Core Programs

Your 2013 general operating support contributions allowed DBSA to provide the following core services to improve the lives of people living with mood disorders.

Community & Peer Support

DBSA provides resources and support to maintain and enhance DBSA’s network of more than 287 Chapters. DBSA Chapters provide community education and offer more than 800 free, peer-led support groups that serve an estimated 53,478 people living with or affected by mood disorders. Learn about DBSA Chapters.

Online Education & Tools

More than 757,238 people visited DBSA’s suite of online websites to access life-saving information.

Printed Brochures

DBSA offers more than 30 printed brochures, CDs, and DVDs on specific topics related to mood disorders. Nearly 48,000 information-rich, scientifically-vetted, easy-to-read brochures were circulated in 2013 by DBSA and our Chapters to individuals throughout the nation via requests to our toll-free number or online requests as well as in support groups, doctors’ offices, and at mental health events. Our educational brochures are available online at

Toll-Free Referral Service

In 2013, DBSA connected more than 18,000 individuals to resources for support and assistance on a wide variety of concerns though our toll-free referral number; providing a friendly voice to help navigate challenging waters.

DBSA Postive Six (+6)

An innovative, six-month social media campaign focused on taking positive actions to improve individuals’ connection to their health and community. Each month—May through October—DBSA featured a new +6 challenge aimed at strengthening connections to health, relationships, and community. More than 1,500 people accessed the Positive Six website in 2013.

Back to top.

Chapter Programs

Your 2013 general operating and sponsor support contributions allowed DBSA to provide ongoing assistance to DBSA Chapters and support groups to enhance and grow their chapters and increase their ability to provide support, education, and outreach in their local communities.

Chapter Management Web Portal

DBSA offers a password-protected Chapter Management section on that provides a host of tools and resources to our Chapters to help them grow and enhance their Chapters, offer educational events in their communities, fundraise to support their local programming, improve their support groups, and much, much more.

Chapter Facilitator Training

In 2013, DBSA launched a new video-based facilitator training for our chapters. Each chapter was sent a Facilitator Training Kit which included a DVD of the training video and supplemental printed materials such as the DBSA Chapter Pocket Facilitator Guide and facilitator shields. The training video was divided into three sections. The first section covered the basics of facilitating including the structure of our support groups, covering guidelines and helping the group find the flow of conversation. The second section focused on incorporating recovery principles into our groups. The third and final section offered several “challenge scenarios.” These scenarios were designed to encourage discussion among the chapter over some difficult situations that often come up during meetings. All Facilitator Training Kit materials are also available on the Chapter Management Section of

DBSA 2013 Chapter Leadership Forum

The DBSA 2013 Chapter Leadership Forum focused on the partnership between the national office of DBSA and the local chapters, as well as chapters’ partnerships with their local communities. Chapter leaders from around the U.S. shared their experiences and helpful suggestions on ways to best connect with mental health professionals; creating family and friends support groups; and developing a board of directors among other topics! 120 individuals from 29 states took part in this one-day forum full of fun, information and connection building.

Partners in Mission Listening Sessions

In 2013, members of DBSA management conducted listening sessions with 4 of our chapters to share DBSA and chapter 2013 programs and initiatives as well as learn about chapter leaders’ and support groups’ needs, wants, and challenges.

Chapter recognition

In 2013, DBSA rolled out two new programs to recognize the accomplishments of our outstanding chapters! As part of our newly designed chapter eNewsletter, Leadership Link, we highlighted a different chapter’s accomplishments each month. These accomplishments ranged from effectively marketing the support group to gain new participants to full-fledged health-fairs that the chapter put on for their community. In addition, DBSA began offering a quarterly award for chapters. Chapter leaders or participants can submit a nomination for their chapter and each quarter three winners are drawn. Each winning chapter is awarded a $50 gift card to assist in their chapter activities.

Visit to read about some highlights of the amazing work being done by DBSA chapters.

Communication Enhancements

Staying connected to so many wonderful chapters can be a challenge. In 2013, DBSA instituted bimonthly paper mailings to all of our chapters to provide them with hardcopy materials to share in their groups. The monthly chapter eNewsletter was also redesigned to feature a different resource and chapter each month in addition to announcements of importance to our chapters. This new “Leadership Link” is graphically appealing and is archived in the chapter management section of the website for chapters to refer to throughout the year.

Back to top.

Sponsor Supported Programs

DBSA thanks our individual, foundation, and corporate sponsors of the following 2013 educational programming. See full list of sponsored programs.

Developed in partnership with the University of Michigan Depression Center, is an online clearinghouse for research that advances depression, bipolar disorder and mood research through encouraging volunteer participation and enhancing community-researcher relationships. The website highlights the latest clinical trials and research advancements within the mental health field; provides detailed information on mental health clinical trial participation; allows people to browse study listings; gives testimonials from study participants and researchers; and matches people with specific research participation opportunities. More than 15,000 people connected with WeSearchTogether in 2013.

Bipolar Disorder Education YouTube Video Library

The DBSA Bipolar Disorder Education Video Library addresses common questions and concerns that people living with bipolar disorder and their loved ones often have. In each video, a peer shares their experience with issues such as dealing with stigma, identifying triggers, and working with clinicians. Speakers include individuals living with bipolar disorder, their loved ones, and professionals in the mental health field. Since launched in March, 2013, the videos have been viewed nearly 5,000 times.

Bipolar Disorder Education Community Education Kit

To compliment the Bipolar Disorder Education YouTube Video Library, DBSA created a Community Education Kit which was distributed to all DBSA chapters for their use in their local community. The kit includes a PowerPoint presentation titled Demystifying Bipolar Disorder. This presentation focused on common myths and the facts that combat them. The presentation highlighted several of the videos to drive home personal experiences with triggers, stigma and helping a loved one who lives with bipolar disorder. Additionally, the education kit includes a sample flyer for announcing a community presentation of Demystifying Bipolar Disorder, as well as a guide for reserving space for the presentation, assuring the correct AV equipment and sample letters to local professionals to ask them to share the event with their patients. Also included is a press kit complete with a stigma-busting print PSA about bipolar disorder as well as a DVD of the videos, presentation, and all materials in electronic form.

Demystifying Bipolar Disorder Webinar Training

To further aid DBSA chapters in presenting the Demystifying Bipolar Disorder program, DBSA recorded a peer giving the presentation through a webinar platform. This recording was then provided to all chapters so that they could see and hear how the presentation could be done. This webinar was also made available on the DBSA website for any visitors who would like to learn more about bipolar disorder.

DBSA worked in partnership with Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA) to start development on, an online blog launched in May, 2013, created to engage peers and family members in critical discussions and decisions about mental health care. Care for Your Mind™ allows FFDA and DBSA to initiate and facilitate active dialogue about emerging policies and regulations that will determine the availability and quality of mental health care services to people with mood disorders and their families.

DBSA 2013 Grassroots Advocacy

In July, 2013, DBSA worked with the National Council for Behavioral Health to train 20 individuals from four states facing particular challenges with mental health legislation, policy, or regulatory issues as peer advocates. DBSA’s advocacy work in 2013 also focused on ensuring the voice of the lived experience is represented in D.C. and in forums across the nation where critical issues of mental health were being decided. DBSA’s participation and partnership in the Hill Day 2013, hosted by the National Council allowed peer voices to be heard on critical national mental health legislation. (Learn more in DBSA’s Advocacy Center.)

DBSA 2013 National Conference

This extended weekend event, themed Stronger Together, was centered on strengths-based wellness strategies and partnerships for improved wellness. (See also events.)

Rebecca’s Dream Conference Scholarships

The demand for scholarships for the DBSA 2013 National Conference was high with over 100 individuals requesting support to attend the conference. The Rebecca’s Dream scholarship enabled twenty-one people to participate in this weekend of hope, education, and support.

Attending the conference changed my illness paradigm
fully into recovery.

–Stephanie, Rebecca’s Dream Scholarship Recipient

Out of the Blue: The Many Faces of Depression YouTube Video Series

Depression doesn't just look one way. Major depressive disorder affects more than 14 million adult Americans each year, and many don't attribute the range of symptoms they encounter to depression. In this series of videos, six individuals share their experiences with depression, including some of its less identifiable manifestations, which range from anger and irritability to feeling overwhelmed by a lack of focus and difficulty making decisions. Since launched in February, 2013, the videos have been viewed more than 4,000 times.

DBSA Wellness Tracker App for iPhone® and iPod touch®

The DBSA Wellness Tracker is a free, innovative, and user-friendly online, and now phone, app that allows individuals to keep track of their mental, emotional, and physical health. The DBSA Wellness Tracker’s monthly reporting feature provides an at-a-glance summary of key health trends related to overall mood, mood disorder symptoms, lifestyle (including sleep, exercise, etc.), medication and side effects, and physical health. Since launched in May, 2013, the app has been downloaded by more than 3,500 people.

Back to top.

2013 Impact Report

Highlights from this report are summarized in the DBSA 2013 Impact Report and are available to download in PDF form.

Click here to download the report.

Back to top.