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How do I Choose the Best Mental Illness Support Group?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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The most important consideration when choosing a mental illness support group is that it does offer the type of supportive help you need. Mental health support is available in many forms, such as in providing contact with others who have similar conditions and serving as a link between patients and associations connected with a particular disease. Many local community centers feature a support group for persons with a mental illness.

Many mental illness support groups will allow you to sit in on a meeting or two as a guest. This way, you don't have to make a commitment to join the group until you feel more comfortable. Calling the meeting organizer ahead to explain the kind of support group you're looking for may also be helpful. You can ask the leader any questions you may have about that particular mental illness support group. For instance you could ask him or her to describe what a typical meeting session is like so you'll know basically what to expect before you go.

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Finding a support group with meetings and activities that fit in with both your interests and schedule is crucial. You should also consider how often the group meets, as you may have to look elsewhere if you feel strongly about participating in the support sessions more or less often. If you're not certain if you'd be able to attend an in-person mental illness support group's meetings regularly, or at all, choosing an online option may be best. Many online mental illness groups allow you to post and reply to messages whenever you want once you join the website. Online mental illness support groups also let you communicate with group members from your home or another location rather than having to go out at a certain time and date.

If and when you decide to try an in-person mental health support group setting, you may be able to get some suggestions of locations of groups from a doctor or other medical professional. Contacting a professional association directly, either by telephone or through its website, may help you locate a mental illness support group in your area. If you're interested in obtaining self-help materials for your specific mental illness, an association focused on it may be able to send you these or let you know where to find them. For example, in the United States, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America is known for its self-help materials on anxiety disorder issues.

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