About Us


New Directions is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 by Ruth Deming. She was diagnosed  with manic depression (bipolar disorder 1) in 1984 and wanted to find other people in similar situations.

We have helped thousands of people since that time and are still drawing new members.

Our evening meetings are held the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of the month at Abington Presbyterian Church, 1082 Old York Road at Susquehanna, from 7:30 to 9:45 pm. See schedule on extreme right of website. Scroll down.

Daytime meetings are held at the Willow Grove Giant Supermarket on the second and fourth Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to Noon. Giant is at 315 York Road, Willow Grove PA 19090. Enter supermarket on right. Take stairs or elevator to second floor. Classroom will be posted. Helen Kirschner is your leader.

Give us an idea and we’ll follow up on it! This is your support group.

We received our 501(c)(3) from the IRS in 1998. This allows us to apply for grants from private foundations and other sources. We’ve received money or services from The Patricia Kind Family Foundation, vanAmeringen Foundation, Fourjay Foundation, and Janssen Pharmaceutica LLC, who, for many years published our Compass magazine.

We received our first outside monies from the Montgomery County Office of Behavioral Health who continue their generous financial support to us. They also gave New Directions an award in 2002.

Mental illness is an obstacle, but is not insurmountable. Through diligent application of wellness techniques, progress can be achieved, even in the smallest steps.


We work in cooperation with many local groups including: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), Mental Health Association of Southestern Pennsylvania, Abington Memorial Hospital, Horsham Clinic, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Collaborative Care in Abington, and Montgomery County Emergency Service.

The above photo shows our Board members in 2005. Some are still with us, others have moved on. Many of their workplaces have changed since the photo was taken.

Photo is at our board meeting at Cafe La Fontana, Hatboro, PA.

Bottom row, L-R: Ruth Z Deming, MGPGP, Director, Laurel Hoffmann, fashion instructor Philadelphia University, http://www.LaurelHoffmann.com, Freda Samuels, retired administrator Temple University Hospital, Loran Beth Kundra, JD, research assistant, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, University of PA School of Medicine, http://www.Upennrrtc.org, and also director of weekly Mood Disorder Group for Parents with Mood Disorders at Bryn Mawr (PA) Hospital, sponsored by http://www.DRADA.org.

Back row: Edie Mannion, MFT. Family therapist. Director, TEC Family Center of the Southeastern Mental Health Association, Philadelphia; http://www.MHASP.org, type in “TEC.” Joseph V. Bondi, PhD, Retired scientist and executive from Merck Research; Ada Moss Fleisher, MA,CCC/Sp., retired speech and language pathologist; Mark Salzer, PhD, Clinical psychologist, Director, UPENN Collaborative on Community Integration of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, http://www.Upennrrtc.org; Joe “The Prince of Corona” Quinones, CPA, JoQuin Associates, LLC, Warminster, PA.

Not shown: Lawrence DiBello, RPh. Retired Pharmacist. Family Resource Center, Friends Hospital, Philadelphia. John F. “Jack” Brent, DMD. Dentist. Member of Harleysville Rotary. Harleysville Dental Associates, Harleysville, PA 19438. Fellow of Academy of Dentistry. Richard D. Fleisher, DO. Radiologist. Lower Bucks Hospital, Bristol, PA. Pamela “The Singing Psychiatrist” London Barrett, DO. Psychiatrist/psychopharmacologist. Family Service Association, Langhorne, PA, http://www.familyserviceofbucks.com. Bernard H. Samuels, President of BHS, Inc., businessman, home remodeling, Warrington, PA. Professional Advisor: Francis J. McMahon, MD, Chief, Genetic Basis of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD. http://neuroscience.nih.gov/Lab.asp?Org_ID=495 and http://mapgenetics.nimh.nih.gov

New Directions’ Professional Advisors in 2005: Bipolar Disorder Genetics Project Staff
of NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), Bethesda, MD.

Francis J. McMahon, MD, (front row, middle), Chief, Genetic Basis of Mood and
Anxiety Disorders
Leatha Chase-Jones, secretary to Dr. McMahon, front row, pink sweater, last one
on Left
Diane Kazuba, purple sweater – top row
Erin Snyder, long blond hair and red shirt – top row
Layla Kassem, PsyD, interviewer, taking the photo, not shown


Many of us at New Directions have participated in genetic studies to help find susceptible genes for bipolar disorder. We encourage you to consider doing the same. Contact NIMH at the first website above.




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