Personal Stories

Robert Koch 

Having been a student /participant in the courses run by Mindspring over the past two years, I have found them always to be both enlightening, knowledgeable, and is constantly challenged with new and different courses being added; with the interaction with the main presenter- Jaymi Dormaier, being extremely interactive, enjoyable and certainly not making the 1-hour presentation heavy, but instead in a friendly and understandable language and not from the textbook, with her knowledge on ALL topics and questions being asked by the audience second to none.

Being a mental health service user myself and a heavily involved advocate in mental health in England, I am very outspoken about mental health, including my journey and how human rights are affected by mental health. Attending these courses has allowed me to better understand the various mental health conditions and understand and support fellow service users with their conditions. I am eternally grateful to both Michele and Jaymi for offering and doing what they do, the joy they bring to participants globally, and the good they do within the various communities, which is truly beyond belief.

Having gone through the last two years with lockdown and the pandemic and volunteering from home, the courses have allowed me to get through the day, knowing I have another new course that day to look forward to, along with learning and having to adapt to the use of zoom. Jaymi and Michele have made it possible to reach out to the World and sometimes have up to 200 people at one presentation globally is not only impressive, but knowing the benefit Mindspring is giving to everyone attending regardless of their roles or location in the World is just second to none.

For this, I am eternally grateful for what they do, and it has been to everyone’s benefit, including myself, and to see how they have gone from strength to strength over the past two years. I love that if you attend, you get a certificate the following day, which may not seem a lot to many people. Still, Michele and Jaymi, in preparing these and taking the time and effort, shows the passion they have for their business and how it means a lot to them that the audience is happy and not like other organisations where you are forgotten about.

Still, the boost that it gives to me is incredible and makes me feel part of the Mindspring family and if that’s not enough, a link to the presentation so you can watch the presentation again and again. I found this so helpful especially being partially sighted. It allows me to catch up on segments I missed or did not see/understand. Incredibly it’s all free and relies on those wonderful sponsors and donations to do the excellent job they do so well.

Finally, as we move into 2022, I am so excited to see what Mindspring “has up its sleeve” as they seem to go from strength to strength, and for me, I am delighted to be on that journey with them.

WELL, DONE, Michele and Jaymi!


I knew about bipolar disorder from my college psychology classes, as well as from TV and books. Over the years, hurried health care professionals had variously diagnosed me with depression, anxiety, and anorexia, but my gut kept telling me there was a bigger “umbrella” issue giving fire to these respective diagnoses. My intuition suspected that these singular problems were mere pieces of a bigger puzzle. So, I’d compiled all my memories, and with immense terror, I walked into the clinic and talked to the doctor.

The diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder Type II. 

While scrolling through my “Health and Wellness” recommendations on Eventbrite  the following day, I happened to notice that, in two days, an organization called Mindspring was hosting a free webinar entitled, “Understanding Bipolar Disorder.” 

My jaw dropped. 

This was exactly what I needed! Not only could I learn more about my newly-diagnosed condition, but maybe this webinar could help give me words to explain it to my family as well. This webinar was an opportunity to trust that someone who understood what I was going through could share the words I didn’t know how to say.

What a blessing and success that next hour was for me! I felt so validated and felt an enormous burden lifted off my shoulders as Mindspring thoroughly and sensitively addressed each aspect of bipolar disorder, from symptoms to treatments. Both my sister and I paid close attention, and she curiously but kindly asked me questions throughout. I now had a starting point to share my own feelings and experiences with her, and she had the tools and knowledge to understand and support me along my journey. Learning together about our new reality brought us closer in a way that I couldn’t have done without Mindspring’s empathetic and informed guidance.

In addition, I now had a list of resources for further learning, as well as ideas for effective treatment options. After doing lots of research on different websites I’d learned about during the webinar, I contacted a therapist online who specialized in treating bipolar disorder. We clicked instantly. Together we made huge strides forward. Having someone who intimately understood my condition made a world of difference, and thanks to Mindspring’s detailed guidance regarding various therapeutic techniques, I was able to request specific modes of therapy which I’d learned could be particularly helpful for folks with bipolar. Within the short span of four months, I’d made more progress with my new therapist than I’d made in ten years of general therapy.

I soon discovered through my Eventbrite recommendations that Mindspring had tons of other free webinars as well. One called “Understanding Anxiety” was up next week, followed by “Understanding Depression” and “Understanding Eating Disorders.” Perfect! Together, my sister and I dutifully watched every webinar, at least one per week (a “lunch and learn” tradition!), and continued to expand our knowledge, resources, and of course, our own relationship. Furthermore, each webinar gave me new fodder to discuss with my therapist, enriching our conversations and offering new insights into myself and my healing process. Supported by my sister, my therapist, and the kind folks at Mindspring who I trusted to help guide me, I didn’t feel nearly so alone anymore. 

Now, almost one year later, I look back on those days and marvel at how far I’ve come. I have a stable job which gives me purpose. I’m doing well in school and will graduate this spring as a certified medical assistant. My sister and I have grown even closer over our tender, honest conversations about mental health. I’ve befriended my inner storms and learned how to dress for all types of “weather patterns.” And I owe so much of my continued recovery to Mindspring, who truly changed my life by guiding both me and my family along this trajectory of healing.