Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston
P O Box 27607, Houston, TX 77227
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Mon - Fri
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fax: (713) 600-1137
General InfoIn response to a critical need expressed by individuals living with the illnesses of depression and bipolar disorder, a group of dedicated individuals formed the Depressive Manic Disorder Association (DMDA) Greater Houston in 1979. The Houston chapter joined the national organization in 1989. During the first 20 years of the organizations existence, volunteers took leadership positions to create DMDA Greater Houstons first board of directors. In 2003, DMDA Greater Houston changed its name to Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston (DBSA). Led by Gary Levering, a dedicated and enthusiastic participant, DBSA formed its own 501(c) (3) corporation. Mr. Levering utilized his personal experience and strong community connections to recruit and build the initial DBSA board of directors, and the Board is still strong and active today. DBSA free support groups help individuals, family members and friends understand these two difficult, yet treatable, mental disorders. In addition, DBSA works to educate the public about depression and bipolar disorders, confront social stigma and advocate for the rights of people living with mental disorders. Our free support groups are led by trained, dedicated and passionate facilitators. Our groups provide a compassionate environment consisting of peers who accept and understand each other. This sense of community and empathy gives participants encouragement to live more meaningful and healthy lives. Thanks to contributions from individual and foundations, DBSA is able to provide free support groups to individuals living with depression and bipolar disorder, as well as loved ones who are helping with their journey of wellness.
We have 51 Sites across the Greater Houston Area.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
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The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Greater Houston is a peer support group for people with Depression or Bipolar Disorder. The anecdotal accounts of individual struggles and successes with mood disorders are the most powerful ameliorative therapy outside of medication. The Houston branch is the local chapter of the national organization in Chicago. The national headquarters sets guidelines for local chapters but there is wide latitude across the country in conformity to those guidelines.
The knowledge that EVERYONE in the group has the mental illness of a mood disorder and is not in a superior position to judge or criticize one's behavior, and, most importantly, KNOWS personally exactly about what one is speaking when describing one's experiences with mood disorders is essential for the group's success. This requirement is the catalyst in getting participants to open up.
Unfortunately, Houston has taken a corporatist approach to structuring it's groups, allowing (requiring?) Facilitators who moderate the groups to have professional credentials WITHOUT having the disorder. In a properly functioning group, NO ONE who does not have the disorder would be permitted to attend, least of all the Facilitator, (an exception is made for spouses or friends attending in support of an afflicted individual.) Mental health care professionals would be BARRED unless attending as sufferers of the disorder.
The Houston chapter also controls all the meetings throughout Houston and its suburbs from the central office without feedback from participants. Group participants have no say about how anything is done. The result is that discussion is repressed both by the presence of an unafflicted health care professional and the enfeebling of self-assertion by a patronizing central office. This approach also confounds any aspect of sociability within the groups. If folks are all getting together to discuss a problem mutually shared, supportive social ties are likely to develop. It they are convening as subjects of a therapist, that doesn't happen.
Houston has forgotten that the most important descriptive adjective for a DBSA group is PEER.
It is hard to believe that the local chapter doesn't realize how its structuring has sabotaged the central purpose of the DBSA, but apparently it is ignorant.
Nevertheless, despite the deficiencies imposed by the Houston organization, local DBSA groups are still a valuable tool in stabilizing victims with mood disorders, even if but a pale shadow of their potential.
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