Our support groups are open to anyone over the age of 18 with a mood disorder, like bipolar disorder or depression, as well as to caring family members and friends of those affected by these conditions. Please realize that our groups focus strictly on mood disorders although an individual may have an additional, coexisting diagnosis.

More specific considerations:

If you live with a mood disorder: Most patients who attend our groups have a diagnosed mood disorder and are under the care of a physician. Many attendees also see or have seen a therapist. Only you, perhaps with feedback from your doctor or therapist, can decide if attending a support group is right for you at a particular time.
Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Occasionally, an attendee may say something that could emotionally trigger you.
  • A wide range of personalities exists at meetings. There is strength in diversity.
  • Don’t be offended if you disagree with a particular opinion someone shares.
  • Our groups are not “pity parties”. We seek to offer hope, help and encouragement.
  • We do not discuss medication by name/dosage nor do we suggest specific treatments.

If you are a family member/friend: You are welcomed to attend our groups. The meetings are enhanced by having parents, significant others, siblings, friends, etc. in attendance. Please understand, however, that our support groups are primarily patient-focused. Our emphasis is not on family education, although that may be part of the discussion. Time at our groups is limited, and we must first give attention to patients. Therefore, (depending on attendance) family members/friends may contribute or ask questions when time permits. Otherwise, we ask that you primarily observe. Most family members/friends feel that attending our groups is a valuable, worthwhile experience. If you are seeking to better understand how to effectively support a loved one, hearing patient discussion can add balance and objectivity to that endeavor.

If you are a psychology, nursing or medical student, mental health professional or representative of any organization (clinical trials firm, pharmaceutical company, etc.) and your visit relates to your work: Please contact us in advance by e-mail with the nature of your visit to see if we are able to make arrangements.

The size and composition of our groups varies from meeting to meeting. Typically, you’ll find a fairly broad range of ages and backgrounds and a mixture of patients and family/friends. You are invited to attend as many different meetings at various locations each month as you choose. Regardless of the location, you will find a core of fairly regular attendees coupled with newcomers at most any meeting. A variety of topics are discussed, such as depression support, bipolar support, family support, vocational concerns, relationship issues, doctor/therapist matters, general medication questions*, etc. Groups typically cover a broad range of thoughts and insights. *We do not discuss medication by name/dosage. Any discussion should be general in nature.

There is no charge to attend our meetings.

Absolutely. The meetings provide an opportunity for those with a mutual burden to share openly in an atmosphere where everyone respects each other’s privacy. Those who attend are expected to share nothing outside the meetings.

Meeting start times vary depending on the location. Please consult the calendar and meeting schedule. Most meetings last about 1 1/2 hours. PLEASE ARRIVE ON TIME!

The meetings are rather informal; however, they are facilitated by a trained peer (not a medical professional) volunteer. The main purpose of the meetings is to give people an opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns with the other group members. At most groups, there are people who have attended meetings in the past who are familiar with the process. If you prefer to just listen at your first meeting, that’s fine. The format and style of the various meetings varies somewhat depending on the location, group composition and who is facilitating. That’s the unique, dynamic nature of support groups. (Please Note: While a location may have a designated facilitator, that individual is not necessarily always present. Remember, however, that group success depends on all in attendance and not merely on who facilitates a particular meeting.)

Please realize that these groups are not therapy sessions. Because we must give adequate time for all those in attendance to share, we cannot take an inordinate amount of time dealing with a unique, personal situation. We ask that attendees avoid dominating the conversation or interrupting when someone else is sharing.

This rarely happens, but there may be an occasion when last-minute circumstances prevent a facilitator from being able to attend a meeting. If a facilitator fails to show up for a support group, those in attendance may decide to proceed by discussing matters mutually beneficial for everyone present. If any uncomfortable subjects or questions arise, hold discussion for the following meeting. Usually there will be someone there who has attended the group previously. That individual can help keep the meeting going to the extent possible. We appreciate your understanding.

Well, you’re normal! Choosing to do anything for the first time is not always easy. However, the truth is that actually attending a group is what will afford you the insight you need to make an informed decision as to whether or not support is right for you at this time in your life. When you do attend a meeting, you can decide how much you desire to share. You are always free to simply listen, as that can be of tremendous benefit. We want you to get what you need from our support groups. For support to be optimally effective, it needs to be ongoing. Therefore, the more you make attending our groups a routine part of your life, the better for your maintaining wellness. However, how often you attend is strictly your decision. We’ll be glad to have you whenever you’re available.

We welcome your questions. Please e-mail us at and just ask. We want you to have the information you need. Click “Contact Us!”