When you're going through a difficult time, it can be helpful to find support from others who are in the same boat. Peer support groups, therapy groups, and online support groups are all great ways to connect with people who understand what you're going through. Whether you're looking for emotional support, advice, or just someone to talk to, there are plenty of resources available to help you find the support you need. Mutual support groups and 12-step programs are led by peers, while therapy groups are led by a mental health professional. These groups can help people with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and grief, as well as those going through stressful experiences like divorce.
Therapy for Black Girls has created a private discussion group called Thrive Tribe that many members use for therapeutic peer-to-peer discussions. Doctors and health professionals can provide mild emotional support, but their primary focus is always medical. Meetup is a great way to connect with other people with similar interests and hobbies, but it can also be used to organize support groups. Mental Health America branches can help you find local support groups that meet your needs. Depending on the group, it could be limited to a specific gender, adults over 18, people facing a specific challenge, or the friends and family of people living with a certain condition. Being close to other members of the support group can help improve your mood and sense of optimism.
It gives you the emotional reserves you need to realistically imagine a better future. Zencare has a list of virtual support and connection groups during the pandemic for those who need more support. Support groups can help reframe your problems in a more positive light and provide relief from mental illness symptoms. They can also complement in-person psychotherapy sessions. However, it's important to remember that support groups are not a substitute for professional mental health treatment. A support group is a safe place where you can talk about your emotions and circumstances without fear of judgement or criticism.
If you or someone you know has a mental illness, there are plenty of resources available to help you find the support you need.