DBSA is proud to recognize exemplary service by DBSA chapters and state organizations. Beyond peer-run support groups, chapter activities may include advocacy efforts, community outreach, education, and more.

Congratulations to our 2018 Award Winners!

2018 Chapter Service Award

DBSA Lehigh Valley (PA)

In 2018, DBSA Lehigh Valley made astounding efforts to not only positively impact their support group participants but their community at large. They focused on outreach events in the community as well as provided additional resources for the attendees.

DBSA Lehigh valley participated in events such as Pride in the Park and Out of the Darkness Walk to promote positivity surrounding mental health in the community. They have made efforts to reach out to local hospitals and healthcare providers which has gained them new participants every week. They have also made sure to keep facilitators up-to-date on trainings by holding a facilitator training every two months while evaluating what works well and what can be improved in their support groups.

‘Ending the Stigma’ is at the core of DBSA Lehigh Valley’s mission. In efforts to end the stigma they have incorporated more social group outings, they have developed a speaker series (consisting of nurses, doctors and therapists) and have literature regularly available so attendees can continue to educate themselves. DBSA Lehigh Valley is backed by a professional advisor, a full board of directors and 10 facilitators committed to improving the mental health of their community.

2018 Chapter Service Award

DBSA Colorado Springs (CO)

In 2018, DBSA Colorado implemented and engaged in many notable programs and events. They have participated in conferences, partnered with local middle and high schools, and were able to achieve one of the major goals in their 2015-2025 Strategic Plan that called for increasing their weekly support group meetings and adding a satellite location in Pueblo, CO.

To improve upon their support group, DBSA Colorado Springs developed a Facilitator Mentoring Program as a way to engage and increase the visibility of board members and facilitators as well as to collect data and garner feedback. They also held an exhibit and breakout session at the Advanced International Winter Symposium, receiving high ratings from those in attendance. They improved upon their Hospital Visitation program by concentrating on outpatient visits to two local psychiatric hospitals.

Most notably, DBSA Colorado Springs connected with local middle and high schools to provide presentations, participate in health fairs, and implement their facilitator training into one of the charter schools. Through this initiative DBSA Colorado Springs helped train high school students and school counselors on how to facilitate their own support groups for peers with mood disorders.

2018 Chapter Service Award

DBSA Bethany (OK)

2018 was a successful year for DBSA Bethany for their continued efforts to providing support to their support group participants and to those living with a mental health condition. DBSA Bethany keeps participants engaged by hosting social outings and birthday parties, holding weekly meetings, and inviting outside speakers to talk with participants several times a year.

DBSA Bethany is also involved in advocacy efforts and has made trips to Capitol Hill to lobby for more funding for mental health services. They have attended mental health conferences and attended the yearly NAMI walk to increase awareness of mental health.

They have made efforts to reach a broader audience by connecting with local high schools and libraries to share their stories, distribute information and educate the public on mental health topics. They regularly distribute flyers and run an ad in their local newspaper to advertise their weekly group meetings. DBSA Bethany is backed by steady leadership in Iva Cook who has been with DBSA Bethany for 15 years.

2018 State Organization Service Award

DBSA New Jersey

2018 proved to be an exceptional year for DBSA New Jersey from the development of new chapter organizations to partnering with professional organizations throughout New Jersey. DBSA New Jersey successfully held their annual conference for the 12th year in a row! They continue to maintain their website and (800) telephone line where they answer any questions regarding support groups.

DBSA New Jersey sponsored two facilitator trainings this past year and one advanced facilitator training. They have helped to promote DBSA through the New Jersey Statewide Network for Cultural Competence (NJSNCC) Annual Conference, the Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Wellness Center, Mental Health America (MHA) Walk for Wellness, and the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) NJ Conference. DBSA New Jersey is focused on supporting local chapters to address issues, assist in fundraising and provide any needed mentorship.

DBSA New Jersey’s commitment to the community at large was shown through their help and support of processing memorial donations for a young adult’s suicide and the passing of an advocate to cancer. Their continued support for local chapters, families and patients is truly commendable.

2018 Outstanding Facilitator Service Award

DBSA Revere (MA)

Matthew Xiarhos has been an active and invaluable member of DBSA Revere for two years. Matthew has engaged in outreach efforts to three different local hospitalization programs, once a month to advertise the DBSA support groups. With this outreach, DBSA Revere has seen a steady flow of new participants.

Matthew also implemented a new meditation practice at the end of each support group meeting for 3-5 minutes. This practice has helped members with sleep quality and stress reduction. DBSA Revere found that by incorporating a meditation practice, the group meeting ends on a positive note.

2018 Outstanding Leadership Service Award

DBSA Ocean County (NJ)

In 2018, Valerie Ryan held positions as the Vice President, Director and Facilitator of the DBSA Ocean County chapter. Faced with an unexpected change in the chapter’s leadership, Valerie stepped in without hesitation and took on the responsibility of leading support group meetings.

She juggles multiple responsibilities from hosting social events to managing paperwork and through it all she continues to provide encouragement and motivation to support group participants.

2018 Outstanding Professional Advisor Award

DBSA Revere (MA)

Dr. Vincent Vindice, PsyD has been an incredible supporter of DBSA Revere since its inception. He is always willing to provide resources and help the chapter get what they need. He has helped DBSA Revere in securing meeting spaces and guest speakers such as the staff psychologist from the MGH Revere Health Center. As a liaison between the chapter and the mental health professional community, Dr. Vindice has helped the chapter grow and add new members. Recently, he and the chapter celebrated its fifth-year anniversary.


About the State Organization and Chapter Awards

We recognize outstanding chapters, state organizations, and their leaders each spring through the annual Service Awards. Service Award winners receive a cash award, a commemorative plaque, ten copies of bp and esperanza magazine for one year, and recognition in DBSA publications.

The following awards are presented to outstanding chapters, state organizations, and individuals:

Small and Large Chapter Service Awards

DBSA will present an award for one small chapter and one large chapter for their chapter services benefiting people living with mood disorders, families/friends, and the communities in which they operate. Winning chapters will have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to one or more of the four primary functions of a DBSA chapter: Community Outreach, Education, Support, and Advocacy.

Chapter Rookie Service Award

DBSA will present up to one award to a chapter in its first year that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to one or more of the four primary functions of a DBSA chapter: Community Outreach, Education, Support, and Advocacy.

State Organization Service Award

DBSA will present up to one award to a state organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to one or more of the three primary functions of a DBSA state organization: advocacy, recruitment of new chapters or support groups, and existing chapter support and development.

Chapter Professional Advisor Service Awards

DBSA will present up to two awards to honor chapter professional advisors for exemplary service to their chapters. The award will be given to the chapter the professional advisor is associated with.

Outstanding Leadership Service Award

DBSA will present up to two awards to honor chapter or state organization leaders for exemplary service to their chapter or state organization. The award will be given to the chapter/state organization the leader is associated with.

Chapter Facilitator Service Award

DBSA will present one award to honor a chapter organization facilitator for exemplary service to their chapter organization. The award will be given to the chapter organization the facilitator is associated with.


Thank you to the following organizations for supporting Community Connectors and making the DBSA Chapter Service Awards possible.

  • Alkermes, Inc.
  • Allergan PLC
  • Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc

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