I.S.G.O.D–Intervention Support Group-Overcome Depression



I.S.G.O.D. provides hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of those who have mental or mood disorders through Holistic-based teachings.


Common experiences, particularly for those who have experienced depression, suicidal thoughts, bereavement, and par suicides bind individuals together. Shared experiences are the foundation for peer support, as they foster the initial trust and credibility necessary for developing relationships in which individuals are willing to open up and discuss their problems despite concerns about stigma. Peer-to-peer programs facilitate opportunities for individuals to talk with their fellow peers who can offer educational and social support based on personal life experiences and testimonial victories.


The group can provide:

  1.  A sense of community and support;

  2.  An empathetic environment and give a sense of belonging when the bereaved person feels disassociated from the rest of the world;

  3.  The hope that “normality” can be reached eventually;

  4.  Experience in dealing with difficult anniversaries or special occasions;

  5.  Opportunities to learn new ways of approaching problems;

  6.  A sounding board to discuss fears and concerns;

  7.  A setting where free expression of grief is acceptable, confidentiality is observed, and compassion and non-judgmental attitudes prevail.


Based on an analysis of research literature, five elements were found to be essential to a successful peer-to-peer program:


Building on the research on essential elements, potential options are outlined for further applying peer support.  Each of these options is structured around a goal that meets a Christian need, to provide both the frame of reference and examples of applicability. Suicide prevention and recovery-related issues are the two needs used to illustrate actionable options for how peer support could be applied in the Christian environment.

1. Peer support to address suicide ideations, para suicide, depression, and bereavement could include:

  • The establishment of a peer supporter role within a group to provide a relationship-based support role throughout a person’s life.

  • Regular meetings of peer supporters for the purpose of: 

(1) honing peer supporter skills (e.g., active listening, ability to recognize signs for specific spiritual need).

  • A group member acting as peer supporter who serves as a liaison to church pastor, and church leadership.         


2. Peer support to address suicide prevention could include:

  • Further integrating and highlighting the benefits of peer support in suicide prevention programs to bolster these efforts throughout the Christian community.

  • Recognizing that peers might be the first point of contact because of their close proximity to the individual. Those with similar        experiences may be better able to relate to a member seeking help, which may compel the individual to listen and trust the peer supporter’s guidance at a particularly critical time.

3. Peer support to address recovery-related issues could include:

  • The use of church volunteers to share their pitfalls and victory testimony to act as peer supporters. 

  • Peer supporters who serve as examples of how to overcome depression and offer support as someone who has “been there.”

  • Peers playing advocacy roles, for example, assisting with understanding and accessing benefits and services.



In a recent behavioral health survey of more than 28,000 persons, talking with friends and family was the second most common coping strategy for dealing with stress, with 73 percent responding to using that strategy frequently or sometimes.  Strong social support networks have been linked to resilience, which is a fundamental component of successfully managing stress (Money, 2011).


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