Recovery from Depression in a Supportive Community

Depression can be devastating for those suffering from it, as well as their families. But there is hope. At CooperRiis, we focus on healing the whole person – not just treating symptoms. We rely on an approach that takes into account each individual and their journey. We meet people where they are, and we employ an evidence-based model for recovery that works.

Jump to a section

Evidence-Based Treatment that Works


We work with the resident to find the best dosage to reduce symptoms without incurring harmful side effects such as over-sedation, sexual side effects, and mental fogginess. The goal is to minimize symptoms without sacrificing overall well-being.


Psychotherapy is an integral part of recovery. Each resident is assigned a therapist who works with them one-on-one. Our group therapy sessions are about learning resilience by being in a group and learning to speak up.


The skills learned in group therapy are applied naturally and casually in our community.

Having kind, supportive people always around experiencing similar challenges is incredibly helpful to our residents. Our residents are immersed in a recovery culture where everyone is heard, understood, and never judged.


Dedicated families help support strong recoveries.

Although we strongly encourage family participation, the resident guides and informs our communication with family members. We encourage our residents to reach out to their families in healthy and beneficial ways. Ideally, the resident and family participate together in recovery, and everyone benefits.

Personalized Treatment

We help adults living with mental illness with a personalized approach to treatment. Each resident’s recovery journey includes:

  • An Integrative Recovery Team of an integrative psychiatrist, therapist, and recovery coordinator.
  • Optimized medication use
  • Optimized nutrition through a balanced diet and supplements
  • A supportive Residential Community
  • Holistic treatment through the seven domains of a whole, healthy person
“The work you all are doing at CooperRiis is TRULY life changing…After years of denial and many rock bottoms, our son finally asked for help. When he did, CooperRiis was there. Our son spent 4 months at the Farm and learned to accept and manage his illness and life. He was treated with respect and dignity and not as a mental patient, making all the difference.”
A Grateful Parent

Successful Treatment of Depression at CooperRiis

Evidence-based clinical services and a therapeutic community approach supported by extensive research and clinical experience support that the CooperRiis model of recovery works.

During a ten-year study, data collected shows individual recovery progress within the CooperRiis residential program based upon therapeutic community principles and a Seven Domains Enhanced Recovery Model (Young, Schactman and Snyder, 2014).

Our program helps residents achieve their best life by tailoring our services to their needs. We honor each person’s recovery journey by trusting them to work with us toward their best state of health and happiness.

A 10-year study shows:

  • Reduced symptoms of depression
  • Gains in functioning, emotional well-being, sense of purpose, and hopefulness.
  • Over 80 percent of our residents pursue employment, volunteer service, or school while in our community programs, and increasingly manage independent living.

2019 Alumni Survey Results

1 %

are engaged in either competitive employment, volunteering, or going to school.

1 %
are living independently with roommates or on their own.
1 %
report they have had no psychiatric hospitalizations.

Our residents choose work that inspires and best matches their interests, including caring for the animals at The Farm. Other meaningful work includes cooking and growing plants in our greenhouse.

Since 2003, CooperRiis has helped people recover from depression with a holistic approach to healing personalized for each individual.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sadness is a part of life. Occasional feelings of melancholy, listlessness, or ‘the blues’ are just a few of the many feelings we experience as healthy individuals in response to our world. Clinical depression, however, is different and is considered a serious mental health condition. A Major Depressive episode is defined by an incessant feeling of intense sadness and lack of interest in formerly enjoyable activities that go on for an extended period. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) impacts both mood and behavior. People with Major Depressive Disorder often have trouble performing and participating in everyday activities and sometimes feel as if life isn’t worth living.

Major Depression is surprisingly common. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that the lifetime incidence of depression in the United States is more than 20-26% for women and 8-12% for men.

The median age for the onset of clinical depression is 32 (U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates by Demographic Characteristics, 2005).

Types of Depressive Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – depression is directly caused by the time of the year. It occurs most often in the winter months when sunlight is not as readily available, typically going away in the spring and summer.

Persistent Depressive Disorder – depression that lasts for two years or longer.

Psychotic Depression – depression accompanied by psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia

Postpartum Depression – depression that develops in the weeks or months after childbirth.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – depression experienced by women prior to the start of each period. Other symptoms can include fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, change in appetite, change in sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and feeling overwhelmed.

‘Situational’ Depression – usually a short-term, stress-related type of depression that develops in response to a traumatic event. Common events that can trigger situational depression include the death of a loved one, divorce, and illness. Situational depression is also called ‘stress response syndrome’.

To be diagnosed with major depression, you must be suffering from five or more of the following symptoms for two weeks or longer, and at least one of the symptoms must be loss of interest in activities or a depressed mood. Symptoms may vary depending on what kind of depression has been diagnosed.

  • Feelings of sadness and/or irritability
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • A significant change in weight (loss or gain)
  • Changes in sleep patterns – trouble falling asleep, insomnia, or the need to sleep more than usual
  • Feeling and appearing restless and agitated or slowed down
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Inability to focus/difficulty in thinking
  • Thoughts of death or about suicide

(Adapted from DSMV)

Other symptoms that are commonly seen in depression but not part of the diagnostic criteria include negative thinking with an inability to see positive solutions, irritability/lashing out at loved ones, social isolation, and difficulty making decisions.

Medication for Major Depressive Disorder

The medications used to treat Major Depressive Disorder are called antidepressants, and there are several antidepressants available. We work with the resident to find the best dosage to reduce symptoms without incurring harmful side effects such as oversedation, sexual side effects, and mental fogginess. The goal is to minimize symptoms without sacrificing overall well-being.

Supplements, such as nutraceuticals, vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts, are also used as a part of the treatment. In some instances, the dosage of an antidepressant can be reduced because the supplements have such a positive effect on symptoms.

Getting the right medication at the best dosage is a huge concern, but it is only part of the treatment plan at CooperRiis. We find that a combination of medication, psychotherapy, exercise, community involvement, and other interventions is most effective in treating the whole person.

Ready for help?

We treat adults aged 18+ with depression.
Contact us to get started.