Support groups bring together people who are going through or have gone through similar experiences. For example, this common ground might be cancer, chronic medical conditions, addiction, bereavement or caregiving.
A support group provides an opportunity for people to share personal experiences and feelings, coping strategies, or firsthand information about diseases or treatments.
For many people, a health-related support group may fill a gap between medical treatment and the need for emotional support. A person’s relationship with a doctor or other medical personnel may not provide adequate emotional support, and a person’s family and friends may not understand the impact of a disease or treatment. A support group among people with shared experiences may function as a bridge between medical and emotional needs.
Benefits of support groups
The common experience among members of a support group often means they have similar feelings, worries, everyday problems, treatment decisions or treatment side effects. Participating in a group provides you with an opportunity to be with people who are likely to have a common purpose and likely to understand one another.
Benefits of participating in a support group may include:
- 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