BUCKHANNON — The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) of Upshur County wants people to know that those seeking help can place their trust in them. The DBSA provides peer support meetings where people struggling with depression or bipolar disorder, along with those who care about them, can share experiences, discuss their coping skills and place hope in each other.
The DBSA has many different chapters located throughout the country. The Upshur County DBSA offers large amounts of free literature on all the kinds of mental health illnesses, available for anyone to pick up. They also have information focused on teens, men and women, designed for family members and caregivers.
Director of the Upshur County DBSA Andi Cartier mentioned that a main facet of the local alliance is the peer-to-peer support, along with peer specialists there to provide services to those with mental illnesses. “Even though the name has depression and bipolar in it and there is a focus on that, we help anyone who comes through our doors seeking help. It doesn’t matter the type of mental illness, we are here to support any way we can,” Cartier explained.
Even with limited staff and still being in the process of expanding, their goals and hearts remain vigilant in helping whoever they can, whenever they can. “We’re keeping a sharp eye out on the grants—the ones that would most fit us. We’re hoping to find somewhere closer to downtown so it’s within walking distances of that area. All we need is one room and a bathroom. We can make do with that, but it kind of needs to be ground level or possibly have elevator accessibility,” she mentioned.
Cartier continued, “The DBSA WV State Office had relocated, and that resulted in the closure of its grant-funded Drop-In Center in Buckhannon on October 31 of this year.” The DBSA of Upshur County was formed in 2006 with the huge help of board member Diana Thompson. It has continued to seek and maintain peer support services for the community through applications for new grants and support from the community. “The grants take a long process to obtain,” Cartier stated. “The Upshur County DBSA continues to secure the support of the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church to help provide a place for monthly Peer Support Groups; however, we still need a centrally located area that we can re-open our drop-in center. We are seeking interim funding for basic administrative and service costs, resource materials and other needs necessary for our growth.”
Depression and bipolar disorder affect more than 21 million Americans across the country. According to the DBSA, these disorders account for 50 percent of suicides each year. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America and is twice the homicide rate. Among Americans age 10 to 35, suicide is the second leading cause of death, and ranks fourth for cause of death for those age 36 to 54. Three million adults reportedly live with mental illness and a substance use disorder.
Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how a person feels, thinks and acts, but it is treatable. Symptoms are often characterized by feelings of sadness but may also appear as irritability or apathy.
Bipolar disorder is associated with extreme changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior, and was previously known as manic depression. Frequently, those with mental illness resort to drugs as a coping mechanism. It is out of great understanding that groups and people out there offer their time and knowledge for individuals facing these challenges with mental disorders.
If you have a suitable downtown location the group could utilize, DBSA would love to hear from you. For more information about seeking help or supporting the Upshur County DBSA, please contact DBSA Director Andi Cartier at [email protected], reach her on Facebook @dbsaupshurcounty or call her at 304-613-0064.