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Attending a Support Group can Help Your Mental Health

There are many valuable tools that you can use to heal and learn how to cope when you have a mental health condition. It is helpful to find a sense of community, and to be able to talk to people who understand what you are going through.

In addition to therapy and medication, it can be helpful to go to a support group if you need additional support. This can be beneficial in the healing process, and help you to come together with other people with a similar mental health condition as yours.

Some support groups are for things like recovering from addictions or domestic violence. Others are for specific disorders. Whatever you are going through, you can find other people with a similar experience that can relate.

Some of the benefits of attending support groups, according to The Mayo Clinic, are:

  • Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged

  • Reducing distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue

  • Talking openly and honestly about your feelings

  • Improving skills to cope with challenges

  • Staying motivated to manage chronic conditions or stick to treatment plans

  • Gaining a sense of empowerment, control or hope

  • Improving understanding of a disease and your own experience with it

  • Getting practical feedback about treatment options

  • Learning about health, economic or social resources

Fostering a sense of connection really can help you become more resilient when it comes to coping with your mental health symptoms. There is strength in connection. It can help to foster a sense of wellbeing and compassion.

Many times when we suffer from a mental illness, we feel isolated from the wider community. We feel stigmatized and pushed to the sidelines. So, being able to connect with other people who have similar experiences helps us to feel like we are a part of things.

You can find a support group either in-person or online. Most of them are free to attend, and many are anonymous as well. This allows you to be able to speak your mind, and share your feelings without fear of them being used against you. Groups will require confidentiality, so that group members don't share information outside of the group.

I have predominately participated in online support groups on Facebook. You can search and find groups that are geared towards your needs. Once you introduce yourself, you can share as many or as few details as you want about yourself as you are in the process of getting to know each other.

According to Mental Health America,

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.

You can use these links to find a support group in your area, or you can do an online search, or ask your mental health provider. When you find something near you, it can help you to connect with other people in your local area that you can spend time with and support each other.

In addition to attending support groups, it can be helpful to see a therapist, psychiatrist or life coach. All these professionals are able to help you in different ways.

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