Support Groups

Support groups can help ease some of the frustrations and fears that may accompany a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder, and they can provide a safe place to discuss issues such as suicide and grief in a way that can promote healing. The Depression Center, Department of Psychiatry, and other partners offer a variety of groups and educational workshops for patients, family members, and loved ones, all professionally facilitated by social workers and other health care professionals:

There will be no support group on Dec 26, 2018

Depression & Bipolar Disorder

Free support groups and family education workshops through the Depression Center and Department of Psychiatry offer additional therapy options and learning opportunities for individuals and families with bipolar disorder and depression. Held at the Rachel Upjohn Building, these groups and workshops offer patients and their families a chance to develop a support network and learn more about these illnesses, including discussions about risk factors, treatments, coping, healthy communication methods, and stigma.

The groups are open to anyone who wishes to learn more about depression and bipolar and find support for themselves or a family member, although some require advance registration. Please note that the free workshops and support groups are separate from therapy groups for children, adolescents, and adults that require a referral from Department of Psychiatry staff members.

Family Education Workshops

A two-hour workshop that offers patients and families the opportunity to learn about depression and bipolar illness while gathering information about risk factors, treatments, impact on families and healthy ways of communicating with each other. Attending a group meeting means that you will meet others with your circumstances and condition. Each member of the group will be asked to be respectful of confidentiality and will sign a statement saying they will not disclose any confidential information.

1st Wednesday every other month
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Room B1742(Garden Level Conference Room) -map-

Group Leader: Laura Nitzberg, LMSW

Cost: Free, however advance registration is required. Register by calling Susan Wonnacott at 734-764-0250 or register below.

Upcoming Groups:

Due to space limitations, priority is given to families and patients currently being seen in the U-M Depression Center and U-M Department of Psychiatry. All adolescent and adult family members are welcome to attend.

Depression and Bipolar Illness Support Groups

These two groups offer opportunities to share ideas for coping, link with community resources, develop a support network, learn about depression and bipolar illness, and discuss issues of stigma.
2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm Group A – for Adults with Depression and Bipolar Illness Group B – for Family Members of Persons with Depression and Bipolar Illness
Group Leaders: post-graduate social work fellows will be the facilitators of the groups in conjunction with Laura Nitzberg, LMSW, supervising the program. Cost: Free

Other Depression and Bipolar Support

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance(link is external) (DBSA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness(link is external) (NAMI) also maintain searchable lists of support groups and links to local resources that allow you to find help in your area, wherever you may live. NAMI Washtenaw County(link is external) offers support group options both for family and friends of individuals with mental illness, and for people living with mental illness.

College Students

The Campus Mind Works(link is external) program provides facilitated drop-in support groups that are open to any U-M student who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, and/or chronic anxiety, or anyone who is interested in obtaining more information about these issues. These groups run twice-monthly during the school year. Visit the Campus Mind Works(link is external) site for the current schedule of groups and an archive of materials from past presentations. In addition, monthly support groups for adolescents and college-aged individuals with depression or bipolar disorder are held monthly at the Rachel Upjohn Building.

Survivors of suicide

This support group for adults who have lost a loved one to suicide holds twice-monthly meetings that run for eight-session cycles. The group offers opportunities to:
  • Develop a caring support network
  • Learn healthy coping and healing skills
  • Provide a safe place for survivors to share thoughts and feelings
  • Learn about bereavement and grief and their impact on us

The group meets on the UM campus (location provided at registration) the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 7-9:00 p.m. The support group is free, but pre-registration is required, and only adults 18 years or older may attend. Sessions are professionally facilitated by social workers from Michigan Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. Contact John Kettley, LMSW or Jim Svensson, LMSW via email at to register or learn more.

Other Survivor Groups

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention(link is external) maintains a searchable list of support groups for survivors of suicide around the country.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
NAMI Washtenaw County Support Groups - Find out more