Depression and Bipolar ​Support Alliance
​National Capital Area Chapter

Weekly Update

January 9, 2022

Hello and welcome to the weekly email! If you have a suggestion or news item to share please send to [email protected] by 5:00 pm on Fridays.

Be sure to check out the chapter website at

DBSA NCA Peer Support Meetings

Thursday evening resumed in-person groups (DC and Oxon Hill) have now suspended their meetings once again. Further decisions on returning to in-person meetings will depend on the course of the omicron variant and be delayed until later in January.

This week the chapter will offer Zoom peer support groups as shown below. Please note that peer groups are for people living with depression and bipolar disorder. The Friends and Family group is for friends and family members of those living with depression or bipolar disorder (or other mental illnesses) to share the challenges of that relationship.

The group locations indicated below for virtual groups denote where these groups have met previously, and will probably return; however some groups will remain virtual indefinitely. Peers may opt to participate in any of the peer groups. The Zoom connection links for groups have changed for 2021. To join peer groups you use the same link to access any meeting at its scheduled time. The Friends and Family group (first and third Wednesday evenings) has a different link for its meetings. If the provided link is used online, a password should be unnecessary. Please let us know of any difficulties via [email protected].

Sunday Evening Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Sunday, January 9, 2022 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time

Beltsville Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Monday, January 10, 2022 at 7:00 PM Eastern Time

LGBTQIA+ Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
No meeting this week

Women’s Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 7:00 PM Eastern Time

Mid-Day Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time

Montgomery County Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 7:00 PM Eastern Time

Thursday Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 7:00 PM Eastern Time

Sunday Evening Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Sunday, January 16, 2022 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time

See our Support Groups page for up-to-date information on in person and virtual groups.

Invite link for all ZOOM PEER groups:

Meeting ID 662 587 4960 Passcode: dbsanca

One tap mobile +13017158592,,6625874960#,,,,,,0#,,3858633#

Dial in 301-715-8592 Meeting ID: 662-587-4960 Passcode: 3858633​

DBSA NCA Family and Friends Meeting

Family & Friends Meeting
No meeting this week.

Invite link for the FAMILY & FRIENDS group:

Meeting ID: 822 9854 4216 Passcode: dbsanca

One tap mobile +13017158592,,82298544216#,,,,*6740529#

Dial in 301-715-8592 Meeting ID: 822 9854 4216 Passcode: 6740529

DBSA NCA Call for Peer Stories

Would you like your story to be featured in this newsletter? DBSA NCA would love to hear about your mental health journey. Please submit your short essay of less than 500 words to [email protected] to have it published.

PoetSpeak - This Saturday

DBSANCA is sponsoring another of its POETSPEAK Poetry and Arts Evenings on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 7:00 pm ET. Everyone is invited and encouraged to bring a poem, a song, a musical performance, a piece of art, a short story, inspirational words, or anything they would like to share. These programs are meant to bring us closer together to socialize and share our gifts. After a time of COVID, we ARE READY to hear from each other.

Hosted by DBSANCA facilitator and poet, Billye Okera.

Join Zoom Meeting

One tap mobile +13017158592,,86452116445#,,,,*157051# US (Washington DC)

Dial  +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

Meeting ID: 864 5211 6445 Passcode: 157051

Find your local number:

DBSA at the Table on Mental Health Issues

The Chapter is pleased to announce that Eric Scharf, who serves as the DC Advocacy Chair, has been reappointed to a three year term on the Medical Care Advisory Committee. The committee has oversight of the District’s Medicaid program and related public health insurance programs. He will also continue in his role as Chair of the Eligibility and Enrollment Subcommittee.  

Eric serves as a voice for those who live with mood disorders, by ensuring that DC provides a comprehensive range of physical and mental health services. These services are intended for those residents who are enrolled in the public health care system. More than 40% of individuals in the Medicaid program have mental health needs, making it the largest payor of behavioral health services for the residents of the city. 

We are excited that Eric is able to provide a peer perspective to city decision makers. He encourages individuals who have utilized these programs to contact him about any concerns or issues they may have with DC mental health services at [email protected].

DC Advocacy Chair Provides a Peer Voice at National Conference

Advocates are often asked to tell their stories. DBSA Federal Advocacy Advisor Eric Scharf recently had this opportunity at one of the largest annual events for mental health practitioners: Psych Congress in San Antonio, TX. This year, DBSA was invited to partner in the planning process and helped ensure participants heard the peer voice.

Eric talked about living with depression and COVID and how he worked through issues of social isolation during the pandemic. He also shared his experience with treatment-resistant depression and his almost thirty-year journey through a range of treatment options.

The sessions were titled:  

In both programs, Eric shared how he uses a variety of strategies, including many he has gained from his years participating in DBSA support groups. He called on mental health prescribers to work with their patients to develop treatment plans that address their concerns. He encouraged practitioners to promote peer support programs as part of their patients' wellness journeys.

Scharf was not the only peer advocate present at the conference. Many of the programs featured individuals who had motivating stories to tell. Poet and author Yashi Brown gave a motivating keynote presentation using spoken word to describe her journey with bipolar disorder as a young person. NYC-based peer advocate Katherine Ponte participated in a panel discussion “Living Well: Quality of Life along the Road to Recovery.” Her husband, Izzy Goncalves, joined her and talked about his role as a spouse and caregiver. Participating in conferences like this is a valuable opportunity to amplify the peer voice to clinicians and other professionals who work with mood disorders. Please reach out to Eric if you would be interested in being considered for future programs where the peer voice is needed.

DBSA January Facilitator Training

Want to serve as a moderator for our support groups? You must first complete facilitator training to participate. Interested parties should mark their calendars for the next Support Group Facilitator Training session. Sessions will be held on January 21, 2022, and January 28, 2022, at the following time:

3 PM – 7 PM Eastern time
2 PM – 6 PM Central time
1 PM – 5 PM Mountain time
12 PM – 4 PM Pacific time

Please note that participants must attend both sessions in order to receive credit for participation. If you are interested, please email [email protected] for more information.

News and Resources From National DBSA

DBSA News A monthly, informative newsletter released by the national organization

I’m Living Proof: A Letter to My Younger Self Collection of podcasts and blog posts that document the lives of young adults who have a mood disorder

National DBSA Wellness Wheel Easy-to-use tool that measures progress by utilizing seven distinct areas of focus  

DBSA Wellness Toolbox Tools to help you communicate better with your doctor, keep track of your symptoms and moods, and record the progress you’re making

Mental Health Screening Center Basic set of diagnostic criteria for mood disorders. Not intended to take the place of a licensed professional

8 Tips on Setting Boundaries for Your Mental Health - DBSA Guidelines for keeping yourself strong and safe

Ten Grounding Strategies To Help You Redirect Your Thoughts Relaxation techniques that can be used to produce calm and reduce stress

Suicide Prevention Information Information and guidance for those who struggle with suicidal ideations. Included as well is a list of warning signs

Events Outside of DBSA

Mind Your Mind Mondays: MHAMD - Mondays at 6:30 PM- 7:30 PM​event/mind-your-mind-mondays-3/ 

The Mental Health Association of Maryland’s Vibrant Aging: Peers Program is a weekly opportunity for older Marylanders to learn about brain health and engage with others around mental wellness, with a different topic every week.

Events page for MHAMD:

Studies & Opportunities

Healthy mothers aged 18-50 who experienced PPD are invited to participate in a 7-month study at NIH with appointments every two weeks. Call 301-496-9576 NIMH » Adults: Postpartum Depression

Depression: Repeated Doses of Ketamine, and Neuroimaging - NIMH Call 1-877-MIND-NIH to find out if you qualify. is a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world. You can search for studies involving a specific disease or condition, such as “bipolar disorder,” and for ones recruiting or soon to be recruiting participants.

Further Resources

Recent articles from BP Magazine (BP Hope) and Hope to Cope

Contributions to DBSA

Donations to the National DBSA may be made through the website.

The DBSA NCA homepage has a donation link which may be used for online contributions via PayPal or major credit card. Others may prefer to mail a check, payable to DBSA NCA, to our chapter's address​ on the website. Our chapter is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us via email or our dedicated voicemail line, 240-780-8706​.

In Health,

The DBSA NCA Web Team