Depression Support: Why You Need It And Where to Find It

Depression Support

While medication and therapy are the cornerstones of depression treatment, depression support is also an integral part of successful depression recovery. Support might come from friends and family or, more formally, from depression support groups or online depression support.

Depression support groups are primarily peer-run organizations although sometimes professionals are involved. Support groups for depression may be through a community organization, charity, or faith group. People often find that being in a group of others going through the same mental health challenges can support their depression recovery in a way that formal treatments do not.

Benefits of Support Groups


Here are nine potential benefits from participation in support groups:

1) Realizing you are not alone


It’s interesting to hear people describe their first support group meeting. They will often say, “You know, until I went to the group I thought I was the only person in the world with my problem. I was so surprised to find that everyone in the group had the same issues as me.” This realization usually brings about a feeling of relief, by gaining the understanding for perhaps the very first time in their life that others have similar concerns and are there to help and encourage you.

2) Expressing your feelings


After you realize you aren’t alone and within a safe and supportive environment, you will begin to feel comfortable sharing your feelings and life circumstances with the group. This can be a very therapeutic and healing experience, particularly as you find that others in the group will listen nonjudgmentally and will praise you for your openness and courage.

3) Learning helpful information


Support groups offer lots of practical tips and resources for dealing with identified concerns, and members share their success stories and the strategies that helped them move forward in their recovery. Some groups focus on learning and practicing specific coping skills. Many groups will also provide recommendations for useful books and websites for additional study apart from the group meetings.

4) Improved social skills


By meeting and talking with other group members, you also have a chance to practice social skills and interact more effectively with others. Often, mental illness or addiction has contributed to withdrawal from social situations. Support groups provide a safe place to become comfortable around others once more.

5) Gaining hope


It’s very powerful when you see others in the group who are further along their road to recovery and who have made great strides toward having happier and healthier lives. These positive role models show you that recovery is in fact attainable, which brings renewed hope for the future.

6) Reducing distress


As you work through various issues and concerns in the group, it’s common that you will begin to notice a reduced level of overall distress and discomfort. This is a positive sign that progress is being made and that you are feeling better.

7) Increased self-understanding


As you learn more effective ways to cope and handle difficult situations, you gain a better understanding of yourself, your needs, and your own unique personality. You can also gain increased insight into the factors that have contributed to your current challenges and the strategies that seem to work best to help you move toward your goals.

8) Helping others


Just as you benefit from the group experience, you can also help other group members as you grow and make progress. Others will be affected positively by hearing about your successes and by your kind and caring demeanor. You will also notice you feel better when you are able to help someone else. Many groups will explicitly include the goal of helping others as a central component of the group’s mission.

9) Affordability


One additional advantage of support groups is they are very affordable. In fact, many groups are free, and all will typically be cheaper than individual therapy sessions.


Depression Support Groups


The traditional form of depression support is through an in-person depression support group. Support groups are not group therapy but they do offer a safe space to explore issues around living with a mental illness.

Members in a depression support group get to talk about their particular challenges in living with depression. Then, other members of the support group for depression suggest helpful coping techniques and offer their support to the person. This builds a community of like-minded people all working to support each other’s treatment and recovery.

Organizations that run depression support groups may also offer additional services like:
  • Newsletters
  • Educational sessions
  • Libraries of information on depression
  • Special events
  • Advocacy groups
  • Online Depression Support
While depression support groups are available throughout the globe, for a variety of reasons, a person may not be able to attend an in-person group. This is where online depression support can come in. Online depression support groups can offer similar types of support as traditional depression support groups but are available from the comfort of your own home.

Online depression support groups are typically forums where an individual can post a question, topic, or concern, and then others will respond to it with their own depression advice. Online depression support groups are typically moderated by peers but may also be moderated by the organization hosting the support group.

Live depression chat support may also be available with peers or with professionals. Depression chat support can also be found on places like Facebook and Twitter.

FINAL WORD

If you haven’t yet participated in a support group, consider giving one a try. If you’re not sure which specific groups to check out, ask your health care providers or experienced support group members for their recommendations. Commit to attending at least a few meetings, as it will take a little while to relax and feel comfortable in a new group.
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