Support for Support Groups

The chances that you or someone you know is living with a serious mental illness is 1 in 17—and we’re not talking about periodically getting the blues, but schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. Coping with those illnesses are even more difficult for those living in Nevada, where the mental health system received a D grade on both the 2006 and 2009 National Alliance on Mental Illness report card.

The Las Vegas branch of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and Hope of Nevada have tried to plug the support gap with training and an around-the-clock helpline (818-5634). But grant money has dried up in recent years, and the program now has less than $100 in the bank, says Cheryl Murphy, president and founder of both Hope of Nevada and the local DBSA.

“DBSA is self-supporting through donations, membership and grants — that’s it,” she says. To sustain the program, DBSA is seeking not only donations but also volunteers.  The organization is offering free peer-specialist training Sept. 17-21 and free leadership training Nov. 8-9. For more information, visit or call 234-9068.