Self-help groups have a great history of getting people the help that they need. They often help with mental health issues, mental illnesses, and addiction problems. Many people get comfort out of knowing that they aren’t the only one in the world suffering, so they look to support groups for that help and care.
Here are some questions and tips to think about when choosing the best type of support group for you.
- Why are you looking to join a support group? There are different types of support groups for different illnesses. If you are suffering from depression, find a support group for people also dealing with depression. Finding a support group that “specializes” in your illness has been shown to help many people in feeling as though people are there for them and understand exactly what they’re going through.
- Ask your doctor for some support groups they may know about. They are often a very trustworthy source to go to, so don’t be afraid to ask them for help in finding the perfect support group for you.
- Make sure you have enough information on a support group before making a decision. You don’t want to take part in a support group that you find to be uncomfortable or not helpful. Before going to your first session, try getting in touch with the coordinator and talk to them about any questions and concerns you may have.
- Where are the meetings held? You need to ensure that the meetings will be easy for you to get to. If not, that may end up being an excuse you use for not going to meetings.
- Can family members and loved ones attend with you? Having people around you that you know and love while there, means a lot to some people. Sometimes it’s good to have a familiar face present who is specifically there to cheer you on.
- How many people usually go to these meetings? For some people, the number of people who attend can be a deal-breaker. Some people enjoy small groups where they can get to know each other on a more personal level, while others enjoy having a large group of people supporting them.
After you’ve decided on a self-help group that you’re going to attend and you have attended your first meeting, ask yourself some of these questions.
- Did the people there and the group itself make you feel positive? If you aren’t feeling too positive after a couple meetings, that group isn’t for you. You’re there to get better, not to get worse.
- Are your symptoms improving? If you answer yes to this question, that’s great! That means the self-help group is working for you. Keep going to meetings and continue to improve.
It’s important that you’re comfortable with the support group you choose, so ensure that you get any and all information you can on the support groups in your area. Once you’ve found the right self-help group for you, go to the meetings. You’re there to get help from others that know what you’re going through, so don’t back out of your commitment. You’re there to get better, so ensure that you go to as many meetings as you can.