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an affiliated chapter of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)


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MDDA-Boston Support Groups*

MDDA-Boston offers a variety of support groups for both people with affective disorders and their friends and families. Observers, please read our Observer Policy.  Our groups are support groups, not therapy groups, that allow our members to share feelings, experiences, and strategies for coping with our illnesses. Groups are facilitated by MDDA members who receive ongoing training in group leadership.

Daytime Drop-in Groups (described below) meet on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 132 off the de Marneffe Cafeteria at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA. 

All other MDDA-Boston support groups meet every Wednesday night from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the de Marneffe Cafeteria at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA except when guest lecturers are scheduled. On those nights support groups will meet from 8 to 9 p.m. following the speaker.

Support group attendees must be willing to adhere to the MDDA Share/Care Guidelines.

The following support groups are currently offered and are provided by MDDA peer facilitators:

  • Creativity - Uses the regular support group format but with a creative twist. Group members bring art supplies and create art while different participants talk about their feelings and concerns. They are encouraged to finish their work by the break (this group always meets for two hours), and upon their return share their work which leads to further discussion. This group is shown in several galleries in the Metropolitan Boston area. Meets on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays.
  • Daytime Drop-in- MDDA-Boston offers daytime drop-in groups on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in addition to our Wednesday night meetings. A psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, or other provider is often on hand to answer group members' questions about dealing with illness and/or wellness. Most of the two hour meeting is spent in discussion of how individuals are coping with life and offering suggestions on where to get help and resources. Meets Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in Room 132 off the de Marneffe cafeteria. Family and Friends of those with Mood Disorders are also welcome to attend these groups.
  • Depression - The Depression group provides an opportunity for members to share feelings and experiences regarding living with depression with others who have had similar experiences in their own lives. This group typically contains a mix of unipolar and bipolar people who are dealing with depression and the effect it has on the people in our lives. The group helps everyone remember that depression is not generally a permanent way of life and to recognize the great strength and resilience of people with mood disorders. Meets weekly.
  • Dual Diagnosis - This group deals with the "double trouble" of having either a bipolar or depressive illness and a substance abuse or alcohol problem at the same time. The substance use or abuse may or may not be current. Even those who attend AA regularly find a special support from those who can share the understanding of the need to treat both illnesses simultaneously to achieve wellness. Meets weekly.
  • Family & Friends - People with the illness are not the only ones affected. Friends and family need support as well. This special group gives friends and family members a chance to vent and share with others going through the same experience of having someone close to them become ill. This is one of our largest attended groups and friends and family members facilitate the group. Meets weekly.
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning(GLBTQ) Group - Those suffering from depression or bipolar illness from the GLBT Community meet to discuss issues relevant to their specific life experiences. This includes the stigma associated with the two issues of alternative lifestyle choices and mental illness. Meets every 3rd Wednesday.
  • Maintaining Stability- This group is a place for individuals who have learned about and worked through various states of their illness. Participants share coping skills, treatment strategies, and suggestions for ongoing health. These ideas are designed to prevent relapse and to return individual members to an optimum level of functioning. Recent topics include relationships (accepting broken ones and establishing new ones), careers (addressing return to work issues), and treatment issues (cognitive therapy, medication management, working with a therapist, alternative medicine, enlisting spiritual support). Meets weekly.
  • Mania & Bipolar Issues - Mania is a difficult topic because it covers a unique range of emotions and experience. Participants learn to appreciate this range through honest and voluntary sharing and humor. The tug between the energy of hypomania and the containment of medication serves as one of many topics. The ultimate goal - to stay out of the hospital and lead a productive life - provides the underlying theme for group discussions. Meets weekly.
  • Newcomers' - Newcomers' group is a must for MDDA first-timers and anyone interested in reacquainting themselves with all that MDDA offers. All MDDA-Bostonnewcomers, including family and friends, are encouraged to attend. As the MDDA orientation group, Newcomers' focuses on providing information on the MDDA organization as a whole, as well as the range of share/care groups, lectures, and other events, resources, and services that form the core of MDDA-Boston. Newcomers' meetings usually conclude with a share/care session that is typical of other MDDA-Boston groups. Meets weekly.
  • Open Exchange - This provides an opportunity for people with mood disorders and people from our Family and Friends' group to mingle. They share concerns across the aisle, help each other understand and cope with their respective positions, and foster empathy. Meets every 2nd and 4th Wednesday.
  • Partners - This is a group where the partners of those with affective disorders get together and share coping strategies and issues with each other. ""Partners" is facilitated by a peer. Meets every 1st and 3rd Wednesday.
  • Schizoaffetive Support Group - This is a support group for people diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder. It meets the first Wednesday of every month.
  • Spirituality - This is a group for people to discuss spiritual issues and how their spiritual life affects their manic depression and depression. Issues include: religious upbringing, the psychiatric medical model, and relationship with a higher power (Creator). Meets the fourth Wednesday of each month.
  • Thirty Plus - Similar themes as "Young Adults" but for older group members. Meets weekly.
  • Women’s Issues- The Women's group provides a haven for women who feel more comfortable participating in share/care sessions made up of women only. The female-only environment is often conducive to discussion of topics specific to women, but a wide range of subjects may be covered depending on the group's needs and interests. Meets weekly..
  • Young Adults - (Ages 18-29) This group provides a safe place for young adults to share feelings about age-related issues. Jobs, relationships, stigma, and fitting in socially are common themes in the Young Adults group. Sometimes there is controversy about where we stand in society. There is often laughter and we tend to show up expecting an exciting event. There is an environment of acceptance and openness and hopefully people leave feeling that there is nothing to be ashamed of or fell bad about regarding their illness. Meets weekly.

    *All groups are open to peers only. For example, you must have Bipolar Illness to attend the Bipolar/Mania group, etc.  If a family/friend wants to join a group for people with the illness, or a person with the illness wants to go to family and friends, please go to the Open Exchange group where you will have the opportunity to converse with family, friends, depressive, and bipolar individuals.

Email or Contact us at 617-855-2795
Our Office Hours: Tues-Wed-Thurs, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Hotline services are available through other organizations
PO Box 102. 115 Mill Street. Belmont, MA 02478. Fax: 617-855-3666
Last Update: June 4, 2006

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