DBSA was founded on the revolutionary idea: a supportive community of people living with depression and bipolar disorder could improve their quality of life. DBSA strives to provide welcoming and supportive spaces for people in our community, as well as help them connect with someone in a similar place in their mental health journey, and, in return, find hope.  

In December, we spread hope among our community by sharing peer stories collected throughout the year. All peers had an origin story and talked about what it was like when they were first diagnosed with bipolar disorder or depression. For many, these stories touched on stigma, confusion, shame, and challenges in their life. Stigma is harmful because it often prevents people from seeking help when they need it. It can also prevent family members and friends of people living with depression and bipolar disorder from intervening or speaking to a professional or peer counselor for guidance.

Stigma also makes it difficult for many to be clear and honest about their experiences, whether as a peer, family member, or friend. These barriers are often rooted in shame. Stigma contributes to exclusion, poor social support, social isolation, loneliness, and low self-esteem. Having to overcome stigma and discrimination is a challenging obstacle to achieving wellness.

DBSA advocates for positive representations of people living with mood disorders throughout society. Our education, outreach, and support of peer empowerment work to reinforce tolerance and equity. That’s why we highlight stories like those of Vanessa Harris, Vail Smith, and Lynn G. – to help spread awareness and end stigma.

There are many inspiring stories from DBSA peers. Read them all or find one that resonates with you.

Peer Stories

Peers Share Quotes of Hope on DBSA’s Hope Wall

How has DBSA helped you find hope? That’s the question we asked people to answer and submit – digitally, on social media, and in person in DBSA National’s office – to be shared on our Hope Wall. This is one more way that DBSA is helping our community find hope.

Read more notes and submit your own


See what staff in DBSA’s national office had to say.