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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 6/22/2012

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


Facing Us
Chicago, Illinois

Start Date

Brief Description
Launched in August 2007, the Facing Us campaign was developed by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) with the goal of putting a real "face" on depression and bipolar disorder and to provide wellness tools for individuals "facing" life with a mood disorder. The campaign consisted of two phases; the first phase consisted of a video and art contest for individuals living with mental illnesses and a public service announcement (PSA) contest for film students and production studios. The second phase introduced, an interactive "club site" providing personal wellness tools and resources to individuals living with mood disorders as well as the general public.

If you live with depression or bipolar disorder-or are simply seeking inspiration and support for living a full, healthy and happy is your online home for wellness.

According to DBSA, more than 20 million American adults or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older have a mood disorder. Unfortunately, many people do not get the help they need because of the misunderstanding surrounding the illnesses or the fear associated with stigma.

As stated by DBSA President Sue Bergeson, "We created Facing Us because research shows that the only thing that seems to put a dent in stigma is not education, not shame, not blame, but, instead, putting a real face on the illness."

The video and art contest for individuals living with mental illness requested that all participants tell their personal story of how they "face" any of the following areas: depression, bipolar disorder, relationships, and recovery. Film students and production houses were encouraged to create formal public service announcements.

The interactive Web site, launched in support of the second phase of the campaign in November 2007, offers free wellness tools that individuals can personalize for their own needs during their recovery process. Visitors can create a personal wellness journal, plan, or book filled with personal tips or those shared by other clubhouse visitors. Also, they can visit the Facing Us Clubhouse media room to view an art gallery or a variety of wellness-focused video and audio presentations, including among many others, the Facing Us video, art, and PSA contest winners.

The nationwide video, art, and PSA contest was highly successful; DBSA received several hundred submissions for the contest and awarded 31 cash prizes for the winning entries, which can be viewed in the media room of the Facing Us Clubhouse by clicking here.

Response from the public regarding the new Facing Us Clubhouse Web site has been positive. Here are just a couple of reactions:

"The Facing Us Clubhouse Web site is a great example of utilizing the latest in technology to bring consumers a greater level of access to self-care and recovery. It represents a model for the future in empowering people along their journey of recovery." -Charles Curie, former administrator of SAMHSA

"For new members (and everyone, really), I think this Web site is a terrific idea, so check it out if you can!" -DBSA Forums member

To obtain additional information on the Facing Us campaign, contact the DBSA at or visit the Campaign web site at


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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.