Board of Directors
Marylou Selo was born in Bolivia, grew up in Holland and studied in Geneva, Switzerland, and at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. There she obtained her Diploma as Conference Interpreter and Translator for Dutch, German, English, French, and Spanish. Since 1963, her main home has been New York City. Marylou was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1976, and told she would never work again. Despite this dire prognosis, she quickly resumed her career as a freelance interpreter. She also became a patient advocate in the United States and Europe. She is a co-founder of the Mood Disorder Support Group of New York, Inc, and of the national DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, then known as the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association). She served as a Board Member of both organizations. Following the suicide of her father in 1993, Marylou became active in suicide prevention and the destigmatization of mental illness. She served as a Board Member of BBRF (Brain and Behavior Research Foundation), previously NARSAD (National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders), and supported brain research. In 1994 she founded the Werner Alfred Selo Foundation in Zug, Switzerland, to support research on the comorbidity of depression and headaches. With a group of fellow patients she founded Equilibrium, the Self-Help Organization in Switzerland. In 2006 Mogens Schou made Marylou the “Poster Child” of IGSLI (International Group for the Study of Lithium), which he had founded to promote the use of lithium. In 1997 several patient organizations came together in Venice and founded GAMIAN (Global Alliance of Mentally Ill Advocacy Networks). Marylou briefly served as President of GAMIAN-Europe. Marylou also represents Switzerland at the European Depression Association in Brussels, Belgium. This organization coordinates the activities for European Depression Day (October 1) in all of Europe. She is a member of the International Bipolar Society and the bipolar societies of Switzerland, Austria and Germany. She advocates for patients’ rights, visits self-help groups, writes for various German newsletters, and lectures at continuing education classes for general practitioners. She also answers e-mail from patients and family members who contact her directly. Marylou, along with Kay Redfield Jamison, and two other individuals, were featured in a Swiss docudrama, Bipolar ― Life Between Two Extremes. Marylou also appears in Depression: Voices of an Illness, a documentary on depression directed by Bill Liechtenstein.