What Is a Support Group?

A support group is a group of people who share a common health concern or interest. Behavioral health or substance abuse support groups usually focus on a specific situation or condition, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, bipolar disorder, or depression. There are also groups for family members of someone struggling with these same issues. Support groups are not the same as group therapy sessions and do not need to be run by a licensed therapist.

Things you may be wondering about support groups

How do I find a support group?

  • Search the internet for support groups in your area related to the issue you are experiencing
  • Contact a state or national organization, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) or Alcoholics Anonymous, devoted to your condition or situation and ask about local support groups
  • Ask your psychiatrist or therapist, or contact your community center, church, mosque, synagogue or temple
  • The support group you choose will depend on what is available in your community

What can I expect from a support group?

  • You will meet people with problems similar to yours
  • Members of a support group share their personal experiences and offer emotional comfort and moral support
  • Members of a support group may also offer practical advice and tips to help you cope with your situation