Learning that you have cancer or any new health diagnosis can be a scary and confusing time.
And mental health experts say fear of the unknown can create anxiety and even depression. For example, a local organization is helping patients with the same disease or condition help each other on a new online discussion forum, and participation is free.
“We want people to immediately feel like they have a support system,” explained Christina Deserio, Founder and CEO of AEPIOS, which stands for “An Empowering Place for People to Interact and Openly Share.”
It is a free and secure online platform where people can chat with other people across the country who have the same condition.
“You can expect to meet people who know what you’re going through. You can be in a supportive environment. You can expect to find anonymity and privacy and a space created just for you,” he said. she explains.
There are over 100 medical conditions being discussed including addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, different types of cancer and many more.
And if you don’t see your diagnosis, you can request the new subject and AEPIOS will add it.
“You can learn about treatments that people across the country who have your condition have tried,” Deserio explained. And Deserio says studies show that attending support groups like this can help you feel less alone and improve your prognosis.
“We try to speed up the process from when they are initially diagnosed until they feel safe in their condition,” she added.