Getting the Most from a Mental Health Support Group
If you have depression, anxiety, or another mental health problem, you can find support
by visiting an online support group. Support groups can also help family members.
Mental health support groups offer support, understanding, and helpful information
to people struggling with depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and
Many towns have face-to-face support groups. People who don’t live near such meetings
have another choice: They can visit online support groups, chat rooms, and message
If you’re interested in joining an online support group, the following ideas can help
you find one.
Questions to ask
It's important to find an online self-help group that meets your needs. Asking the
following questions can help you find one that does:
Are there recent postings by a number of different people? The online group should
have postings from more than a few people.
Are people truly helping one another? Questions and requests for help are best answered
by members who can share their positive experiences, strengths, and hopes.
Are the members caring? Postings should be friendly and positive. There should be
rules against abusive language.
Can you relate to the group? Different online groups have different intentions and
levels of feeling. If a group isn’t on your wavelength, try another.
Is the site advertising a product as a cure? Be wary of those that do.
Search for sites
Many national self-help organizations have sites that provide message boards, email
discussion groups, chat rooms, and links to sites that deal with their issue.
Here are other ways to find groups:
Sites to try
Although online support groups can be helpful, they’re not monitored by professional
mental health providers. Some of them can spread information based on hearsay, instead
of sound medical practice. Don’t change your medication or dosage without speaking
with your health care provider.