Depression support groups: All to know

Depression support groups come in a variety of forms. There are several unstructured internet forums. A moderator can also be found in online and in-person groups to help steer the discussion.

Support groups give an emotionally safe space for people to vent their thoughts, share ideas, and learn useful knowledge. Many of them are available for free.

Some high-quality data shows that internet support groups are useful in reducing depressive symptoms, according to a 2017 research. People who have used them have said that they:

  • Reduce isolation.
  • improve daily functioning.
  • This increases the likelihood of seeking professional help.

Depression is frequent in the United States, affecting around 4.7 percent of people aged 18 and over.

This article examines the benefits of depression support groups, including online, in-person, and speciality groups. Other types of assistance are also discussed.

Depression support groups

Online groups

A few online support groups for depression are included below, along with some of its advantages.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

An anonymous peer-to-peer support group for people suffering from depression and anxiety is offered by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Individuals and their families may share their stories and interact with others in a secure environment.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

For people suffering from depression or bipolar illness, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) offers online peer-led sessions. After registering with DBSA, individuals can attend planned sessions to learn coping techniques and provide hope to one another. A updated list of meetings for each day is available on the website.

Mental Health America

MHA (Mental Health America) is an online forum where people may talk about a variety of mental health issues, including depression. It is available to persons who have the condition as well as their carers.

Depression Forums

Volunteer moderators who have either experienced depression or have a loved one who has it moderate the Depression Forums. The forums cover a wide range of topics, including medicines and relationships. There’s also a “water cooler” where members may talk about whatever they like and get to know one another.

Depression Understood

People with depression may use Depression Understood to communicate with others in a variety of ways. These include live chat rooms that are available 24 hours a day, as well as forums where people may post messages for others. In addition, Depression Understood gives people the tools they need to launch their own blogs.

Livewell Foundation

People with depression are welcome to attend peer-led Zoom meetings hosted by the Livewell Foundation. On the website, it displays the weekly meetings and subjects, and members may attend the ones that interest them.

The Livewell Foundation does have some attendance limitations, such as a “no observer” policy, which means that family members and caregivers are not permitted to attend.

In-person support groups

In-person support groups provide all of the advantages of online support groups, plus the added benefit of face-to-face connection. A person’s doctor is an excellent source of information about local in-person support groups.

Some of the most well-known mental health organizations have ties to the following in-person choices. Each website provides a search function for finding a group in a certain location.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

The ADAA maintains local and online support groups, although they are not available in every state. If a local group is not already accessible in a certain location, the organization also provides information on how to create one.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

In-person groups are offered by the DBSA in a variety of places. During the COVID-19 epidemic, however, many of the organizations turned to social media, email, and online meeting spaces to stay in touch.

Mental Health America Affiliates

In addition to online support groups, the MHA provides in-person support groups. Some groups are led by peers, while others are led by mental health professionals.

Specialist groups

There are a variety of organizations that offer help for certain forms of depression or to specific demographics. There are additional groups for carers and family members. Here are a few to think about.

Postpartum Support International

People who experience depression during pregnancy or after childbirth can join Postpartum Support International‘s online support groups. It also has a section for people who are having trouble conceiving or have had a miscarriage.

National Alliance on Mental Health Family Support Group

Any adult who has a loved one with a mental health condition is welcome to join the National Alliance on Mental Health Family Support Group. Once a week, once a month, or twice a month, the groups meet for 60–90 minutes. They offer a number of advantages, including assisting members in developing stronger coping abilities.

OK2TALK

OK2TALK is a platform for young people and teens with mental illnesses to speak with one another. It’s a safe place to talk about your challenges, your rehabilitation, and your hope.

Daily Strength

DailyStrength (DS) is a support group for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental condition that can lead to despair. With approximately 9,000 members, the DS community is rather active.

How to choose a group

Finding a support group that a person loves is a very individual experience. Before attempting one, people should think about if they prefer:

  • a group that helps people with any type of depression, or a specialized group
  • a group that allows family members and caregivers, or one that only allows people with depression
  • an online or in-person group
  • a group that is free-form, or one that is moderated by a mental health professional

It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. It’s fine to quit one group and join another if it doesn’t seem right.

Other options

Support groups can be a beneficial supplement to a person’s treatment, but they are not a substitute for treatment. Doctors usually prescribe talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two for this.

Talk therapy can assist a person in processing their emotions and learning to regulate them in a healthy manner. It can also educate someone coping techniques or assist in the discovery of the condition’s underlying root causes.

There are many different sorts of talk therapy, so just because a person doesn’t like one style or one therapist doesn’t imply it won’t help. Finding a therapist with whom a person can form a positive relationship is important.

Depressive symptoms may be alleviated with medication. People may take these to make it easier to start talking therapy. People may find it beneficial to continue taking them indefinitely in some cases.

Depression medications can have negative effects, and they usually take 2–4 weeks to work. Symptoms such as suicidal thoughts may temporarily rise in young people under the age of 25. In the first few weeks after starting these drugs, it’s important to keep a careful eye on young people who are taking them.

Even if a person’s symptoms are severe, depression is generally curable. People can talk to a doctor about their alternatives in order to determine the best strategy for them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, depression support groups may provide people with friendship, empathy, and a secure place to talk about their feelings. Although in-person groups are not available in every place, anybody with an internet connection may participate in online groups.

Support groups offer various advantages, but physicians advise using them as a supplement to treatment rather than as a replacement.

Sources:

  • https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression
  • https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/depression.htm
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/depression-support-groups
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5608809/