DBSA Timeline

30 Years of Growth



1978
A meeting in Rose Kurland’s kitchen plants the seeds for a peer organization that is to become the Manic Depressive Association (MDA).

1984
MDA holds its first convention at Chicago’s Palmer House with 50 leaders from 14 states.

1986
A congressional reception hosted by Speaker Tip O’Neill, Senators Pete V. Domenici, Orrin Hatch, Daniel K. Inouye, Paul Simon, and Congressman Silvio O. Conte celebrates the establishment of the National Depression and Manic Depression Association (NDMDA), formerly MDA. Katherine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, is the guest speaker. NDMDA uses the slogan “Honk if you’re on lithium” for their promotional materials.

1990
Frederick K. Goodwin, MD, receives the Dr. Jan Fawcett Humanitarian Award at a gala benefit at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. Newsman Mike Wallace serves as emcee.

1993
Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, receives the Dr. Jan Fawcett Humanitarian Award with Second Lady Tipper Gore in attendance.

1994
The Journal of Affective Disorders publishes results of the first large-scale self-survey of NDMDA chapter members. JAD 21 (1994).

2003
NDMDA changes its name to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) to reflect modern psychiatric terminology.

2004
DBSA receives a SAMHSA grant to develop and pilot a model peer specialist training program.

2005
DBSA meets with two Veterans Administration committees to discuss the integration of certified peer specialists into VA treatment plans.

2006
DBSA produces the award-winning report and DVD State of Depression in America, hosted by Mike Wallace. Wallace’s first major bout of depression was triggered in 1984 after U.S. Army General William C. Westmoreland sued Wallace and several others for libel. Westmoreland was featured in the CBS documentary, "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception," in 1982, and Wallace was the chief correspondent for the investigative report. "What Mike Wallace did by his willingness to talk about his depressive illness was extraordinary," said Dr. Carol Bernstein, associate professor psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. "That kind of openness with something that is usually shunned, avoided and stigmatized in our society was very brave and courageous of him."

2007
DBSA testifies before Congress on the value of peer services for military personnel returning home from service.

2008
DBSA launches the new community wellness website, FacingUs.org.

2009
DBSA unveils the DBSA Wellness Tracker.

2010
DBSA partners with University of Michigan Depression Center to begin developing a Consumer Clearinghouse for Depression and Bipolar research.

2012
DBSA is awarded one of the first Veterans Administration contracts for the training and certification of VA peer support employees.

2014
DBSA absorbs programming of Balanced Mind Parent Network and founds the DBSA Young Adult Council.

2015
DBSA hosts congressional briefings on the value of peer support. It is the first-ever briefing entirely initiated by people with lived experience and the first on the topic of peer support.

DBSA Wellness Tracker is named a Bipolar App of the Year by Healthline.



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