Approximately 35% of people with cancer experience significant psychological distress, including depression and anxiety (Zabora, 2001). Since 2001, DLC Solutions has partnered with The Wellness Community to design and produce “The Wellness Community Online” (http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org). The Website is widely regarded as the first Website to offer free, professionally moderated online support groups and education programs to people living with cancer and their caregivers. In 2005, we designed and launched www.Grouploop.org to provide psychological support to teens affected by cancer.
As part of of our ongoing commitment to innovation and cancer care, DLC Solutions and TWC recently released a wealth of new social media features to enhance the community experience.
- Professionally-led, real-time chat support groups
- Peer-to-peer social networking
- Secure, thematic discussion forums
- Personal blogs
- Video journals
- Webcasts and podcasts
- Instant messaging
- Interactive education modules
- Research tools to monitor symptoms and key quality of life indicators
Today, both Websites have provided peer-to-peer and professionally moderated support to thousands of people impacted by cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, and other chronic illnesses. The Wellness Community Online is also part of a research partnership between TWC, Stanford University, and the University of California at San Francisco designed to enhance access to quality psychological support to people living with cancer and other chronic illnesses. The research team has scientifically demonstrated that these online support groups are just as effective as face-to-face groups in reducing depression, increasing zest for life, and improving overall social functioning and quality of life. Review a complete listing of the research publications from this effort.
We are very excited to be a part of such a wonderful and impactful Web initiative and we look forward to continuing to expand the site to better help those affected by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.