Many people find peer support a helpful tool that can aid in their recovery. There are a variety of organizations that offer support groups for consumers, their family members and friends. Some support groups are peer-led, while others may be led by a mental health professional.
Who should use support groups?
Support groups are offered as a space where individuals can come together to share their stories, experiences, and lives in a way that helps reduce isolation and loneliness. Oftentimes, we think we are struggling alone, but support groups help us see that there are others who may dealing with similar situations and who in turn can help us get better.
Support groups are open to anyone, but they are often focused on specific topics (i.e. depression, family, divorce, grief, etc.). So, take some time and do some research to find the right one for you and your current situation.
Finding the right support group can be helpful. Do not be discouraged if the first support group you find doesn’t quite feel right. You should feel comfortable in the support group space that you choose, so trying different ones may help you determine the best fit.
We also encourage you to also take a look at Mental Health America’s LiveYourLifeWell program to learn more about the value of connecting with others and other helpful wellness tools.
Can I access support groups online?
Some organizations now offer online support groups, discussion boards, blogs, and online communities as additional ways to connect with others in similar situations. These can be helpful additions to in-person support groups and can be especially helpful if there are no groups in your area.
Mental Health America has its own support community through Inspire which enables individuals to connect on a variety of issues and topics related to mental health.
Where can I find a support group to attend locally?
Your local Mental Health America affiliate is an excellent resource to assist you in finding support groups in your area.
The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Group Clearinghouse also maintains a Directory of Consumer-Driven Services which includes peer-run organizations throughout the United States that offer a variety of supportive services and activities, including peer-run support groups.