Melissa Bernstein, along with her husband Doug, is the Co-Founder of the toy company Melissa & Doug, which has created over 5,000 children’s products and sold billions of dollars of toys since its inception. Raised by educators, Melissa and Doug started the business in their garage in 1988, and they’ve been on a mission ever since to provide open-ended, inventive, non-technology playthings for young children. Throughout Melissa’s remarkable career, she kept secret her lifelong battle with severe depression and anxiety. She reveals her struggles in LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey From Profound Darkness to Radiant Light, her first book, which she wrote to help others who are also suffering. Melissa’s book heralds the launch of LifeLines.com, an online ecosystem she and Doug are underwriting to support those seeking support, guidance, and community on their mental health journeys. Melissa lives in Connecticut with Doug and their six children.
Interviewed by our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, Melissa delves into her lifelong battle with what she calls the "demon" voice inside her head and how her feelings of loneliness fueled her depression. In the interview, Melissa also shares what she has learned about creativity, existential depression, and the LifeLines that enabled her to triumph over anxiety, depression, and despair.