April 23, 2015; 5280 (Denver, CO)
A few years ago, Eileen Cunniffe wrote a newswire about the health benefits of volunteering, so it should come as no surprise that someone has founded a nonprofit that addresses the symptoms of depression through providing group volunteer opportunities.
While still very new, the name of the Denver-based nonprofit is Project Helping and it was founded by 33-year-old Justin Kruger, who himself struggles with depression.
As reported by Cunniffe in 2013, a national survey of 3,351 adults conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of UnitedHealth Group found that “people who report that volunteering helps them cope with a chronic illness and/or helps them take their minds off their own problems. Survey respondents who volunteer scored better than those that don’t on nine well-established measures of emotional well-being.”
Before he started volunteering at the urging of his wife, Kruger tried medications and therapy, but nothing really turned around. About volunteering, he says, “The more I did it, the more I realized how incredibly beneficial it was for someone living with depression.”—Ruth McCambridge