Why Joining a Support Group Works

Why Joining a Support Group Works

Joining a support group is a great way to develop tools to help you cope, learn to express your feelings and get connected with others in similar situations.

If you’re experiencing a major illness, injury or a stressful life event — don’t go it alone. A support group can get you through tough times. Support groups bring together people facing similar issues, whether from illness, addiction, injury or other life events. Members may share their experiences and advice on how they cope. Often, these groups are free, making them an easy and convenient way to get additional support during your recovery.

You are not alone

A support group connects you with others who are experiencing similar issues. While each member may be at a different point in the recovery process, taking part offers a window into how individuals cope. Applying some of these methods may be useful in your own life. Likewise, you’ll get to share your struggles with people who understand, firsthand, what you are going through.

Express your frustrations

Member meetings are often organized as open forums that encourage discussion about how you’re feeling and managing on a day-to-day basis. Sharing your personal experience in a safe, nonjudgmental environment can be therapeutic and help with your healing process.

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(800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273)

Learn ways to cope

Overwhelmed and stressed about your situation? Get advice from members who have been where you are. Support groups can teach you coping skills related to exercise, diet, meditation and other techniques to help you manage the stress of an illness and speed the path to recovery. Support group members can also help you navigate hospital procedures and red tape. Groups like the Ronnie Lippin Cancer Support and Navigation Program at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at Keck Medicine of USC help members understand treatment options, clarify insurance benefits and find additional resources.

Help others

Just as you learn from others about how to cope and manage your condition, you can share your experience and knowledge about your treatment progress. Sharing both successes and challenges, no matter how small or large, helps you build connections with other members. In turn, the positive impact you make may help you feel better and give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Find hope

Depression and anxiety are difficult to fight alone. Your support group can help you find and stay on the path to recovery. Simply sharing with each other creates hope, keeps you connected, and most importantly, can be a key step in your recovery plan.

by Heidi Tyline King

Don’t wait — join a support group today. Through Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Cancer Hospital and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, patients can join various support groups that address the emotional side of battling a particular illness. To learn more, call (323) 865-3150. If you are in the Los Angeles area and need medical care, call (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or visit www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment to schedule an appointment.