Marilyn’s Message March 29, 2016

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There is a growing understanding in the celiac disease community and among the medical professionals who treat the disease that the presence of celiac disease and its many symptoms can adversely impact a patient’s mental health. This can be particularly traumatic for young people. My son, for example, suffered from severe depression before he was finally correctly diagnosed as a 15 year-old. After adopting the gluten-free diet, his depression was alleviated. For many individuals with celiac disease, however, even a correct diagnosis and strict adherence to a gluten-free diet don’t relieve the stress, anxiety, and depression that can accompany living with celiac disease. Rhonda Resnick, a Celiac Disease Foundation Board of Directors member, and her husband, Peter, know this pain first-hand raising a daughter with celiac disease and associated mental health issues. Their repeated efforts to find knowledgeable, compassionate, and effective mental healthcare for their child left them frustrated and angry.

The Resnicks do not want to see other children suffer as their daughter did from the mental health implications of celiac disease. They came to CDF with heart, and with an incredibly generous contribution seeking solutions, not for their daughter who is now grown, but for other individuals who still suffer needlessly. Together, we approached the world-renowned Children’s National Health System (CNHS) in Washington, D.C., seeking innovative, proactive solutions to deal with this issue. The end result was the Resnick Celiac Disease & Gluten-Related Conditions Psychological Health Training Program.

This program has a number of key elements that I encourage you to learn more about here, but a critical component is a program to train mental health professionals to identify celiac disease symptoms, as well as recognize and manage celiac disease-related mental health issues in children and adults. The first training was held in Washington, D.C. at Children’s National on February 17th, 2016. More than 40 healthcare providers attended the session in person and another 120 attended online.

We will be holding another healthcare professional training as part of our National Conference at the Pasadena Convention Center on April 30th, 2016. The National Register of Health Service Psychologists has just announced that attending professionals will receive six continuing medical education credits for attending. To maximize our reach and impact, the program is free to all licensed healthcare professionals. We are pleased that they recognize the value in what we are doing with this program.

My hope is that you see the value in our work to serve the celiac disease community as well. We can stop the needless suffering caused by this disease, but it takes all of us working together. The Resnicks have done their part and are asking that you do yours. Please give today.

To Our Health,

Marilyn

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