Frequently Asked Questions

FAQIs there a fee to attend a meeting?

We ask for a $5 donation for non-members that can afford it but we never turn anyone away.


Do I need to be a member to attend a meeting?

No. We offer individual membership for $45 person and $65 per family but it is not required to attend a meeting.


Do I have to sign up in advance?

To attend a meeting you do not need to pre-register or be a member. Simply go to the sign-in table and let the volunteers know that it is your first time and they will direct you to the most appropriate group.


When is the latest I can come into group if I’m running behind? Can I notify someone in advance?

We ask members to attend by 7:30. It can be distracting to walk into a meeting while another member is sharing. While we strongly encourage people to come on time we try to accommodate everyone.

We often have a latecomer or mixed group that combines members from under 30, bipolar and unipolar. When groups are full the coordinators must limit groups at their discretion and typically do not let anyone in past 8:15.


How large are the groups?

We find the optimal group size is 8 to 12 people. The size of the group depends on the size of the room and the number of facilitators available. Facilitators try to give members enough time to share, cross-talk and address each topic brought up during the introduction.


How can I volunteer?

We encourage members to volunteer to support coordinators set up and close the site, sign in and greet new members, volunteer on our warm line and participate in special projects.

Volunteers interact with people outside of their usual group, help to grow the organization and optimize the group experience.


What is the objective of your meetings?

MDSG has created a confidential forum for people with a mood disorder to openly discuss their issues in a healthy, safe and respectful environment with other people that empathize.

Empathy, camaraderie and the ability to learn and grow are strong reasons why people continue to come to group every Wednesday and Friday.

For more details see the MDSG mission and credo page .


What are some of the issues you discuss in group?

The topics and breadth of discussions vary from group to group. Each group tends to touch upon stigma, diagnoses, medication, work, anxiety, triggers, therapists and different forms of therapy, coping skills, book recommendations, etc.


I’m nervous about attending group. What can I expect when I walk into my first meeting?

The dynamic of each group varies but the groups are run similarly. Some members connect instantly in their first meeting while others may need a few meetings to decide if MDSG is a good addition to their support system.


Do I need a diagnosis to attend a meeting?

You do not need an official diagnosis to attend a support group. You do however need to identify with a mood disorder to attend a meeting for yourself or attend as a friend and family member to someone who identifies themselves with a mood disorder.


What is unipolar?

Synonymous with being depressed, or having experienced being depressed


What is bipolar?

Defined by having had one or more episodes of mania or hypomanic episodes often coupled with episodes of depression


How is MDSG funded?

MDSG is funded through our nominal fee for annual membership, weekly donations from non-members, book sales through Amazon Smile and charitable donations.


How does the money I donate each week get spent?

MDSG receives minimal revenue each year and fights to stay in the black. MDSG keeps a modicum reserve for large-scale projects such as the new website and operational expenditures such as facilitator training, continuing education, workshops, materials for both sites, our newsletter and other print and our annual holiday party.

Please go to Guidestar to access MDSG’s 990 tax documents. Guidestar connects donors and grantmakers to non-profit organizations.


Who runs your groups, a therapist or social worker?

MDSG is a peer support group. Our groups are run by the pool of members who have longevity, and demonstrated a willingness and ability to facilitate.


What are your plans to grow MDSG?

MDSG meets every Wednesday and Friday. The board and coordinators actively meet with facilitators and members to determine new ways to expand our services. MDSG grows through word of mouth, our website and actively meets with outpatient programs and with our affiliate organizations.


Are you affiliated with organizations outside New York City?

Yes. MDSG is affiliated with the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).


Can I sit in a group for a class or social study?

No. Groups need to remain confidential, healthy, safe and respectful to members and can only be attended by those with a mood disorder or in support of a family member, a friend or a loved one with a mood disorder.


How do I become a facilitator?

Members that prove to have an ability to make sure the groups run smoothly through non-judgment and mutual respect are asked by coordinators to attend facilitator training. Facilitator training takes place every four to six months all day on Saturday and Sunday. From there the new facilitators observe and run groups alongside a seasoned facilitator until they feel comfortable running groups by themselves.