Hearing that you have cancer or any new health diagnosis can be a frightening and confusing time.
And mental health experts say fear of the unknown can create anxiety and even depression. So a local organization is helping patients, who have the same disease or condition help one another on a new online chat forum and it's free to participate.
"We want people to feel like they have a support system right away," explained Christina Deserio, the founder and CEO of AEPIOS, which stands for 'An Empowering Place for People to Interact and Openly Share.'
It's a free and secure online platform where people can chat with others from all over 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 that's created just for you," she explained.
There are over 100 medical conditions being discussed including addiction, Alzheimer's, anxiety, different types of cancer, and many more.
And if you don't see your diagnosis, you can request the new topic and AEPIOS will add it.
"You can learn about treatments that people all over the country that have your condition have tried," Deserio explained. And Deserio says studies show participating in support groups like this can help you feel less alone and actually improve your prognosis.
"We're trying to speed up the process from when they're initially diagnosed, to getting to where they feel secure in their condition," she added.