4 Benefits of Support Groups

Mental health awareness is on a rise. Some people don’t mind talking about it, while others prefer to stay to themselves. Either way the awareness needs to be addressed and we went too long without making the awareness a priority.

“I’m not crazy”.

Is the first thing I hear whenever someone talks about seeing a therapist. But what does that mean? Why is there a stigma for people who are trying to obtain help. Mental health is healthcare and it’s time to put a stop to the stigma. But the only way we will put a stop it is if we make the conversation comfortable in at our kitchen tables.

One way I believe the stigma will diminish is by talking. The most common places where people are taking about mental health are in inpatient facilities and outpatient mental health programs, but it shouldn’t stop there. As a matter of fact these programs are a great place to START and learn how we can make mental health a common conversation in our communities.

Mental health is bigger than that (not that those programs are not important) it’s important to think broader because people can have a mental breakdown at any place, anytime, anywhere.

I reached out on Facebook and asked people if they knew of a mental health support group. I didn’t get much feedback, which informed me there is a lack our communities. A support group may seem simple for some people however its beneficial for our communities and people who are dealing with mental health. It goes so far to have a platform where people can express themselves and know there is a place they can look forward to to hear valuable information about topics that helps them and the people they love.

So why a support group? Here’s why…

  1. Support: this is obvious to many people but that’s what a support group is all about. It gives support and it allows people to not feel alone when they are going through a mental break. It also allows people to stay consistent with their outpatient treatment when they have a person or group of people rooting for them.  Having that alone feeling triggers negative thoughts and can cause people to go use negative reinforcement because there is no one around them acknowledging their feelings or helping them get through times of struggling.
  2. Promote Social Skills: interaction creates awareness and positivity. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and felt good afterwards? That’s basically what happens at a support group. One person may say something that resonates with you and it can make you look at life in a different manner. When we encounter people who are like minded or have a positive way of thinking it allows us to think positively. When we think this way it promotes health and allows people to want to take care of their mental state and overall they start to feel good. Now isn’t that good news? 
  3. Feedback/Informative: a lot of different people come to support groups because it’s accessible to those in the surrounding areas. Just think about all that valuable information that is in one group! It’s kind of like having a business meeting and people are putting all their thoughts together to come up with great ideas. For some people valuable information may only come from a support group.
  4. Awareness: understanding your mental health gives you the information you need in order to move forward. People who know what is going on and the benefits of treatment will encourage people to move forward. Its a win win situation for everyone. It gives family members and idea of what their love one is going through and creates and understanding of what to do when a mental break happens. Most of the time situations can get worse simply because some people do not know what to do. Having general awareness brings comfort to people who are dealing with mental health and knowing that their family member took the effort to attend a support group for a better understanding.

Don’t you want to be apart of a support group now?

There are a lot of benefits to joining a group. It gives you a sense of belonging as well as identifying with people with similar interest. Do you ever wonder why some students do well or have better social skills than others? It’s because they are associated with teams and groups of people that encourage and inspire them one way or another. This is also true for people who are successful business owners. They hang around people with similar interest and grow from each other. If they can do it it’s quite important for people who are dealing with mental illness to do it as well.

There is something missing between appointments with a therapist and I believe a support group is the missing link. If people are not in a support group, however they deal with mental illness, what is the likelihood that they would continue with treatment? Or realize they need to speak to someone when an issue occurs? We need people to support us, checkup on us, and hold us accountable when we are dealing with life stressors. You do not have to experience mental illness alone, you just have to find that group who can help you put your best foot forward.

The stigma for mental illness still exist and it is time we put an end to it. I can’t say that enough. Mental illness can happen to anyone. It doesn’t determine you financial nor education status. It doesn’t matter if you were raised in a single parent or two parent household. And as silly as it sounds it doesn’t matter what kind of career field you are in, mental illness is everywhere and its time the world comes to grips with it.

-Jamie

Community Convo: Have you ever been in a support group, if so what kind? What did you learn and what do you think you can tell others that are thinking about going to a support group? 

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