The Soulside Story

April 30, 2024
Co-written by Surabhi Bhandari and Dr. Laura Kasper


We’re a group of therapists, technologists and nurses who’ve seen firsthand the effects of depression during pregnancy and postpartum. And we get the challenges. Studies say that about 15% of pregnant women deal with depression, and another 15% face it within three months of giving birth. These numbers only speak for reported cases, so the actual figures could be even higher. This just goes to show how important it is to really pay attention to moms' mental health and make sure we're all getting the support we need. 

The reality is that we often meet mothers when they're already in the midst of a mental health crisis, if we meet them at all. By the time we cross paths, many are already carrying the weight of depression. While enhancing training and health screening can make a difference, and public education is crucial, these efforts are only part of the solution. We need to find more ways to connect with mothers sooner, prevent crises, and offer support all along their journey.

If you're a mom who is struggling, know that you are not alone. It's very normal and humane to experience these emotions and this doesn't define your entire life. Remember that you are a great mom, and with the right support and tools, you can start feeling yourself again.

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It's often difficult to seek help when you're already struggling emotionally. Picture someone trying to describe depression when you're at your lowest—it might feel impossible to process. Suggestions for coping mechanisms like breathing techniques or changing thoughts might seem impossible or even offensive. We all know that when we're feeling overwhelmed, the last thing we want to hear is a long list of things we "should" be doing. 

That's why it's important to understand that when people are in the midst of a mental health struggle, they need compassion and understanding, not just facts or instructions. Empathy and support are crucial in helping individuals feel heard and understood, which can eventually lead to them being more welcoming to seeking help.

We need to shift our focus to earlier interventions, education, and stronger preventative care. It's crucial that we don't wait until someone’s in a really bad place before providing them with information about depression and coping strategies. That's why I'm so proud of the work we're doing at Soulside. Our mission is all about giving individuals the support and tools they need to handle mental health challenges before they become too much to deal with.

At Soulside, we understand that mental health is influenced by both the different stages of life and the various situations people go through. We believe it's super important to consider these factors when addressing mental health and providing support. That's why we take a life-cycle and social-factors approach to mental health, ensuring our services are designed to each individual’s unique journey. This way, we can provide more effective and compassionate support that genuinely impacts people's lives for the better. 

At Soulside,  we envision a future where mental health and well-being are centred around community-based support. We believe in the power of connecting people with others who are on similar journeys and creating a supportive network that truly understands. In this model, psychosocial support plays a crucial role in delivering care that addresses both the psychological and social aspects of mental health. When we encourage a feeling of connection and comprehension, we can build a more supportive and impactful approach to mental healthcare. This helps people feel valued and heard, leading to better outcomes and fostering a more compassionate environment for everyone involved. 


Soulside groups provide a safe and supportive environment where members can connect with others who share similar experiences. Led by licensed clinicians, these weekly virtual meetings offer a space to discuss various topics relevant to their needs, such as understanding mental health conditions, managing symptoms, coping with difficult emotions, and enhancing social skills.

Group members often come from diverse backgrounds but share common emotional experiences and struggles. These experiences often involve similar concerns, feelings, daily obstacles, and treatment-related decisions or side effects. Each 60-minute weekly session focuses on particular psychosocial topics, such as dealing with life changes, addressing symptoms, managing negative emotions like anger, anxiety, and sadness, honing social skills, and tackling internal and social stigma. Through these supportive conversations, Soulside strives to empower individuals and foster a sense of community among members as they work towards better mental health and well-being. 


Soulside support group members often experience impressive effects from taking part in our program, such as -

  • Feeling more connected and less alone in their journey.
  • Reducing feelings of distress, depression and anxiety. 
  • Having a safe space to openly express their thoughts and emotions. 
  • Increasing their understanding of mental health challenges and how to navigate them. 
  • Enhancing coping skills to manage symptoms and situations more effectively. 
  • Receiving practical advice and guidance on how to better handle life transitions. 
  • Staying motivated and connected to managing their mental health. 
  • Building a sense of solidarity, empowerment, hope and resilience. 

Soulside members understand the value of sharing their daily experiences, emotions, and personal stories, including those from their past. As they participate in sessions, they become more open to their surroundings and break free from the confines of their isolated experiences. The positive changes our groups bring show how important they are in helping people become stronger during difficult times and life transitions. 


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