The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance provides hope, help, support, and education to people living with mood disorders. As part of our mission, DBSA is committed to actions that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion to enhance mental wellness for all.
DBSA recognizes the unique ways identity, culture, and access affect people living with mood disorders. We strive to create safe and inclusive spaces for individuals to feel empowered on their own path to wellness. DBSA seeks to create equitable access to peer support services and mental health resources and advocate for all individuals with a lived experience with a mood disorder, regardless of cultural and social identity or systemic barriers.
The above statement is a result of a commitment DBSA made to our community three years ago. One of our core beliefs is that the lived experience of people should inform everything DBSA does. For too long, DBSA didn’t recognize the gap in sharing peer voices from historically marginalized communities. Since June of 2020, DBSA has worked with peers and DEI experts to help us audit our internal policies, communications, and resources to bridge that gap.
Action starts with listening
We held listening sessions with Black members of our support group community and asked—how is DBSA currently supporting them and how could we do better? In those sessions, we learned that listening and practicing awareness were the most important entry points for creating inclusive spaces and resources for a more diverse audience.
Further, DSBA partnered with DEI strategist ADR Consulting to audit internal processes and train staff to look through a more equitable lens as we moved forward with our initiatives to support one another and our community.
In collaboration with peers and DEI experts, DBSA has been able to incorporate important messaging and learnings into our work. The three initiatives listed below moved multiple priorities forward: expanding peer support, increasing education and wellness resources, broadening the adoption of Peer Specialists throughout mental health delivery systems, amplifying the peer voice, and broadening and reaching a more diverse audience.
Though we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg, we stand committed to increasing awareness, improving our cultural competence, and learning from and sharing the voices of peers from historically marginalized communities.