Support Groups and Social Support - Overview
Look for a support group that works for you. Ask yourself
if you prefer structure and would like a group leader, or if you'd like a less
formal group. Do you prefer face-to-face meetings, or do you feel more secure
in Internet chat rooms or forums?
Social support includes emotional
support such as love, trust, and understanding, as well as advice and concrete
help, such as help managing your time. Your family, friends, and community all
can do this. They can make you feel cared about and feel good about yourself,
and can give you hope.
You may get your social support from many
people. You may play sports with one group of people, go to movies with
another, and turn to family or friends to talk over problems.
can look for support from:
- Your spouse or partner and your
- Your parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles,
cousins, grandparents, and anyone who is like family to you.
- Friends, coworkers, members of your religious and/or spiritual
groups, neighbors, and classmates.
- Support groups, consumer
drop-in centers, and online support groups.
- Doctors, therapists,
nurses, and other professionals.
Ask yourself where you get your social support. You may
be able to forge a closer relationship with family members or friends. Maybe
you know someone who you'd like to know better. You can join a club, or find a
group of people with the same interests you have.
Improving social support
You may not have good
social support. You may avoid other people. This may be because:
- You may feel ashamed of having your problem
and not want to talk to anyone.
- Your condition may make other
people wary of you. For example, if you have PTSD and are often angry, people
may avoid you.
- You may feel too sad to want to talk to
- You may have no family and few friends where you
If you can improve your social support, it can help you
deal with your condition. Here are some ways you can make your social support
- Know that social support is a two-way street.
You count on your social network for support, but its members also count on
you. Ask them about their families, jobs, and interests, and help them when you
- Know your friends' limits. You don't have to see or call your
friends every day. If you're going through a rough patch, ask friends if it's
okay to contact them outside of the usual boundaries.
- Don't always
complain or talk about yourself. Know when it's time to stop talking and listen
or to just enjoy your friend's company.
- Be clear when
communicating. Ask questions to be sure you know what people want. If you ask
for something, be sure you make yourself understood. Listen to what your
friends have to say, and don't judge them.
- Know that good friends
can be bad friends. If your buddy keeps you drinking when you shouldn't be, you
may want to end the friendship. A social network lifts you up. It shouldn't
drag you down.
For more information, see the topic
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.