When we are faced with a debilitating disease or we are going through a terribly challenging time in our life, we are more likely to feel alone and isolated. Are you experiencing something similar? If your answer is yes, have you given any thought to joining a support group? Support groups can be great sources of information. They can provide you with the emotional support you need in times of distress, and they are great vehicles to learn practical tips from people who are living through or have gone through challenges similar to yours.
Support groups exist in formats that are as varied as the challenges they help their members overcome. For example, there are small groups who meet face-to-face on a regular basis, those who organize educational conferences, and others who conduct online discussion forums. While some associations have professional moderators and facilitators such as nurses, psychologists and social workers, others are spearheaded by members of the group.
So how do you go about finding a support group in your area? You can start by speaking with one of your treating health professionals. They are an excellent starting point when you embark on your research. Your local telephone books, newspapers, community centres, and the CLSC nearest you will often have a list of local support groups on hand. An Internet research can also lead you to the websites of the various national organizations dedicated to your disease, condition or particular life situation. These websites generally provide information and contact numbers for their regional branches across the country.
The essential idea is to find a group that meets your specific needs, one that can help you overcome adversity. You may have to try a few groups before finding the one that is right for you. Stay the course but be vigilant! Promises of easy and quick solutions to your problems, being pressured into purchasing expensive products, high participation fees, or advice that radically goes against that of your treating physicians, such as having to abandon medical treatment for example, are all blazing red flags that must not be ignored.