Twin State Depression Support Group opens two new groups

PERKINSVILLE, Vt. – The Twin State Depression Support Group offers two new groups to support those challenged by depression. In May, a group began in Claremont at the Claremont Community Center. In June, the first group will be held at Alice Peck Day Hospital in Lebanon, N.H. All groups meet monthly, including two on-going groups continuing to meet in Ascutney and Springfield.

Depression is a challenge rather than an illness, something sufferers work at every day to overcome, more so during particularly stressful times in their lives. Despite the expanding use of medications, a report shows, 80 percent of those with depression have family and work problems because of their depression. This impacts every workplace through lowered productivity and days off, just the beginning of the public health impact of depression. This is true whether one is suffering from short-term, situational depression, or is someone whose depression is part of a more persistent life challenge.

It is in response to this experience that former peer specialist Lyn Estey and her friends got together to develop the Twin State Depression Support Group just a little more than a year ago. They began with a mission to provide a safe, educational, peer-supported environment that is wellness centered, empowering and where participants positively influence and encourage each other toward recovery. Then followed the beginning of a monthly support group open to the public. And people came. The demand for groups up and down the valley has increased as word of the meetings has spread.

According to Estey, “Our dream was to have four groups, be registered as a 501(c)(3) in order to apply for grants, to have a lending library for people to learn more about their mental health challenges and recovery, and a website.” They have done this, and more. The group hosts a website, and is on both MeetUp and Facebook.

Since the early days, the Twin State Depression Support Group has held monthly meetings for those suffering from depression at Ascutney and Springfield in Vermont, but now the organization new groups mean the organization is truly “twin state.” Estey says, “All meetings are free of charge, held in accessible locations and run by trained facilitators.” The lending library now boasts more than 75 volumes with a selection of books taken to meeting sites but can also be accessed online through the website, www.twinstatedepressionsupportgroup.com.

To get up and running, the group’s Board of Directors were awarded a grant from Psychiatric Survivors and continues to apply for grant funds for which TSDSG is eligible. However, for ongoing operational funds, the organization is engaged in fundraising activities such as their recent bottle drive, t-shirt sales at their own and other organizations events such as farmers’ markets, and an upcoming yard sale this summer. The Twin State Depression Support Group is listed as a designated nonprofit on www.amazonsmile.com.

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