Stefanie Glick says she felt “hopeless” when she went through a bout of clinical depression five years ago. She couldn’t find a support group nearby, didn’t have health insurance at the time and was in silent pain.
“And silence and secrecy will always make depression worse,” she said.
This is why, later, she created the LiveWell Foundation. It is a behavioral health program run by trained facilitators – these are people who have lived with depression.
“We can inspire each other to remember this will pass and it’s really different to hear that from someone who’s been through this than someone who hasn’t,” said Glick.
When the pandemic hit, the LiveWell program moved support groups online and attendance increased by 400%.
“COVID-19 has been the perfect storm for the rise of depression in our culture,” said Glick. Stress, uncertainty, job loss, isolation are all factors that can trigger depression.
She says research shows peer support can be just as effective as psychotherapy when it comes to long-term treatment and healing for depression.
Clancy Philbrick has learned to cope when the going gets tough. Now he runs the Teen Support Group after suffering as a teenager. He says the stakes are high, the teen suicide rate is rising, and untreated depression is the main cause.
“Just being able to provide that safe space for teens to come and be themselves, talk to each other is huge for me,” he said.
He tells parents that it can be hard to hear that your son or daughter is suffering from depression, so keep an open mind and listen.
“And don’t just try to solve their problems because that’s something we hear a lot from our teens is that ‘my parents don’t listen to me or they think I just need to do x , y or z ‘, ”he said.
The sessions are free and anonymous, first name only. You can speak or just choose to listen.
“They don’t even need to be seen on video, although we encourage people to do that because it creates a better sense of community,” said Glick.
And all facilitators go through a 12 hour training program.
For more information visit: Live Well Foundation or check out details of their latest fundraiser here.
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