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Support Groups

Support Groups: A Team Approach Can Make Life Easier

Life can be challenging at times and there is no reason to tackle it alone. Many individuals struggle with similar issues, whether they be stress, depression, anxiety, family dynamics or health issues. You can learn from their journey; there is no need to make the same mistakes.

By searching and finding the right support group, you can connect with other people that are facing similar challenges, and learn strategies that work and how to find a sense of victory and empowerment in your life journey.

What Should You Expect?

When becoming a member of a support group, you can expect to hear others share their personal experiences, advice, resources and often the latest research or ways to help with the given circumstance. Whether you actively participate by sharing your insights or just passively receive the guidance, a healthy support group will meet you where you are in your journey. Just talking with others struggling can really help.

There are times when friends and family are not able to fully help or understand all your needs. However, those who have had similar experiences are able to provide better assistance and understanding. This is not surprising at all: when you face a challenge, you have gained a deeper understanding of other people’s sufferings that you would never have been able to totally connect with until now.

Types of Support Groups

There is virtually a support group for any life event, challenge or need you may have. The key is to find the support group that embraces your life philosophy and needs the most. Find a group that leaves you feeling stronger, wiser and more upbeat.

Some examples of support groups include ones for depression, anxiety, various cancers, diabetes, addiction, heart disease, care-giver support and parenting.

There are many formats for support groups:

  • Virtual (internet based)
  • Telephone (conference call style)
  • In-person group (led by a professional)

Why Participate in a Support Group

Most people become participants of a support group to gain and give emotional advice and support. Frequently members gain one or more of these benefits:

  • Alleviate loneliness
  • Develop a feeling of acceptance
  • Increase sense of empowerment
  • Feel more in control
  • Gain coping skills
  • Understand feelings more clearly
  • Decrease stress, anxiety and depression

Select Listing of Common Support Groups

Your local health care provider, hospital, spiritual center and other local social service centers can help you find a support group that is right for you. There are countless resources online as well. Here are a few national support group resources in the United States:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Guide to Support Groups

http://healthfinder.gov/FindServices/SearchContext.aspx?topic=833

Stroke Support Groups

www.stroke.org/stroke-resources/stroke-support-groups

List of Multiple National Support Groups

www.griefspeaks.com/id76.html

Anxiety and Depression Association of America Support Groups

http://www.adaa.org/supportgroups

American Cancer Society Support Groups

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/mindbodyandspirit/support-groups-cam

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