ADAA’s Free Depression & Anxiety Peer-to-Peer Support Groups Offer Valuable Online Communities

ADAA’s Free Depression & Anxiety Peer-to-Peer Support Groups Offer Valuable Online Communities

Susan K. Gurley, Executive Director

Susan K. Gurley, Executive Director

Susan Gurley is the Executive Director of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), a non-profit international mental health association. She is a lawyer and advocate with 25 years of leadership experience working in the mental health and access to justice fields, international development and legal reform, and higher education administration.

Prior to joining ADAA, Ms. Gurley held senior-level positions in several U.S. government agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Ms. Gurley served as both the Assistant Dean for International and Graduate Programs, at the Georgetown University School of Law and as an Adjunct Faculty Member. While at Georgetown she created the International Human Rights and National Security Law Certificate Programs. Ms. Gurley also worked as the Deputy Executive Director of Equal Justice Works, and as the Director of Legal Reform at the East West Management Institute (EWMI), where she managed several overseas offices, created  EWMI’s first land reform program, and expanded programming to Asia. She also ran the Association of Corporate Business Travel Executives, where she opened the association’s first office in Latin America and testified before Congress on privacy issues. 

Ms. Gurley has extensive non-profit Board experience. She has served on the Boards of Film Aid International, on the Board of the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). She also serves on the Advisory Committee for Her Wealth, an organization promoting financial literacy for women. 

Over the past five years, she has served as a technical expert volunteer on capacity building projects in Cambodia, Philippines, and Tanzania. For her volunteer work, she has been awarded the Frank Pace award by IESC as well as the 2020 Innovator of the Year award by USAID’s Farmer- to- Farmer program. 

Ms. Gurley is a Phi Beta Kappa and received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is a member of the Virginia Bar. Ms. Gurley has worked in 30+ countries and speaks French, German, and Hungarian. 

Email Susan.

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ADAA’s Free Depression & Anxiety Peer-to-Peer Support Groups Offer a Valuable Online Community

The sheer number of social networks, online communities, virtual support groups, apps, and other Internet-based ways to communicate now can leave one feeling overwhelmed and possibly even anxious. But what about those who are truly suffering from anxiety or depression and find it difficult to express themselves in a secure, stigma-free, and supportive environment? We know peer-to-peer online communities can be helpful when they are done in a sensitive, informative, and respectful way.  

Another essential factor is security. People who have depression, anxiety, or other related disorders, might not feel comfortable or safe or find it difficult to discuss and be open about their mental health issues. Particularly online. 

It takes a special platform to understand and recognize not just the importance of having a social network for people with mental health challenges to share their experiences and engage in dialogue with one another, but to provide a dedicated, unbiased, and welcoming peer-to-peer community.  

That’s why we have partnered with Health Unlocked to host online mental health communities, promote patient empowerment, and allow for shared experiences and the posting of personal stories. 

Some benefits to the ADAA online support groups include:  

 

  • Take advantage of an English and/or Spanish support group for anxiety and depression and a community focused on major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Access a free, anonymous, and safe community 
  • Connect with other members experiencing anxiety, depression, and related disorders 
  • Ask and answer questions like why does depression come and go or what does anxiety feel like? 
  • Share information, support, and discuss challenges and triumphs 
  • Contribute to ongoing conversations or start new conversations  

Positive interaction is essential, and human connection is critical for any health issue, but in mental health, it is even more significant for people to form communities and bond over shared experience. At ADAA we know that feeling alone, hopeless, and desperate can be symptoms of anxiety and depression but there is help, support and compassion. Whether in person or online, part of our mission is to ensure information on evidence-based research, treatment and support is made available to the public. In doing so, like Health Unlocked, we take a comprehensive approach to helping people come together, share knowledge and cope with their conditions.  

The value of community has been known for centuries. After all, the expression “it takes a village” has been used so often that it has become a cliché. But common sayings like that hold a lot of truth. Today there is an online village for almost anything you can imagine. If you are looking for a mental health support group that focuses on anxiety and depression and offers quality support and a shared vision, please consider joining one of ADAA’s online, friendly support communities: English and Spanish, and Major Depressive Disorder.

One member called the platforms “a veritable oasis of support and hope” while another said it provided “more space for (us) to live, talk and share thoughts.” But neither they nor I can speak for anyone else. And to use another cliché that seems appropriate here but is being said in the spirit of support and knowing how much a peer-to-peer community can help: You never know unless you try.

Susan K. Gurley, Executive Director

Susan K. Gurley, Executive Director

Susan Gurley is the Executive Director of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), a non-profit international mental health association. She is a lawyer and advocate with 25 years of leadership experience working in the mental health and access to justice fields, international development and legal reform, and higher education administration.

Prior to joining ADAA, Ms. Gurley held senior-level positions in several U.S. government agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Ms. Gurley served as both the Assistant Dean for International and Graduate Programs, at the Georgetown University School of Law and as an Adjunct Faculty Member. While at Georgetown she created the International Human Rights and National Security Law Certificate Programs. Ms. Gurley also worked as the Deputy Executive Director of Equal Justice Works, and as the Director of Legal Reform at the East West Management Institute (EWMI), where she managed several overseas offices, created  EWMI’s first land reform program, and expanded programming to Asia. She also ran the Association of Corporate Business Travel Executives, where she opened the association’s first office in Latin America and testified before Congress on privacy issues. 

Ms. Gurley has extensive non-profit Board experience. She has served on the Boards of Film Aid International, on the Board of the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). She also serves on the Advisory Committee for Her Wealth, an organization promoting financial literacy for women. 

Over the past five years, she has served as a technical expert volunteer on capacity building projects in Cambodia, Philippines, and Tanzania. For her volunteer work, she has been awarded the Frank Pace award by IESC as well as the 2020 Innovator of the Year award by USAID’s Farmer- to- Farmer program. 

Ms. Gurley is a Phi Beta Kappa and received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is a member of the Virginia Bar. Ms. Gurley has worked in 30+ countries and speaks French, German, and Hungarian. 

Email Susan.

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