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How Do I Choose the Best Depression Support Group?

Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen

A depression support group can be a helpful way to treat or support the treatment of your depression while interacting with others who are coping with similar circumstances. There are many different types of support groups designed for individuals with depression, including self-help groups, groups moderated by medical professionals, and online groups. Choosing the best one depends on your personal preferences, although you may also consider professional recommendations from a therapist.

A self-help depression support group that isn’t moderated by a psychologist or therapist is a good option for connecting to others dealing with the same situation in a more casual setting. These groups can take place in a specific meeting location, such as the basement of a church, or at alternating group members’ homes. Unlike moderated groups, self-help group discussions may be a little more open-ended, allowing members to discuss what ever comes to mind. Finding self-help groups can be a bit of a challenge, as the smaller ones are usually not advertised. Ask your doctor or therapist for recommendations, or check your local paper if it lists support meetings.

Prolonged depression may lead to drug abuse.
Prolonged depression may lead to drug abuse.

Finding a moderated depression support group is usually a little easier, especially if you already have a therapist who can provide you with suggestions. During group sessions, the moderator, usually a clinical therapist or psychologist, keeps discussions flowing by asking in-depth questions that lead to deeper examination of the issues being discussed. This is a good option if you feel you need a little extra guidance to help pinpoint issues that may be causing or worsening your depression and feel comfortable talking about your feelings in a group.

An online depression support group is a good option if you don’t have time to attend an in-person group, wish to maintain some level of anonymity, or have anxiety about gathering with strangers. These types of groups usually take place on a message forum or in live chat. Although you typically have to register to use an online support group site, your information usually remains private and others only know you by your screen name. Keep in mind that anyone can pretend to be another person on the internet, so be wary of accepting medical advice from another user, even if that person claims to be a medical professional.

Choosing the best depression support group may require a little experimentation. Try out the different groups and see which offers you the best fit. If you find that you are not getting what you are looking for out of one type, try another type. The right group should be one that makes you feel comfortable, welcome, and supported.

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    • Prolonged depression may lead to drug abuse.
      By: Alexander Raths
      Prolonged depression may lead to drug abuse.