The Lyme Tree aims to improve access to mental health resources & support for those challenged with Lyme disease and tick borne illness.
By connecting patients with local support groups, educational resources & crisis support The Lyme Tree strives to foster hope, resilience, empowerment, and healing. Through educational outreach, The Lyme Tree seeks to improve people’s understanding of the neurological and emotional impact of this complex and debilitating “invisible” illness.
Our Branches of Support
Connect Patients to Support Groups
The Lyme Tree helps patients and their loved ones connect with local Lyme support groups through our national Find a Support Group page.
Through our Support Tools Lyme disease patients and caregivers can access tips and resources for coping with various aspects of the illness.
The Lyme Tree’s Support Tools and Educational Resources enable health care providers and educators- including mental health counselors, social workers, and school counselors- to become better informed about the neurological and emotional impacts of the disease.
Unite and guide support groups nationwide
The Lyme Tree aims to guide and unite Lyme disease support groups around the country by providing training and education to group leaders. In addition, up-to-date materials found on our Educational Resources page can be used to help guide support group meetings.
The Lyme Tree connects healthcare providers to resources that help them better serve the neurological and emotional needs of the Lyme and tick borne illness population. A curriculum for training providers is under development.
Improve Crisis Management
Due to the high rates of depression and suicidal tendencies experienced by Lyme disease patients, The Lyme Tree recognizes the vital need for better crisis management. The Lyme Tree is collaborating with Crisis Text Line to provide training and resources to CTL counselors so they recognize and offer appropriate mental health services and support to Lyme patients in crisis.
If you or a loved one are in need of immediate support for issues relating to tick borne illness, including suicidal tendencies, please know these options are available:
- Call 911
- Go to your nearest emergency room
- Text HELP to Crisis Text Line to 741-741 available 24 hours every day
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number at 1-800-273-8255 available 24 hours every day
The Lyme Tree‘s roots were planted in April 2016 at the first ever Hackathon for Lyme Innovation at MIT in Cambridge, MA. Kerry Lang, the mental health counselor at the Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, pitched an idea to unite support groups across the country and to educate mental health providers so that every patient with Lyme disease could have access to emotional support.
We formed a team, consisting of patients, advocates, a physician and data scientist, and won first place and went onto compete at the next series of Lyme Innovation hackathons in June and September.
We promoted using an existing patient powered platform, Crisis Text Line, to help combat the isolation, depression and suicidal tendencies of Lyme disease patients by connecting Lyme patients in crisis to mental health services and support via texting.
Our “TextLyme” team created a database of resources and support groups in addition to educational materials on Lyme disease to be used to train Crisis Text Line operators. By collaborating with Crisis Text Line and Open Medicine Institute we envision using open data to help shine a spotlight on the mental health needs of this pernicious “invisible” illness.
Our team won third place in the final hackathon event and earned a trip to Washington DC where we were honored at the White House Open Data Innovation Summit in September 2016.
Lyme Innovation is the first ever Hackathon for Lyme disease, which provided a forum for more than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from a variety of disciplines to brainstorm solutions for Lyme disease. The Lyme Innovation Hackathon was sponsored by Bay Area Lyme Disease and led by the Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in conjuction with Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation.
Expanding upon our initial seed work in mental health outreach, our “TextLyme” hackathon idea has grown into “The Lyme Tree” to enable us to more effectively provide stronger branches of emotional support and mental health education for the Lyme disease community.
Team Leader, Mental Health Counselor, Lyme disease advocate.
Lyme patient, Actuary and Benefits Consultant.
International Auditor, Lyme patient, Co-founder/Facilitator MA Lyme Association.
Life Science Consultant and Advisory Board Member at the Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness
Robert C Sabatino
Retired NYPD, Lyme Advocate and Late Stage Chronic Lyme patient.
MD, MPH - Research Fellow, Connected Health, MGH, Harvard Medical School.
Registered Nurse and Lyme patient.
In The Media
Help Keep Us Up to Date On Your Support Group Info or Events Focused on Lyme Disease and Mental Health
In the comment section below please send us updated information on your local support group(s) so we can keep our national support group finder up to date for the benefit of all those seeking support and resources.
- Please include Name of Support Group, Phone #, email, & zipcode
- Please limit comments to 140 characters or less