The Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance (D.B.S.A.) of Greater St. Louis was founded in November 1980 by Dolores and Dan Segal. The Segals were driven by a desire to reach out and provide assistance to others who, like Dan, were affected by bipolar disorder. As the Segals learned more about depression and bipolar disorder, they recognized the great importance of moral support from family, friends, and mental health professionals in the successful treatment of mental illness. Consequently they formed one of the area's first support groups with the intent of providing an empathetic and recovery-minded atmosphere for individuals with depression and bipolar disorder.
Thirty-five years later, the D.B.S.A. of Greater St. Louis continues to operate self-help groups in the St. Louis metropolitan area. These consumer-driven groups have assisted thousands of people by engendering within them a sense of compassionate community. While our mission has nominally been limited to providing self-help and mutual assistance to individuals with affective disorders, these groups have always been open to any mental health consumer capable of participating in the group process.
The St. Louis Empowerment Center, a peer-run mental health drop in center, was founded in late 1996 as a program of the D.B.S.A. of Greater St. Louis. Initially headquartered in a basement South Grand Boulevard, the St. Louis Empowerment Center has grown to encompass three stories at our current location on Olive Street. Though a great deal has changed in the intervening nineteen years since the Empowerment Center initially came into existence, our mission remains the same: to provide opportunities for program participants to create an empowering, non-hierarchical environment of their own design in which the concepts of self-help and mutual aid both flourish. Support groups and education programs are formed in response to the needs of those in attendance. Leadership skills develop because of the need for leadership. Decision making is participatory and rules and standards of behavior are self-imposed and self-enforced. The Empowerment Center is clean, safe, alcohol and drug-free, and intolerant of intolerance. Everyone is welcome to make use of our services.