Our Mission

Families for Depression Awareness helps families recognize and cope with depression and bipolar disorder to get people well and prevent suicides.


Our Staff

The Families for Depression Awareness staff, in conjunction with our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and volunteers, works to address the needs of family caregivers every day.

Susan Weinstein, JD

Co-Executive Director, Programs and Operations

Susan has been primarily responsible for programs and finances at Families for Depression Awareness since 2012. Susan was diagnosed with depression in her teens and has drawn from her personal experiences to inform FFDA’s curriculum. A licensed attorney, she has worked in nonprofits and local government throughout her career, generally in a non-legal capacity. She holds several volunteer positions, including serving on the Executive Committee and as Governance Committee Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention and holding a variety of elected and appointed seats in her town government since 1992. A native of South Florida, Susan is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Boston University School of Law.

susan@familyaware.org

Valerie Cordero, PhD

Co-Executive Director, Fundraising and Marketing

Valerie joined the FFDA staff in 2010. Before assuming her role as Co-Executive Director primarily responsible for fundraising and marketing, she held positions in programs and development. Now based in FFDA’s Nashville office, Valerie utilizes her personal knowledge of how mood disorders affect families in dialogues with donors, partners, and the general public. Valerie has lent her voice to national discussions of mood disorders and been featured on major media outlets such as Reader’s Digest, Better Homes & Gardens, and New York Magazine’s vertical The Cut. She received her BA from Spelman College and earned her Masters and PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of California at Los Angeles.

valerie@familyaware.org

Arielle Cohen, MSW

Programs Manager

Arielle became a member of the FFDA team in 2017. Arielle’s passion for mental health advocacy stems from experience with a diagnosis of depression and loss of a family member to suicide. Utilizing both professional and personal wisdom, Arielle provides oversight to FFDA’s programs, volunteers, and social media platforms. Arielle is a trained facilitator in the Alternatives to Suicide approach with Western Mass Recovery Learning Community. She received her BSW from Westfield State University and earned her Master of Social Work with a concentration in mental health from Boston College.

ari@familyaware.org

Devin Shmueli, MDiv

Teen Depression Program Coordinator

Devin assumed his role with FFDA’s Teen Depression Program in 2019. He has a passion for mental health education and stigma reduction in communities of faith and among young adults. For nearly a decade, Devin has worked with children, youth, and families in a variety of contexts. He received his BA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and his Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School. Additionally, Devin is a Certified Instructor of Adult Mental Health First Aid.

devin@familyaware.org

Jessica Mailman

Programs and Outreach Associate

jessica@familyaware.org

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In 1990, Julie Totten lost her brother, who was undiagnosed, to suicide. A year later, after learning about depression, she helped her father get diagnosed for this condition. Julie founded Families for Depression Awareness in 2001 to help others understand depression and reduce stigma associated with the condition.

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Volunteer Form