A Support group can be very helpful if you know how to choose the right one.
It is the best way people with common experience can help each other deal with the difficulties that they are facing.
There are many different kinds of support groups, such as support groups for people with mental illnesses, substance abuse support groups, support groups for people with a specific diagnosis such as HIV or cancer, support groups for family members and friends, and many others.
And each group works differently from other groups but in a similar way.
No matter what problem you are facing, when you are choosing a support group, there are many factors that need to be considered before you make your decision.
What is a support group?
If by any chance you don’t know what a support group is, you are not the only one.
A support group is an organized group of people who are dealing with the same issues. It is usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, meaning it is free.
This way, it is available to anyone who wants to participate. Support groups are a source of emotional support. They help people in knowing that they are not the only ones having these issues.
Support groups are a way for people to share their coping strategies. Support groups have proven to work very well for many people and if you feel like you need one, you should join one.
It is a good way to overcome stress and anxiety when dealing with something in your life, as support groups practice listening to other peoples’ experiences, providing a sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks to help you.
Where can you find a support group near you?
Finding a support group isn’t difficult. Checking online is the most effective way to find one. There are many websites that provide this information. If you can’t seem to find one online, try asking your doctor or someone who works in your local hospital.
Hospitals are usually the place where people hear about support groups. Check your local newspapers too. People usually put ads in newspapers so that they are accessible to everyone, even the people who don’t have doctors or internet access.
Community organizations, mental health service providers, schools, campuses, hospitals, and clinics are usually the ones who form these support groups.
If you are already in a support group and you decide to move out of your house to a different city or state, ask your support group leader if he knows a support group that you could join after you move.
Different kinds of support groups
There are many different kinds of support groups and choosing a group that suits your needs can be tough. Some groups work as programs that are going to help you. They are usually led by doctors.
You can also find independent support groups led by a person who is or has experienced what you and others are going through.
But if you don’t feel like exposing yourself that much, you can also find online support groups that work as a chat room or a discussion board.
These online support groups are usually for people dealing with rare addictions from around the world such as Trichotillomania.
Almost all support groups are free but there are some exceptions too. But we don’t recommend paid support groups. The last thing you need is to feel like a support group is just wasting your time and hard-earned money.
Factors to consider when choosing a support group
There are numerous factors that should help you make your decision. After all, this is something that you are doing for yourself and you should only want the best for yourself.
- Where are the support group meetings?
The first thing you need to think about is the location of the meetings. Having to travel far away just to go to a support group meeting isn’t good.
You will have bad days and the last thing you need is to skip a meeting because you didn’t feel like driving or taking the bus. But if you don’t have any other options, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t join.
Just find something that brings you joy when going to the meeting. Listening to music on your way to and from your support group meeting can make you go to those meetings even if you don’t feel like going. And always have in mind that you are doing it for your own good.
- Who are the people visiting these meetings?
If you go to a support group meeting and the people who are there don’t seem likeable to you, try finding another one. Going somewhere to seek help and not feeling comfortable won’t be helpful at all.
If you don’t have any other options, you can always try to organize your own support group meetings. Or, try expressive writing. It is a good way to turn the things that are bothering you into something physical that you can come back to later and read.
It is important to remember your own experience once you’ve overcome those problems so that one day you can offer help to someone who needs it.
- How long does the meeting last?
If the support group meetings that you are visiting last too long and you feel like you are wasting time, you shouldn’t attend them. This will make going to the meetings seem like something that you have to do.
Going to support group meetings should make you feel hopeful and the time you spend there needs to fulfil you and make you feel better.