Understanding the Value of Mental Health Support Groups

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AdobeStock_84437498If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction or any other mental health condition, it can be difficult to push yourself to interact with others. But the benefits of outpatient treatments for mental illness like group therapy can far outweigh any possible discomfort of taking that initial step and attending your first meeting.

Strength in Numbers

Participating in a support group can be so helpful in combating feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can improve your outlook on life. Additionally, these groups offer support that is unique to your condition. It can be hugely beneficial to listen to and speak with others who can fully understand what you’re going through because they’re either going through a similar experience themselves or have overcome it.

Normalize Mental Illness

When you surround yourself with others who can relate to your condition, the stigma that often accompanies mental illness suddenly loses its power. Support groups can help you to understand that your condition is not shameful, nor is it something that you can’t overcome.

Structure

In addition to their social and psychological benefits, support groups can add structure to your life. If you often feel bored and lack a sense of purpose, committing to a weekly support group can provide you with a structured activity to attend, rather than letting yourself perpetuate your isolation. It’s also helpful to remember that your support group members are counting on your presence. Knowing that you are needed as part of the group can in itself make a positive difference.

If you still don’t feel quite ready for group therapy, you could consider starting with individual therapy, where you’ll meet one-on-one with a therapist. Once you feel comfortable enough sharing your feelings with a professional, you may feel better about joining a support group.