory, but it does allow the person to accept those scars in a healthy manner and continue to carry their cross with dignity, hope, happiness and Christian charity.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Survivors of Traumatic Grief PART I

The deep emotional scars of survival from a traumatic event of terrorism, plague, natural disaster, or war can be devastating to the human soul. Such evil and mass death can cripple the person from properly healing and continuing one’s life story. While Christian grief looks at such events within the prism of God’s love and how his love can shine through the evils of men and the natural sufferings of the world, one cannot elevate this suffering to new heights until the human psyche is healed. Traumatic and complicated grief is the end result in these cases and the person is unable to recover. The natural grief recovery is stifled by the severity of the grief inflicted upon the person. In these cases, grief counseling is only the start. In many cases, professional licensed counselors are called upon to administer grief therapy and supply medication when needed.
A pioneer grief specialist in survivors of traumatic grief is Robert Lifton. Lifton defines a survivor as someone who has faced death and has remained alive. As a survivor who faces death, or mass death, Lifton listed five characteristics. These five characteristics are critical to understanding the nature and mindset of a survivor.
The first psychological theme is the death print. The death print is the images or memories of the death event. They can cause death anxiety and can be recalled with clarity many years later. Many survivors are haunted by the desire to replay the image of death over and over until they can find a more acceptable outcome.
The second theme is death guilt. Many survivors are tormented by survival guilt. This guilt manifests from the fact that others died and they did not. This is especially the case with parents who may lose a child. In other cases, death guilt can also manifest due to lack of proper performance in stressful situations. Some people will feel extreme guilt because they did not do this or that and due to inability failed to save someone.
The third theme is psychic numbing which can accompany chronic depression. Due to this phenomenon, someone’s crucial components of self are disassociated with the ego. This numbing in some cases is a self defense mechanism. Recovery from this involves intensive therapy to feel again.
The fourth theme according to Lifton is “suspicion of counterfeit nurturance”. This deals with the feelings that survivors have with interpersonal relationships. For the most part it manifests when survivors are reluctant to receive support because they refuse to admit to the damage the trauma has caused his or her soul.
The final theme is formulation. This is the struggle the survivor has to find meaning out of life after a traumatic ordeal . How does the traumatic event fit into the life story of the person? How does the person bridge the past to the future?
These five common themes of survivors are all elements a grief counselor will have to deal with as they rebuild the psyche of a person who has experienced a traumatic event of any type. In the end, the essential task of a survivor is to find meaning of the trauma and connect the loss to their life story. One must find a way to assert continuity of life while remaining true to the past traumatic event. After indentifying these themes in a person who has experienced traumatic grief, a counselor needs to work on each aspect and gradually rebuild the person and open the door to creating and reconstructing meaning in the person’s life. We will in future blogs review this process, but it is important to note, a Christian counselor of grief should also integrate the sufferings of Christ and point to Christ as a paradigm. Christ’s suffering ultimately is the most traumatic event in human history. One must unify his or her suffering under his cross to finally rise from the ashes as Christ did. Through hope in Christ, all wounds can be healed, even the most traumatic.

By Mark Moran, MA

Consider the Definition of 'Empowerment' from SAVE.

Submitted by Franklin Cook on Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:32
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Caregivers regularly use the term empowerment to describe an outcome they'd like to see realized by people whom they are assisting. Because usage of the term is widespread -- even as the word itself may mean different things to different people -- we are outlining, for the consideration and comment of our readers, key points from two articles on empowerment from two different perspectives.

One is from a scholarly article by Mann Hyung Hur from the Journal of Community Psychology and titled "Empowerment in Terms of Theoretical Perspectives: Exploring a Typology of the Process and Components across Disciplines."
The other is from a longtime mental-health consumer advocate, the late Judi Chamberlin, whose essay "A Working Definition of Empowerment" is available from the National Empowerment Center.

Things you never say to a cancer patient from Huffington Post

The first time someone uttered the words, "You still have hope" in response to my cancer, I almost slapped them. When an RN said these words -- meant to comfort me -- I raged. I was planning on a little more than hope.

But their mistake isn't unique. With cancer becoming more prevalent and people living longer and healthier, the sick are now venturing into society more, encountering acquaintances in social situations.

Miss Manners never addressed how to handle the news someone you barely know has a life-threatening disease with etiquette in five-minute small talk. There is no precedent on the social savior fare for this situation, and I have experienced some flubs. I put them in my list of Things to Never Ever Do or Say When Someone Tells You They Are Sick:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10 Careers With High Rates of Depression

By Tammy Worth

Some jobs are more depression-prone than others.

Here are 10 fields (out of 21 major job categories) in which full-time workers are most likely to report an episode of major depression in a given year. But if you want to be a nurse (No. 4), it doesn’t mean you should pick another profession.

“There are certain aspects of any job that can contribute to or exacerbate depression,” says Deborah Legge, PhD, a licensed mental health counselor in Buffalo. "Folks with the high-stress jobs have a greater chance of managing it if they take care of themselves and get the help they need.”

Sexual harassment tied to depression, suicide

The accusations of sexual harassment leveled against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain by Sharon Bialek and others have drawn attention to a common, yet sometimes under-recognized, workplace hazard.

As many as 70 percent of women and 45 percent of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace, said Amy Blackstone, a sociologist at the University of Maine. The most common scenario involves a harasser creating a "hostile work environment" — in which a harassed person feels intimidated or uncomfortable, and can't perform his or her job well — but harassment can also involve the type of "quid pro quo" Bialek said she experienced.

Victims of sexual harassment can experience strained relationships in the workplace, but are also at risk for numerous health problems. Here are six health effects of sexual harassment:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Expert Offers Audio Primer on Complicated Grief

In an audio presentation for Psychiatric Times, Katherine Shear, an expert on complicated grief, delivers a talk on the topic that provides listeners with a concise and comprehensive primer. She gives -- in about 15 minutes -- a complete overview of the malady, noting that it affects as many as 10% of bereaved people. Shear begins by characterizing grief -- and even intense grief reactions -- as a normal response to the death of someone with whom the bereaved person has a close relationship, then differentiates complicated grief by clearly summarizing its causes, symptoms, assessment, and treatment.
One of many useful ingredients in Shear's presentation is her "five simple questions" to help a clinician assess whether a person who is having continuing, intense grief symptoms a year or more after the death might be suffering from complicated grief:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hospice Foundation of America's Lunch N Learn Series

Hospice Foundation of America is excited to offer a fresh approach to a new set of one-hour educational programs, our “Lunch 'n Learn” series. Each one will feature a panel of experienced professionals offering their own expertise on the topic as well as discussing it with one another and the moderator. If you logon for the live version of the program you will not only be able to see the panelists on screen, but also will have the opportunity to send in questions that they will answer and discuss during the program.

HFA’s 2011/2012 “Lunch 'n Learn” programs begin October 5, 2011. Each program will examine a different topic to meet the diverse need of hospices and communities around the country. Then each one will be available for up to a year after its initial live air date. The cost is $85 per program for hospice (or other) organizations or $35 per program for individuals. CEs are available at a cost of $10/person. Register online now to make sure you don’t miss out on these timely and helpful topics! (Or register by mail/fax with this form.)

Pioneers in Grief Study


J. William Worden

Worked with the grief of widows and how they moved on after the death of their husbands. His numerous awards and memberships are the following —Influential Leader Award in Grief and Loss, American Academy of Bereavement (2005) Association of Death Education & Counseling-ADEC (Founding Member) International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement-IWG (Founding Member) Influential Leader Award in Grief and Loss, American Academy of Bereavement (2005) Clinical Practice Award, Association of Death Education and Counseling (1993)

Elizabeth Kubler Ross
1926-2004- She was a psychiatrist and a pioneer in near death studies.She was the author of Death and Dying (1969) in which the Kubler-Ross model was first introduced.

Edward John Mostyn "John" Bowlby
1907–1990. He was a British psychologist most notable for his interest in child development and his ideas on attachment theory.

Erich Lindemann
Most notable for his studies on traumatic grief especially in regards to the Cocoanut Grove night club fire in the 1940s.

Sigmund Freud
1856-1939. He viewed grief as a pathological issue that if not resolved resulted in dysfunction. One must purge him or herself from the attachment and form new relationships. This idea has been replaced with newer ideals of attachment theory and meaning making where the loss is reformatted into the life story and revered and respected but never totally removed from the self.

Monday, November 7, 2011

End of Life Decisions

End of Life Decisions. Online Video.
Highly recommended


Models of Grief


Worden’s Four Tasks-dealt with widows and their moving on in life
1. Task 1. Acceptance
2. Task 2. Working through it
3. Task 3. Adjustment
4. Task 4. Emotionally relocate the deceased and move on

Kubler Ross Model
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance

Rando’s Six Rs
Recognize, React, Recollect, Relinquish, Readjust, Reinvest

John Bowlby and the Process of Mourning
Preoccupation, Disorganization, Reoganization

Lindeman’s Three Steps
Acceptance, Adjusting, Forming New Relationships

Activity: The Antidote to Depression From Huffington Post

Most individuals who suffer from depression believe, "Once I feel better, I'll start calling friends again/making dinner plans/playing golf/planning a vacation/etc., but right now, I just don't have the will." Most of these people are not aware of the research, conducted in numerous Cognitive Behavior Therapy studies, that has consistently demonstrated that those who suffer with depression have to put the cart before the horse. That is, in order to feel better, depressed people need to start getting actively re-involved with life right away even though they may not want to or believe they can.

People with clinical depression might understand this concept on an intellectual level, but they frequently experience interfering thoughts such as, "I'm too tired/It won't make me feel any better/My friends will be busy/I won't enjoy the dinner/It's too much effort/Nothing will make me feel better." Cognitive Behavior Therapy helps clients grasp the idea that their thoughts may be 100 percent true, 0 percent true, or some place in the middle. In my own practice, I tell depressed patients that I don't have a crystal ball so I can't predict the validity of their predictions -- but I also gently ask them whether they, themselves, have a crystal ball.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can omega-3 fatty acids help prevent depression? From CNN

Mental Health Expert Dr. Charles Raison Psychiatrist,
Emory University Medical School
Expert answer

As is so often the case in this blog, the answer to your question is a resounding "maybe." Lots of studies have been done looking at omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of both unipolar (what I sometimes call "regular old") depression and for depression in bipolar disorder. The findings are mixed.

As unclear as the data are for using omega-3 fatty acids to treat depression, we know even less about whether omega-3s might actually prevent depression.

Most of the work that has been done in this area has focused on preventing post-partum depression. Taken as a whole the results are not very promising.