Hartford Wednesday Support Group


About This Meeting

We currently have a meeting each Wednesday, 7pm – 9pm at the Institute for Living in Hartford . Friends and family are also welcome. All meetings are completely free of charge and there is no registration required.  Please note that we are not under the supervision or influence of the Institute.  Our only connection is their generosity in allowing us the use of a room to meet.

200 Retreat Ave, Hartford, CT 06102

Attached is a map of the Institute for Living Campus. The best entrance at that time of day is the Retreat Avenue entrance.

Due to renovations MEETINGS WILL BE HELD IN THE STAUNTON WILLIAMS BUILDING, CLARK SOCIAL HALL UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. The building is #21 on the Institute’s campus map.

If you have any other questions please feel free to email us at dbsahartford@gmail.com . We look forward to seeing you at one of our meetings.

Sample Emotional Support Animal Letter

The following text is from the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. I checked with my local fair housing council (the people to whom one reports violations) when I used this letter and they agreed the last paragraph is not necessary. You may want to omit it because it allows the landlord to impose on your provider’s time and they may charge you for it or be reluctant to sign the letter with it included.

Note that you do NOT need a psychiatrist or a psychologist to sign the letter. Also a dog you intend to train as a psych service dog can be an emotional support dog until they meet the definition of a service dog.

Sample Letter from a Service Provider


Name of Professional (therapist, physician, psychiatrist, rehabilitation counselor)

XXX Road City,

State Zip

Dear [Housing Authority/Landlord]:

[Full Name of Tenant] is my patient, and has been under my care since [date]. I am intimately familiar with his/her history and with the functional limitations imposed by his/her disability. He/She meets the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Due to mental illness, [first name] has certain limitations regarding [social interaction/coping with stress/ anxiety, etc.]. In order to help alleviate these difficulties, and to enhance his/her ability to live independently and to fully use and enjoy the dwelling unit you own and/or administer, I am prescribing an emotional support animal that will assist [first name] in coping with his/her disability.

I am familiar with the voluminous professional literature concerning the therapeutic benefits of assistance animals for people with disabilities such as that experienced by [first name]. Upon request, I will share citations to relevant studies, and would be happy to answer other questions you may have concerning my recommendation that [Full Name of Tenant] have an emotional support animal Should you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely, Name of Professional

[emphasis (strikethrough) added]

Wednesday Group 12/5/2018

We had 11 attendees and talked about:

  • How do I help a mentally ill family member who doesn’t want help?
  • What types of exercise are easy to maintain if you’re depressed?
  • Is being smart a bad thing?
  • Can you idnetify a genetic family link to your disorder?

Hartford Wednesday Meeting – November 21, 2018

We had seven attendees at this meeting and the following topics were discussed:

  • Have you had co-occurring disorders?
  • How do you know if you are fulfilling your purpose for this life?
  • Holidays — Blah!
  • Does your family approach you about your illness?
  • Does anybody try to learn the word of god or did everybody give up?
  • What have you done to repair relationships that have been damaged by your mental illness?

Discussion Groups Guidelines


Welcome to DBSA Greater Hartford, an independent affiliate of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance! We are led by and created for peers—individuals living with mood disorders—and that experience informs everything that we do. Another distinction of peers is that we are not physicians or other type of mental healthcare provider. Being peer-run makes our tagline, “We’ve been there, we can help,” a reality. Our mission is to provide hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who live with mood disorders.

My name is _____________, and I will be facilitating tonight’s meeting. I am here as a volunteer and a person with a mood disorder. This is our group, and I am not here as the person with all the answers. My role is to simply keep our discussion on track and to help maintain a productive environment. To do that, I may occasionally ask a question, make a comment, or help move discussion along.


This support group of DBSA Greater Hartford is a gathering of peers who assist, encourage, and enable each other in helping themselves. Each participant follows their own unique path to wellness and chooses to make that journey in the company of others headed in the same direction. Our meetings are designed to give everyone an opportunity to participate as they are comfortable. After reading our group guidelines, we will begin the
meeting with a brief check-in. After the check-in, we will have an open discussion about our mood disorders and share experiences, personal feelings, and strategies for living successfully with these conditions. After that, we will have a closing activity to help us leave committed to action and will finish at [time]. Before we begin to talk with each other, we will review the guidelines for our discussion. We read the guidelines before each meeting to remind us that we are all responsible for following and committing to the group standards, which are in place to keep this group a safe place to share. Would anyone like to volunteer to read the guidelines?


Share the air
Everyone who wishes to share has an opportunity to do so. No one person should monopolize the group time.

One person speaks at a time
Each person should be allowed to speak without interruption or side conversations.

What is said here stays here
This is the essential principle of confidentiality; it must be respected by everyone.

Differences of opinion are o.k.
We are all entitled to our own point of view.

We are all equal
We accept cultural, linguistic, social, racial, and all other differences and we promote their acceptance.

Use “I” language
Because we don’t participate in discussion groups as credentialed professionals, we can’t instruct. We can, however, share from our own personal experiences. For example, instead of saying “you should do X,” say “when I was faced with a similar problem, I . . .” We should always frame our comments in the context of our own experiences.

It’s o.k. not to share
People don’t have to share if they don’t want to.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to make the discussion groups a safe place to share

We respect confidentiality, treat each other with respect and kindness, and show compassion.


August 29, 2018 Meeting

We had a dozen people at this meeting.  The following topics were discussed:

  • How we feel about potentially passing on our illness to our children
  • The Happiness Curve, by Jonathan Ranch
  • What has happened to you at home when you’re manic and your spouse make you aware of it?
  • Do you ever experience loneliness?
  • Can you think of a positive outcome directly related to your mood disorder?
  • What are people’s strategies when faced with difficult decisions with no clearly “great” outcomes?

Use this Entrance Others Will be Closed

We meet in this building