Hayley Addesa
Features Writer

You see the commercials and hear the stories about depression and bipolar disorders. They seem common and yet not many people know what they are; even worse is the fact that not many know how common they really are.
Many people suffer from depression and bipolar disorder; they are the most prevalent mental illnesses today. Names like Owen Wilson, Heath Ledger, Demi Lovato, and Catherine Zeta-Jones are all familiar to us, but behind the names are the mental illnesses these people have battled. Because of their celebrity status it was a more public ordeal. Now imagine that, but with people you pass on the street. It is a part of everyday life: the illnesses are around.
Depression causes sadness, decreased activity and lack of interest, and feelings of worthlessness as well as numerous other intense symptoms. It is the most common disorder among people.

This is the logo for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

Bipolar disorder is another very serious mental illness. Emotions can unpredictably become extreme and mood swings occur in an intense manner. Unfortunately, some sufferers of these illnesses commit suicide as a result of their symptoms; thankfully, there is help available.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, or DBSA, is known to be the leading patient-directed national organization. It is one of the ways through which sufferers of these illnesses can find aid.
The focus of the group is, as titled, depression and bipolar disorder. The national DBSA organization is now at Millersville University through the Lancaster chapter. The objective of the organization is to provide education, peer-led support groups, community outreach activities, and, most importantly, hope. The group wants to provide a safe place for those who are in need of help.
Millersville student Jill DiPietro started the DBSA Lancaster chapter. Before coming to your first meeting, or to get more information on the group, you can contact her by phone at 973-903-4977.
The group consists of Millersville students who are helpers and are excited to make a difference, and they are looking for more people willing to join them. DBSA Lancaster will hold support groups. These will be peer-run and volunteer- led; essentially, they are a place for safe sharing and plentiful encouragement.
These support groups are not limited to those suffering from depression or bipolar disorder. The groups are also open to the families as well as friends of those who suffer from the illnesses. Support is offered to anyone who needs and wants it.
Meetings for this group are held at Lancaster General Health, which is located at 2100 Harrisburg Pike, in Wellness Conference 2. The meetings are conducted on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, the next one will be held this coming Thursday on October 3rd, at 9 p.m.
If you are looking for a supportive place to find help, you are more than welcome to join in on one of the support groups being held. Anyone is welcome and the volunteers of the DBSA are more than willing to help. No one is alone; there is always support and help to be given. Reach out to these support groups being provided by the DBSA, and if you don’t personally need the support, don’t be shy in helping.