Encinitas Rotary Peacemaker Award: Peacemaking comes in many forms
Encinitas Rotary Club 2020 Peacemaker Award honors Roger Alsabrook
Mental health issues are tricky. Most of us don’t want to admit if we have a problem. It takes a true peacemaker to not only publicly acknowledge their condition but to move beyond their own personal struggles to help others with mental health problems, promote tolerance, and bring peace with alienated friends and family. The Encinitas Rotary Club 2020 Peacemaker Award recognizes Roger Alsabrook as just that person.
In 2000, after losing friends and alienating family members, Alsabrook was diagnosed with manic depressive disorder, also known as bipolar disorder, and was prescribed medication. Bipolar disorder causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression). After moving to Del Mar in 2005, Alsabrook sought group therapy treatment and discovered the San Diego Chapter of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). He started attending the weekly DBSA peer-led support group meetings. Five years ago, Alsabrook recognized the need for a nearby DBSA support group in North County, so he began hosting monthly meetings in Del Mar.
Alsabrook facilitates discussion of issues challenging those with bipolar disorder and family members are also welcome. Alsabrook helps group members understand the crisis process and meets personally with families in crisis. He is a role model - with proper diagnosis and medications, a bipolar person can have a full, happy and productive life.
At support group meetings and speaking opportunities, Alsabrook shares his personal story to promote understanding and tolerance in coping with a mental health condition. He concealed his diagnosis until age 65, but then decided to use his experience to help others.
One group member said “Roger encourages and inspires families living with mental illness by openly discussing his own personal diagnosis of bipolar, ignoring the stigma attached to mental illness. I’ve seen his success in helping others with family after family. We are very grateful for the harmony and understanding he has helped to restore to our family.”
Jon Krassny, Encinitas Rotary Club president, said “We are proud to recognize Roger Alsabrook for demonstrating that peacemaking comes in many forms.”
The Encinitas Rotary Club Peacemaker Award annually recognizes community members who have made a significant difference in promoting tolerance, understanding, conflict resolution and peace, either locally or globally. To learn more about Encinitas Rotary visit www.encinitasrotary.org. For more information about the DBSA, visit www.dbsalliance.org.