PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Depression is one of the most common chronic health problems, but 70% of people can't find accessible or affordable help. The LiveWell Foundation aims to change that.
Stefanie Glick says she felt "hopeless" when she went through a bout with clinical depression five years ago. She couldn't find a support group nearby, she had no health insurance at the time and was suffering in silence.
"And silence and secrecy will always make depression worse," she said.
That's why, later, she created the LiveWell Foundation. It's a behavioral health program lead by trained facilitators - they 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 has been through it than someone who hasn't," said Glick.
When the pandemic hit, the LiveWell program moved support groups online and attendance went up 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 equally effective as psychotherapy when it comes to long-term treatment and recovery from depression.
Clancy Philbrick has learned how to cope when things turn dark. Now, he leads the support group for teenagers, having suffered himself as a teen. He says stakes are high, teen suicide rate is climbing, untreated depression is the main cause.
"Just being able to provide that safe space for teens to come and be themselves, talking to each other is huge for me," he said.
He tells parents while it can be a struggle to hear that your son or daughter is experiencing depression, keep an open mind and listen.
"And don't try to just solve their problems, because that is 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 talk or just choose to listen.
"They don't even have to be seen on video although we encourage people to because it creates a nicer sense of community," said Glick.
And all of the facilitators go through a 12-hour training program.
For more information, visit: Live Well Foundation or check out details about latest their fundraiser here.
LiveWell Foundation offering accessible, affordable help to people battling depression
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