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Ann Share Story

The Virtues of Virtual Care

By Ann

Ann does not know where she would be — or, more precisely, how she would be — without the help of David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC). She does not even want to think about it.

Diagnosed with depression at the age of 40, Ann, now 67, knows the importance of taking her medications daily, exercising regularly, and meeting consistently with her therapist. “I need therapy to live a normal, healthy life,” she says.

So when her access to therapy was threatened in the spring — first by an accident that left her relatively immobile, and then, for the rest of the year, by isolation forced by the pandemic — she was worried about how she would maintain her mental health and good spirits. She did not have to worry long. At about the same time, DLC was ramping up its Virtual Care Center and telehealth services, giving Ann the option to meet with a DLC therapist online.

And now she would not have it any other way. “It’s the only way to go for me,” says Ann. “Virtual care just makes it so much easier during this challenging time, but I think I’ll stick with it even after COVID-19 is gone. I feel more comfortable sitting in my kitchen, drinking coffee, during our sessions. It’s like inviting my therapist into my home and vice versa. It doesn’t feel as ‘clinical,’ and it makes me feel more open. I really hope DLC continues with it.”

DLC will continue with its Virtual Care services, as it has proven convenient for many clients like Ann and is just one more way that it is committed to making services readily available to people in need.

“I couldn’t function”

Ann’s depression began almost three decades ago when she lived in Illinois. She had fallen into a deep, dark place where she felt almost paralyzed, unable to move on with life. “I was crying nonstop,” she says. “I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t function. With full-fledged depression, youcan’t just pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It’s biological, and you need help.”

At first, that was easier said than done. “Accepting that I had depression was the hardest part,” says Ann. “I felt like there was a stigma to it — to admitting that I needed help, and that I would have to be on medications and need therapy most likely for the rest of my life. But I’ve long since learned that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Depression doesn’t define who you are, but you need to reach out for help.”

When she moved to Naples twelve years ago, Ann immediately contacted DLC to continue getting the kind of help she had received in Illinois. Since then, she has been regularly getting that help from DLC, meeting with a therapist every two weeks. When Ann’s husband of 43 years died suddenly in 2018, she sank deeper into depression. But her therapist at DLC helped Ann deal with her grief in a healthy way.

“I wondered how I’d get through it,” says Ann now. “But my therapist helped me to reboot, every two weeks. People always see me smiling, but they don’t realize how much work goes into it. It takes diligence to maintain your wellbeing; you have to work at it. It’s been a long road, but I’m doing really well now. I’m more at peace.”

She says she could not have done it without DLC. “They made it possible for me to get the help I needed,” says Ann. “They’ve been phenomenal. Their therapists really care about you. They are compassionate, and they’re like family. I’m very grateful.”