“I learned that many others have been through the same thing, and I found a network of people who gave me strength when I needed it most. Now I have the opportunity to help others.”  —Tom S. 

Michael Pollock, DBSA CEO

A Word from Our CEO 

As our nation adjusts to life after the COVID-19 pandemic, I am honored to lead DBSA amid our nation’s ongoing mental health crisis. In 2023 we embraced our roots in peer support, providing hope, help, support, and education to those living with mood disorders and their families and loved ones. I am excited to share more about this progress in our 2023 Annual Report.

In the landscape of mental health care, one glaring issue persists: the gap in availability of affordable and accessible services. It's a divide that leaves countless individuals grappling with their mental well-being without adequate support. At DBSA, we see this gap as a call to action, a challenge that demands innovative solutions and unwavering commitment.

Central to our mission is the belief that peer support can be a powerful catalyst for healing and recovery. Our network of support groups serves as sanctuaries of understanding, where individuals facing depression and bipolar disorder can find solace, empathy, and guidance from those who have walked similar paths. These groups not only provide a lifeline for those in need but also cultivate a sense of community and belonging that is invaluable on the journey toward wellness.

Moreover, recognizing the importance of specialized assistance, we invest in the training and development of peer specialists. These dedicated individuals, drawing from their own experiences with mental health challenges, offer a unique perspective and a depth of empathy that traditional approaches often lack. Through their guidance and mentorship, they serve as beacons of hope, guiding others toward the light of recovery.

In our commitment to equity and inclusion, we strive to ensure that our services are accessible to all, regardless of background or circumstance. We recognize that systemic barriers and disparities persist within our health care system, and we remain steadfast in our resolve to dismantle them. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just buzzwords for us; they are guiding principles that inform every aspect of our work

As we navigate the complexities of the mental health landscape, let us remember that change is possible, that hope is real, and that together, we can bridge the gap and build a future where mental health care is truly accessible to all.

With gratitude for your unwavering support,

Michael Pollock

Note from the Board Chair

In 2022, though COVID-19 was still very much a part of our lives, businesses and public events began opening their doors again. In fact, for the first time since 2019, the Gerald L. Klerman Award and Scientific Advisory Board Reception took place in-person, in New Orleans.   

Thankfully, conversations around mental health and reducing stigma remained top of mind. In late 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry jointly declared the soaring rates of child mental health conditions a national emergency. DBSA responded with a campaign to pediatricians and new resources for parents and caregivers. In addition, DBSA has taken an official position that all youth and families should have access to a robust crisis response system that has developmentally appropriate policies, staffing, and resources in place to respond to their needs equitably and effectively.  

Another movement to address the mental health crisis is the employment of the 988 number. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the 988-lifeline received over 2 million contacts, including calls, text messages, and chat messages nationally. This represents an increase of 43% over the previous year. Further good news, the response time decreased by 25% from the previous year.   

I am on DBSA’s board because I am grateful and so privileged to have met so many people and families affected by depression and bipolar disorder and have witnessed the resiliency and the amazing opportunities that are made possible when the medical profession works in unison with people who are affected by mood disorders.  

We are all enormously grateful to you, our supporters, and our community, as we go forward together in our relentless pursuit of mental health wellness for all. 

Roger McIntyre, MD, FRCPC,
Board Chair 


"This was back in the 70s and early 80s—they weren't eager to report what their experiences had been so if they were going to feel comfortable it was going to be among other people who had similar experiences." —Rose Kurland, DBSA Co-founder

Bridging the Gap: DBSA's Roots in Peer Support

As DBSA approaches 40 years of providing hope, help, support, and education to those living with mood disorders and their loved ones, we are reflecting on our deep roots in peer support. 

In the spring of 1978, Rose Kurland began her search for support and healing after being hospitalized for depression. Unable to find self-help support groups for people living with depression, she started her own support group in her living room. 

Recognizing the critical role of a support community and a self-directed wellness plan not defined by doctors, employers, or other outside sources, Rose founded DBSA to encourage peers to find hope for the future for all people living with mood disorders. 

More than 40 years after that first support group meeting in Rose’s living room, DBSA remains as committed as ever to our roots in peer support. While our country faces a dire shortage of accessible and affordable mental health care and services, we see peer support as a vital solution to bridging that gap and helping peers to find community, wellness, and hope. 

DBSA is committed to actions that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to enhance mental wellness for all. 

DBSA recognizes the unique ways identity, culture, and access affect people living with mood disorders. We strive to create safe and inclusive spaces for individuals to feel empowered on their own path to wellness. DBSA seeks to create equitable access to peer support services and mental health resources and advocate for all individuals with a lived experience with a mood disorder, regardless of cultural and social identity or systemic barriers. 

DBSA’s DEI statement reflects our core belief that the lived experience of people should inform all that we do. Recognizing that everyone’s lived experience is unique and that cultural context plays a huge role in that experience, DBSA centralizes DEI in everything from hiring practices to partner and vendor selection to the services we provide. In 2023, we launched new Culture and Identity-Focused support groups, allowing for safe spaces for peers with similar backgrounds and experiences to connect and find community. 

"It took years for me to actually find a Black therapist and Black psychiatrist, let alone other Black people who weren't in the profession that I could talk to and connect with. When I found out I could start an in-person group through DBSA, the rest was history. They know I'm not a therapist, and that's what makes people comfortable. Letting people know about the support that DBSA provides helps me shed any remnants of shame I used to feel about having bipolar disorder."—Umi, DBSA support group facilitator 

Find Community


Peer Support

Our community of people living with mental health conditions, their families, and mental health advocates are at the heart of who we are and what we do. DBSA’s free peer support groups are available in person and online to foster connections that lead to wellness. 

80 local DBSA Chapters

More than 20,000 online and in-person support group meetings offered annually

More than 250,000 people attended a DBSA Support Group in 2023

“Attending DBSA meetings helped me to release my shame and combat stigma. DBSA has taught me that I am a person first and not my illness. This support provides me with a constant source of hope and inspiration.” —Rhonda G., DBSA Support Group Facilitator

Almost 90% of DBSA Online Support Group attendees reported feeling more hopeful after a meeting

Identity-Focused Groups

DBSA recognizes the unique ways that identity, culture, and access affect people living with mood disorders and strives to create safe and inclusive spaces for individuals to feel empowered on their own path to wellness.

  • On average each month, our culture and identify-focused groups saw:
  • 20 people for the national online Veterans support group
  • 513 people for the national online Black community support groups
  • 92 people for the national online Rural community support groups

More than 80% of DBSA Online Support Group attendees reported learning new strategies for managing a mood disorder

Groups for Rural Communities

In March 2023, DBSA launched new online support groups for the Rural community. After hearing from rural peers in peer councils about their unique needs, DBSA recognized the ways geography often makes it difficult for individuals in rural settings to access care or find community, as well as the unique ways these communities perceive mental health conditions and the need for culturally competent support. From March 2023 through the remainder of the year, DBSA hosted an average of 10 Rural Community support group meetings each month.

Find Wellness

Wellness Tools and Resources

Because nobody else experiences wellness or illness the same way, you get to define what wellness means for you. Your definition of wellness can change over time, depending on life experiences and environments. Having tools to reflect where you are on your path can help you find and maintain wellness. In addition, using the DBSA Wellness Tracker can be a great way for you and your health care provider to keep track of moods and symptoms, which helps your overall treatment. 

resources downloaded

~1 Million
website visits

Transforming the Definition of Wellness for People Living with Mood Disorders

Significant progress was made in developing a new Depression Wellness Clinical Outcome Assessment. This included establishing Mayo Clinic as the Institutional Review Board of record for interviewing people living with major depressive disorder about our hypothesized framework. That partnership established Dr. Mark Frye, Chair of DBSA’s scientific advisory board as the principal investigator. This tool evaluates progress made and maintained in living in wellness for individuals living with depression and has the potential to improve medical product design and expand third-party reimbursement for treatment.

Peer Specialist Training Program

DBSA envisions peer support offered to every individual with a mood disorder as part of their treatment protocol. DBSA’s nationally renowned Peer Specialist Training Course trains people who have experienced their own mental health challenges to provide peer support to others with similar experiences, whether that takes place in a hospital or community-based setting. While the course is open to the public, DBSA is also a trusted source and leader in Peer Specialist Training for the Veteran Health Administration, California Mental Health Services Authority, and community-based veteran organizations such as Leave No Veteran Behind and Volunteers of America, Illinois.

“It was not until I attended the DBSA Peer Specialist Training that I found my true calling and niche. Using my past to help others aided me in not carrying that dark cloud with me. It took away the lack of discussion about my journey, and I have begun to help others with my past.”—Carrie Player Sexton, Ph.D, Certified Peer Specialist

Find Hope

Amplifying the Peer Voice

DBSA advocacy programs allow peers to share their experience with audiences including public health decision-makers and medical product developers. Last year:

  • Peers participated in 9 external events including panelists or presenters at conferences
  • 8 peer council groups were held
  • 3 peers represented DBSA on research stakeholder committees
  • Thousands of stakeholders, researchers, policymakers, and advocates heard the peer perspective, which supports treatment outcomes that are relevant to the peer.

DBSA Executed a Federal Legislative Strategy Toward Authorizing the Expansion of Peer Support Services

DBSA worked with our fellow mental health patient advocacy organizations in the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) on the introduction of the PEERS in Medicare Act. Specifically, DBSA recruited and prepared peer constituents in Nevada and Rep. Chu’s (CA-28) district to meet with Sen. Cortez Masto’s and the representative’s staff respectively. When passed, the bill will allow Medicare to reimburse for Peer Specialists, increasing access to peer support for seniors and increasing the impetus for private payers to cover peer support services.

individuals served as advocates and trained peer specialists and facilitators

Increasing Peer Engagement Creates More Opportunities

With communications such as e-newsletters, action alerts, and active recruitment, DBSA primes peers to engage in advocacy on a deeper level. In doing so, it encourages peer advocates to participate in future events, moving them up the advocacy chain.

“I have experienced discrimination, lack of access to care, and stigma, and I am still being targeted. I am passionate about peer support because I didn’t have a smooth experience when navigating the healthcare system. I want to be an ear to listen, a resource for help, a voice for those who cannot speak, and support people like me and my community.” —Nicole B., a student in DBSA’s peer support apprentice program, U.S. Army Veteran

DBSA Gerald L. Klerman Awards

The Gerald L. Klerman Award is the highest honor that DBSA gives to members of the scientific community. Presented each year, this award recognizes researchers whose work advances knowledge of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder. Up to two awards are given annually in each of the following two categories: DBSA Gerald L. Klerman Award, Senior Investigator and DBSA Gerald L. Klerman Award, Young Investigator.


Katherine E. Burdick, MD – Senior Investigator Award

Dr. Burdick is the Jonathan F. Borus, MD Distinguished Chair in Psychiatry and the Vice Chair for Research in Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Her work is focused on neurocognition in major psychiatric disorders, with specific expertise in bipolar disorder (BD). One of the first in the field to acknowledge the presence of cognitive impairment in BD, she has dedicated the past two decades to investigating the clinical, biological, neuroimaging, genetic, and functional correlations of this phenomenon.


Georgina Mayling Hosang, PhD – Young Investigator Award

Dr. Hosang is an Associate Professor at Wolfson Institute of Population Health. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on the impact of life stress (childhood trauma and recent life events) on the onset and course (including physical health outcomes) of bipolar disorder and depression. Dr. Hosang published one of the first papers showing that exposure to childhood maltreatment (abuse and neglect) considerably increases the odds of having multiple physical conditions for people with bipolar disorder.


Statement of Activities

2023 2022
Contributions 2, 421,660 2,182,652
Program Fees 219,653 366,884
Net Investment Income 126,256 (226,983)
Donated Goods and Other Services 3,600
TOTAL REVENUE 2,767,569 2,326,153
Program Expenses 2,261,142 2,506,124
Supporting Services Expenses
Management and General 453,530 514,003
Fundraising 550,368 438,624
Total Support Services 1,003,898 952,627
TOTAL EXPENSES 3,265,040 3,458,751
CHANGE IN NET ASSETS (497,471) (1,132,598)
Net Assets, Beginning of Year 2,837,387 3,969,985
Net Assets, End of Year 2,339,916 2,837,387

Statement of Financial Position

2023 2022
Cash And Cash Equivalents 715,492 774,836
Accounts Receivable 47,998 27,732
Contribution Receivable 334,992 279,848
Prepaid Expenses 59,979 205,985
TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS 1,158,461 1,288,401
Property and Equipment Net
Deposits 20,000 20,000
Investments 1,491,362 1,745,162
TOTAL ASSETS 2,933,551 3,433,732
Accounts Payable 122,023 85,242
Accrued Payroll and Vacation 100,118 110,639
Deferred Revenue 102,015 6,705
Operating Lease Liability 269,479 393,759
TOTAL LIABILITIES 593,635 596,345
Unrestricted 1,865,459 2,381,156
Donor Restricted 474,457 456,231
TOTAL NET ASSETS 2,339,916 2,837,387

Thank You

DBSA is deeply grateful for our community, staff, board of directors, volunteers, and donors who made our work possible in 2023 and beyond. We couldn't do it without you!

2023 Investors

$100,000 or more

Baszucki Family Foundation
The Dauten Family Foundation
Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Jay Herman Fund
Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc.

$25,000 - $99,000

Alkermes, Inc.
Axsome Therapeutics Inc.
Biogen, Inc. 
BioXcel Therapeutics
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Boeing Corporation
Kent and Liz Dauten 
Department of Health & Human Services
Department Of Veteran Affairs 
Harvard University (Medical School)
Intra-Cellular Therapies (ICTI)

Ellen Krantz
Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals
Myriad Genetics  
Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc.  
Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation  
Sage Therapeutics 
Sumitomo Pharma America, Inc.
Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.  
Teva Pharmaceuticals 
The Canning Foundation

$10,000 - $24,999

Andrew and Alice Fischer Charitable Trust  
Ms. Isela Bahena 
California Institute for Mental Health  
California Mental Health Service Authority (CalMHSA)
Carole B. and Kenneth J. Boudreaux Foundation 
Clexio Biosciences Ltd 
Community Health Charities
Compass Pathways Limited 
Miranda Cooper

Harri Hoffman Family Foundation
Henry Foundation, Inc.  
High Lantern Group
JNR Family Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 
Mr. Jordan Kurland 
The Marc Haas Foundation 
PlatformQ Health, Inc. 
Ms. Rebecca Weinstein Bacon

$5,000 - $9,999

Ms. Christy B. Beckmann and Mr. Jim Vykopal
Mrs. Frances S. Belasco
Suzanne and James Bergoffen
CouponCabin LLC
DBSA California State Chapter
Dr. Scholl's Foundation
Ms. Nancy Goodman and Mr. Michael Froman
HMP Global
House Of Cards

Mr. and Mrs. Ted Koenig
John Kurtz and Etty Indriati
Todd Lanscioni
Leave No Veteran Behind (LNVB)  
Mr. MJ Leman and Carolyn Leman
Ms. Susan L. Madian
Rendle Family Charitable Foundation 
Mr. Daniel Smulian
Dr. Altha Stewart
University Of Cincinnati

$2,500 - $4,900

Bernice Shanklin Charitable Fund
Mr. Edward Brill 
David and Liz Chandler
Mark A Frye, M.D. 
Steven and Jani Harris 
Kathleen Hooper 
Eileen Kamerick
Jim and Jane Ann Lockwood
Bridget Maul

Mr. and Mrs. James A. McShane
Network for Good  
Mr. Michael Pollock
Prime Inc.
Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP
Trisha Suppes, M.D., Ph.D.
Mr. Darrel K. Wilcox
Rachel Yeates

$1,500 - $2,499

Tatiana Allen
Dr. and Mrs. Mark S. Bauer
Kathleen Bernstein
Terrance and Georgia Blazevic
Mr. Danvers Boardman
Joel Braun
Mr. Eamonn Cleary
Ms. Roberta Culbertson
Sharnell Curtis-Martin, MBA
Daffy Charitable Fund
Carol Davis
Matthew Fuirst
Micahel Geary
Give Lively Foundation Inc.
Ms. Barbara J. Glynn
Madigan Graham
Justin Haber
Dr. and Mrs. Friedrichs Harris

Health Quality Partners of Southern
Karen and Seth Hieken
Brent Jensen
Gary and Lori Kash
Eva C. Kohegyi
Mrs. Merry Beth Kowalczyk
Ms. Ellen Malow
Mrs. Carole Mourad
Patient Access Network Foundation
Roy Perlis
Margaret Annett and Stephen Poma
David Rothbart
Michelle Rutman
Sarah Salice
Sara Madeleine Saz
Dr. John S. Tamerin and Ms. Susan Penry-William
W.Y. Campbell Family Foundation
Myrna Weissman, Ph.D.

$1,000 - $1,499

Krishna and Ja-Ling Agrawal
Tim Barnard
Paul Blakey
Amanda Briere
Ida and Steve Chan
CIBC Sixscense St Intachtrn
East Bay Community Foundation
Michael Floyd
Jeffrey Frishman
Dr. Mary A. Fristad and Dr. Joseph F. Fiala
Katie Geminder
Kendra Gonzalez
Marlea and Barry Gruver
James Hansen
Helen Brach Foundation
Michael Hexner
Steven Hollon
Ms. Cheryl Hope
Seth Hurwitz
Edward and Mary Jinks
Ms. Judith R. Klein
Mr. Michael W. Kuhl
Guillermo Marroquin
Pasquale Mascaro Jr.

Mayo Foundation
Roger S. McIntyre MD FRCPC
NAMI Newton Wellesley Eastern MA Inc.
Mr. David Nufer
David N. Osser, M.D.
Jerry and Myron Pavlon-Blum
Sriram Peddibhotla
Jonathan Poneman
Product Safety Consulting
Jelena Rosenberg
Ms. Victoria Rosskam
Christopher and Lori Rothko
Bridget Salice
Karen and Stephen Sanger
Mr. and Mrs. David Shoub
Dr. Gregory Simon
Barbara Stein
Brad Sund
Sight Takahashi
Joan Tanner
Tod Tappert
Ken and Pat Thompson
Cameron and Jane Thornton