Last year I took up a 3 day a week position as the Creative Consultant at the Black Dog Institute ( or as some like to call me D.O.G.I (Director Of Good Ideas).After 15 years in advertising this was a big change in scenery and very much for the better.
Many people have asked did I start the Institute and the answer is definitely not, it was started by Professor Gordon Parker over 10 years ok. I didn't even know it existed when I wrote IHABD. Ever since the 1st meeting there has been an amazing synergy of ideas and collaboration. It is a surprisingly creative place to work and I'm very grateful to be there.

For those who don't know the Black Dog Institute - it is New South Wales non for for profit, research facility that specialises in mood disorders; namely bipolar and depression. Research is the cornerstone of everything the Institute does and says.

It is also has a large professional education department which trains professionals in the mental health arena.
It has a community department, whom I work very closely with, this takes programs to schools and the workplace, events and seminars to the country. It also has a volunteers program - without the volunteers we wouldn't be able to do what we do.

It also has a specialised Depression and Bipolar Clinic, with a dedicated team of psychologists and psychiatrists.
The M.A.P Centre which is the Mood Assessment Program. Which is a world first computerised diagnostic tool.
There are many other facets, too many to go into here, so please check out the website.

Primarily my job is creating illustrated programs for education purposes. I also do all the design work for events, fundraising and competitions (currently we running a photo comp - check it out on the website). I also hoot around the country delivering seminars on understanding mood disorders and resilience (what can be learnt by coming through adversity).

Even though it is a place that deals with serious issues and conditions, it is a wonderful place to work, with inspiring people who are incredibly passionate about what they do. Ironically I've never been happier in my work. I think this comes from recycling my experience into helping others because at the end of the day that act helps me in more ways that I can say.

The website gets about 180,000 hits per month, it has a dirth of information, with downloadable fact sheets that are all free.

When I'm not working at BDI, I'm working on new books.
Ruff Ruff !!


Chris Bacon UK said...

I've had depression on and off for a number of years now, I'm not blaming the depression for the failed marriage, failed business or declaring myself bankrupt last year, but it certainly hasn't helped. Now I'm in a stable relationship but its a struggle to understand why when everything is starting to look up for me that I still suffer from depression and its hard on my partner. I found your books in Waterstones London and although I could have read them and put them back on the shelf, they made such an impression on my that I felt I just had to buy them. It is amazing how I read I Had a Black Dog and felt as if it had been written about me, it describes the feelings of depression in such an easy to understand and accurate way, it is simply brilliant. It is so hard to describe how you feel when you suffer from depression and so difficult for the carer to understand and your books make it so easy, they are brilliant. I can't thank you enough for having the ability and courage to create and publish these books.

Thnak you Chris Bacon UK

Please post my comment so that others can know how good your books are and how much they help those who suffer from and those who live with depression!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I've been living with my own black dog for more years than I care to remember but only found out about your book a few months ago. Like you I am in advertising and marketing but unlike you I don't yet have the courage to leave an industry with which I have a love hate relationship. It can be both my crutch and the cause or escalation of an episode.
Thank you for your book - I'm going to use it with my closest family & friends to say what I've been unable to say for too long.

Tom J said...

Matthew, I was diagnosed with Severe Clinical Depression in July 2007 and spent a couple of periods in a private clinic.
Prior to that, your book was the first thing that managed to explain what was happening to me. It was invaluable in explaining to my family (especially my daughter) and I took it to the clinic on admittance... Whilst there, the book was devoured by fellow patients, their families and friends. I've loaned and given quite a few copies (including copies left for public reading in the clinic).
Thank you.
Tom Jasper (UK)