Depression and Bipolar ​Support Alliance
​National Capital Area Chapter

Weekly Update

February 13​, 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

With the evolving public health crisis DBSA has suspended in-person meetings. As the situation improves the intent is to restart these meetings in the coming weeks. Watch here for further announcements.

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, February 13, 2022 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time

Beltsville Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Monday, February 14, 2022 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time

LGBTQIA+ Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time

Women’s Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
No meeting this week

Mid-Day Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time

Montgomery County Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
No meeting this week

Thursday Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time

Sunday Evening Zoom Peer Support Group Meeting
Sunday, February 20, 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​

Google Calendar Link

DBSA NCA Family and Friends Meeting

Family & Friends Meeting
Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at 7:30 PM Eastern Time

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

Google Calendar Link

DBSA NCA Board Changes

The DBSA NCA Chapter Board of Directors is pleased to welcome a new Treasurer, Vibha, and new board member, Stephanie. Our long term board member and Treasurer, Amy, has stepped down due to family concerns. If you would like to volunteer as a part of our chapter’s governing body, please contact [email protected].

DC Council Health Committee Hears from DBSA

On Monday January 24th, DBSA’s DC Advocacy Chair Eric Scharf testified before the DC City Council’s Committee on Health at their annual performance oversight hearing for the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH). This is an opportunity for community members to address government leaders on issues of concern about mental health issues in the city. In his testimony Eric touched on three area of concern:

In the testimony he called upon DBH to be more transparent about its opportunities for the public to be aware of funding opportunities and to enhance the current behavioral health crisis response system. A key concern for DBSA is to ensure that certified peer support specialists are a central player in the mental health crisis response system.

Following the hearing DBH senior executive Dr. Richard Bebout, who is leading DC’s mental health crisis response system, reached out to Eric to request a meeting to further hear our concerns about improving the crisis response system. We look forward to further opportunities to help shape DC’s programs to the benefit of peers who live with mood disorders.

DBSA NCA Peer Stories: Kevin

“My mental health journey? Where should I even begin? I’ve told this story so many times to so many people that it often seems to me that I’m sharing the details of someone else’s life. It feels like I’m up on stage, playing an all too familiar, but well-loved song—a hit single where a happy crowd always sings along with me, but a song I now completely despise.

I’d always been a sickly child. You name it, I got it. Hearing loss because of perpetual infant ear infections? Check. Nocturnal enuresis? (Look it up, if you wish) Every night until I was thirteen. Severe acne that required a nuclear bomb’s worth of medication? That, too. Out of school for two weeks in first grade due to a surprisingly tenacious case of chickenpox, with a scarlet fever kicker? Yep, that as well.

No one thought to attach a label to my most pressing concern, an anxiety disorder. Case in point: watching Saturday college football games down here in the fall and early winter are high holy days unto themselves. When my team won, I was elated. When my team lost, I cried and sobbed profusely. Once, as a boy, I remember running outside, entirely devastated, following a losing game—running right out into the rain. Vividly, I remember this downer of a day. If I close my eyes, I can recall what it looked like when a severe downpour sent a steady stream of rain down driveways, off lawns, into concrete sewers.

I had always been shy and introverted and nervous. Many people thought I was just quiet and withdrawn, which was at least somewhat true. True depression didn’t really arrive until I was fifteen or so. The psychiatrist who treated me at the time woefully misdiagnosed my disorder. He believed that I had ADHD, and so I was prescribed chemical stimulants, albeit at dangerous doses. In a matter of months, he’d turned me into a speed freak.

When I eventually crash landed, it required a two-month hospitalization in the psychiatric unit. Most of those memories I simply do not retain. I’m glad that I don’t. When I was around seventeen, I was one of the last patients given high-voltage electroconvulsive therapy. My memories of this time are extremely fuzzy and usually non-existent. I do remember trying to read a book, getting through the first fifteen pages, then immediately forgetting all that I had read, which forced me to start again from the beginning. 

My parents found one of the best psychiatrists in the country. He took me on as a personal challenge, due to the severity of my illness. I was told that if I was truly bipolar, I’d have my first manic episode by my early twenties. And indeed, I did.

I’ve had similarly trying and taxing periods in other stages of my life, but this was the absolute worst it ever has gotten. Now that I’m informed and aware of what to expect, I am not caught flat footed anymore.”

–Kevin, DBSA NCA Peer Member

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.

News and Resources From National DBSA

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

Mood Crew Tools | For Ages 4-10 Meet the Mood Crew from DBSA helpful information for children

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

Webinar - Rapid-acting Treatments for Pediatric Depression and Suicidality: Where are We Now?: Brain and Behavior Research Foundation - Tuesday March 8 at 2:00 PM EST

Meet the Scientist Webinar Series - Investigating Neurobiology and New Treatments for Addiction, Depression and Anxiety: BBRF - Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 2:00 pm EST

Mind Your Mind Mondays: MHAMD - Mondays at 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM 

The Mental Health Association of Maryland’s Vibrant Aging: Peers Program is a weekly opportunity for older Maryland residents 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