Support Groups

Online mental health support groups connect people who share similar problems or stressors.

The combination of therapeutic intervention and participation in a relevant online support group can be an effective combination.

Relevant groups can be located through search engines, referrals from professionals, links on websites, the media, and the recommendations of family and friends.

Not all support groups are equal, and it takes the combination of an effective leader, (best if a professional facilitator), a good technological design, and an involved membership to bring about positive results.

Check to see if there are a significant number of active members, look for recent dates on the posts, and the timbre of the responses. For an example of a good forum, go to Surviving Antidepressants and look at the quality, quantity and timeliness of the posts.

One caveat should be noted. When someone is grappling with issues they hope to overcome, participating in a group where members have had longstanding experiences with similar problems can increase distress.

  • exchanging knowledge
  • the use of humor to face joint adversity
  • the ability to vent through writing
  • giving and receiving emotional support
  • getting social recognition
  • sharing personal experiences
  • developing relationships with members
  • helping others
  • getting assistance with decision making, following through on goals