Depression/Mood Disorders: Peer Support Eases The Pain

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Depression Forums, the original peer support forum for people suffering from depression, other mood and depressive health disorders, recently reached the landmark of 5000 registered members. Members say that the Depression Forums offers a safe haven for sharing support. and information with others in similar situations, thereby relieving the stigma and one of the worst problems afflicting sufferers: the feeling of being alone.

Depression Forums, the original peer support forum for people suffering from depression, other mood and depressive health disorders, recently reached the landmark of 5000 registered members. Members say that the Depression Forums offers a safe haven for sharing support. and information with others in similar situations, thereby relieving the stigma and one of the worst problems afflicting sufferers: the feeling of being alone.

While Depression Forums began as a peer information exchange on personal experiences with anti-depressants, the site has grown to include the many other factors that influence the recovery or lack thereof in depression patients: Religion and spirituality, recovery-oriented books, alternative medicine, exercise, family relations, pets, and hypnotherapy. The average new member enters the community with a specific crisis, receives suggestions and support, then finds the strength to make some changes in real life (IRL) to become a supporter of other suffering members. People build real relationships through the forums and count on that friendship in times of difficulty, such as when they are "relapsing" or find that a family member is returning to addictive behaviors.

In a time of shrinking mental health funding and increasing life pressures, Depressionforums.org has filled a gap and made a difference for over 5000 sufferers of depression and anxiety worldwide. The forums cover topics like psychotherapy, psychiatric medications, addictions, family and relationship dysfunction, and recovery programs. Members are free to bring their current issues to the international family of peers for their own experiences, opinions and support for one another. A staff of volunteer moderators significantly reduces "flaming" unlike most other internet sites and keeps the forums, arguably, the safest site on the web for sensitive people.

Sometimes the forums are viscerally revealing, as desperate and hurting people admit to severe emotional and physical trauma. Some members do not even realize they are being abused until they confer with other members a little further down the road of recovery. Many important life lessons come to the fore and act as examples for the many silent members who get their strength by simply reading the discussions of others, as revealed by the numbers posted in the "Viewed" column of each thread. Tragic, energizing, compelling, insightful, but never boring, Depression Forums has risen to champion hurting souls who may not have had any other resource previous to the advent of the Internet.

Unaffiliated with any pharmaceutical companies, the management of Depressionforums.org neither promotes nor condemns any medication categorically but, rather, allows each member to speak from their own experience about recovery using or not using medications. Members include people of all economic backgrounds. Those needing help searching for low-cost or free mental health care, an increasingly rare commodity today, figure large in the population. The peer-oriented discussions help break down the shame that keeps people of all backgrounds away from seeking the help they need. Among the aims of Depression Forums is to break down the stigma attached to mental illness and promote the rights of people who suffer from these health problems.

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Lindsay Reday
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