Why join our support group?
COMMENTARY BY ELENI FAKOTAKIS, DIRECTOR HELLENIC SOCIAL SERVICES
Support groups have existed for years. They are popular because of their numerous benefits. Some of the best ones have become advocacy groups in time. There is a panoply of support groups out there today, including self-help groups, professionally run groups, on-line ones, etc. What is important is to choose one that will best address your concerns.
The members of a support group are all faced with a very similar situation. Feelings, facts and experiences are shared by everyone on a regular basis so right away, everyone feels that they are not alone and that there are others who understand and share in their feelings and experiences. People who have different interests are brought together to discuss common problems, to support each other, to share experiences and concrete advice.
The other interesting thing about a support group is that the members are all at different stages of the particular situation or problem, so sharing their experiences and knowledge with other members will give those who are only recently exposed to a situation or concern some insight in knowing what to expect.
Support groups can become important social networks, whereby many friendships develop form these. These groups are often quite instrumental in helping their members to relieve their anxiety, to gain more knowledge and skills and to take control of their situation much better and much faster than by any other means.
Long-term advantages of support groups include, feelings of empowerment and mastering the coping skills necessary to help one avoid becoming depressed or isolated from their friends and family. They also include assisting individuals in learning how to ask for help and how to tap into resources that can offer them support and respite care.
I am proud to announce that our caregiver support group is led by a social worker and community intervention counsellor who are experienced in facilitating group discussions. If you are a natural caregiver, please join us.