Families for Depression Awareness helps families recognize and cope with depression and bipolar disorder to get people well and prevent suicides.
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.
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.
Arielle Cohen, LCSW
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.
Teen Depression Program Coordinator
Jessenia joined the FFDA team in 2022. She has lived with depression since being diagnosed as a teenager. Her father, who lived with bipolar disorder, was a driving force behind her educational and professional pursuits. Jessenia has 10+ years of experience working with community members across Massachusetts and is bilingual in English and Spanish. She is passionate about mental health advocacy and believes in a community health approach to help individual achieve wellness. She graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst in with a B.S in Psychology. She obtained her MPH degree in 2021 from the Boston University School of Public Health.
Programs and Outreach Associate
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.