Sherry Dang is a Santa Cruz-based entrepreneur who has started a new peer support forum called “Talking Stick.” She was inspired to help start the program in response to her husband Phillip’s death by suicide, following his lifetime struggle with depression. According to Dang, “Every time Phillip would meet a therapist or psychiatrist, he would ask ‘have you ever been depressed before?’ And when the answer inevitably was “no,” Phillip would refuse to continue. This phone-based technology is designed to help people who want to talk to others who have walked in similar shoes. Some conversations have been hosted by experts in the field but mostly this is a community of peers lending support to each other.

According to the Talking Stick Website:
Conversations brings about change. Sharing stories brings connection. People are longing for a deeper connection. Without it, we become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety and clinical depression. The benefits of talking, sharing and listening are many.

There is power and healing in circles, where people simply share their stories and struggles with others in similar situations, one gets to be heard, acknowledged and knows they are not alone. Native Americans used a TalkingStick, creating a culture of honor and respect.

The vision of TalkingStick is simple. We are using our modern day technology to bring back the ancient way of communicating, in a figurative circle using our voices. In these circles, we hope to create a sense of community, belonging, respect and support. 

You can read about Sherry’s story and this new start-up, which launches December 10, 2016, here.

Check out and share these resources on apps for recovery: