With COVID-19 still in full swing, human connection can feel elusive.

Sade Miller, a junior social work student, has recently organized a group to help those whose mood disorders may have worsened during COVID-19. Miller herself suffers from a mood disorder, and is the lead facilitator of the WVU Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

“We just talk; we introduce ourselves and what we personally go through, and then we just create conversation,” Miller said.

The goal of the WVU DBSA, one of more than 700 similar groups across the country, is to “improve the lives of people living with mood disorders.”

The WVU DBSA offers an opportunity for students with mood disorders to relate their experiences to those who have been in similar situations, which is one of the perks of the group, according to Miller.

“A lot of us who are facilitators of this group, we’ve been in a lot of sticky situations,” she said.

In an effort to maintain safe social distancing guidelines, the new group has taken to Zoom to conduct its meetings and conversations, which are held at 8:30 p.m. every other Wednesday.

“Right now, we’re just facing Zoom challenges,” Miller said. “We’ve had a lot of people interested, just not a lot of participators.”

Miller believes the novelty of her group, as well as “Zoom burn-out,” may be contributing to low attendance so far. She is optimistic, however, that the group’s popularity will swell.

To assist with outreach, Miller says Fanica Payne, a Carruth Center substance use disorder specialist, is helping spread the word.

For those looking for “a place to talk,” Miller said that WVU DBSA is well-equipped with like-minded peers to assist in navigating some of the unique pit falls college life throws those suffering from a mood disorder.

“I just want to make it known that kids who are going through this now, you’re not alone; we’ve been there,” she said.