What They Do
The 25 million Americans coping with mood disorders and their families need a greater understanding of how these illnesses affect their lives. We all need support from people who have been there and who understand our journey. After proper diagnosis and treatment, the support from others is vital to a lifetime of wellness. DBSA chapters can provide that support and much more.
DBSA chapters are independent, local affiliates of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. DBSA chapters are incorporated, non-profit organizations that are governed by their own board of directors. DBSA chapters offer more than 700 peer-run support groups where you will find comfort and direction in a confidential and supportive setting, and where you can make a difference in the lives of others. The selection of services offered differs by chapter, depending upon the needs of its participants. Most support groups are volunteer run and provide self-help through facilitated meetings. They are not group therapy, however, our chapters often have professional advisors (typically a psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, or social worker) from the community.
In addition to participating in the group meetings, you will meet people from your community who can relate to your experiences. You may learn valuable information about mental health professionals and services in your area, as well as tips and techniques others use to manage their illness.
Other services some chapters offer in addition to their support groups include educational sessions, newsletters, lending libraries, and special events. Some offer information on mental health professionals in your area or upcoming mental health legislation in your state.
What happens at a support group meeting?
At support group meetings, people share experiences, personal feelings, information, and strategies for living successfully with mood disorders. There are six key elements of a DBSA chapter’s support groups.
1. Focus on Self-Help
3. Safe and Accepting
5. Meet Regularly
6. Free of Charge
What DBSA Support Groups Aren't
1. NOT Therapy or Treatment
2. NOT a Place to Diagnose or a Substitute for Professional Care
3. NOT a 12-Step Group
4. NOT a Pity Party
5. NOT an Expert Giving a Lecture
Who can participate in a support group?
The primary participants in DBSA chapters’ support group meetings are persons diagnosed with a mood disorder and those who believe they may have a mood disorder. Support groups may also include family members and friends of such individuals.
Take the next step toward wellness for yourself or someone you love. Use our Support Group Locator to find the DBSA chapter nearest you.
The Value of DBSA Support Groups
DBSA support groups provide the kind of sharing and caring that is crucial for a lifetime of wellness. DBSA support groups:
Remember, support groups are not a substitute for professional care. DBSA chapters and support groups do not endorse or recommend the use of any specific treatment or medication. For advice about specific treatment or medication, individuals should consult their physicians and/or mental health professionals.
No support group in your area? Learn about starting one.
info, training, events
- Brochures (printable)
- Living Successfully Course
- Ask the Doc
- Outside Resources
- Peer Specialist Core Training
- Peer Specialist Continuing Education
- DBSA Training, Consultation, & Speaker Services
- Mental Health First Aid
- Support Group Facilitator Training
- Wellness Options
treatment, tools, research
- Peer Support
peer groups, inspiration
- Help Others
family, friends, peers
- For Clinicians
Working in Partnership with Your Patient
Materials for/by Clinicians
Training & Events for Clinicians
How DBSA Support Groups Can Help
Publications for Your Office