Are you looking for emotional support groups? Do you find it hard to overcome past hurts, self-doubt, feat and negative thoughts? Are you looking for help for emotional anxiety? Do you need an emotional support group? Do you know of family members or a loved one who can benefit from an emotional support group? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have come to the right place.
Hi. My name is Sean Galla, a facilitator for online support groups for men, including emotional support groups. I know firsthand how helpful an emotional support group can be for anyone struggling with anxiety, anger, grief, depression, and low self-esteem, among other emotional difficulties. If you are looking for guidance to overcome your emotional struggles, you have come to the right place.
In this article, you will learn what emotional support groups are and why they come highly recommended.
Table of Contents:
What Are Emotional Support Groups?
‘Emotional support groups’ is a collective term used for support groups for people struggling with anger, anxiety, depression, grief, or any other emotional issue. Sometimes, when facing different life issues, it can take a toll on your emotions, which can affect your mental health. Whether you are faced with the loss of a loved one, life’s difficulties, or other personal problems, it is always important to have a support system. In an emotional support group, you can experience emotional healing through sharing your life experience and learning from others who have walked your path before.
In an emotional support group, you will experience mental healing to live your best life. In an emotional support group, you find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. They offer emotional support, guidance, and help, making it easier to overcome whatever issues taking a toll on your emotions.
Emotional support groups are a way for people dealing with similar life issues to come together and health each other through these issues through offering emotional support. These can be ideal for people living with mental health illnesses like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, or other health conditions that require emotional support.
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Types of Emotional Support System
Emotional support groups can be availed by hospitals, community organizations, support agencies, mental health care providers, schools for young adults, and online communities.
Peer to peer emotional support groups
Emotional support groups can be peer support groups led by people who share the same experiences, also referred to as facilitators with experience in leading support groups. In a peer support group, members learn through shared experiences on the best coping skills, self-help, and self-care methods, which play an important role in the wellness of the members. Alcohol anonymous groups are a type of peer-led emotional support group.
Professional emotional support groups
These are more formal support groups led by health professionals. These formal support groups are meant to deliver more information on specific health or mental issues. However, these groups are not preferred since they lack empathy present in a peer support group.
Specific emotional support groups
Some emotional support groups are strictly open to people with specific diagnoses and experiences with certain conditions. These can be ideal for specific chronic physical and mental illnesses like mood disorders, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or even schizophrenia. These groups focus on offering guidance and referrals to health professionals for specialized care.
Caregivers and family members emotional support groups
These are groups open to caregivers and family members to people struggling with different life issues.
Depression and bipolar support alliance (DBSA), the anxiety and depression association of America, and the national alliance on mental illness (NAMI) are examples of advocacy groups offering emotional support.
If you are not sure about the best emotional support group for your needs, you can contact the organizations through their helpline to learn more about the kind of advocacy work they do and accessibility criteria.
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Choosing an Emotional Self-help Group
Not all emotional support groups are created equally, even those offered in the same organization. The best support group should empower the group members by providing reliable and quality information. This is the best way to help the members in caring for their health and recovery. With the shared experiences and knowledge, members can have an easier time overcoming issues like stress, anxiety, depression, and even trauma.
The best groups should also leave enough room for the members to talk about their issues without necessarily offering immediate solutions. This makes it easier for the members to vent their frustrations, which is important for healing. Once the members have shared, the facilitator can give tips, skills, or connections to help the members overcome their shared issues. This is the best way to make progress towards healing.
When choosing the best emotional support group, there are some aspects you need to consider. By going through the following checklist, you are better placed to decide on the best group for your needs. The most important questions to ask include:
- Is the group open to new members?
- What are the joining criteria?
- How and where does the group meet?
- How many people are in the group?
- Is the group a non-profit organization or affiliated with other programs/organizations?
- Does the group take confidentiality seriously?
- How are the meetings structured?
- What topics are discussed?
- Who oversees the meetings?
- Is it a secular or faith-based group?
With these questions, you can purpose to attend a few emotional group meetings to find answers to your questions. After the sessions, you need to consider factors such as:
- Did the group make you feel included?
- Did you feel comfortable and safe enough to want to share?
- Does the group cater to my need for emotional support?
- Do they have the necessary skills and tools to teach you how to cope with your issues?
- Did you enjoy the meeting?
- Do you have any concerns about confidentiality in the group?
- Do you see yourself benefiting from being in the group?
- Do you think you can be of value to the group and the members?
With the right emotional support group, you should answer yes to at least 99% of these questions. With this checklist, you will have an easier time finding the most appropriate emotional support group for your needs.
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Benefits of Emotion Support Groups
Since 2010, the number of people inflicting self-harm, including suicide, has skyrocketed. This is because most people are living with emotional issues they feel they cannot share for fear of being judged or misunderstood.
Expressing your emotions to other people can have multiple benefits to your physical and mental health. If you feel that none of your family members and friends can understand, joining an emotional support group is the next best choice. You can enjoy numerous benefits when you join an emotional support group.
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You feel less isolated.
Emotional support groups comprise people going through similar issues as yours. This gives you a sense of belonging and assurance that your issues are not unique to just you. Being in the company of people who understand makes you feel less of a victim and motivates you to work through your issues.
You get to vent in a safe space.
A problem half shared is a problem half solved. When you are going through emotional turmoil, talking about it lessens the burden. Emotional support groups give you a safe space to share your troubles without fear of being misunderstood or judged. When you share what is stressing you, you feel so much better, even when you do not get a solution for your needs. Sometimes all you need is a listening ear.
You learn healthy coping mechanisms.
People respond differently to stress and issues. An emotional support group is the best place to learn healthy coping mechanisms for different life issues. Adopting healthy ways of dealing with issues can save you from self-destructive coping behavior like alcoholism and substance use.
Recommendations for the Best Emotional Support Groups
The anxiety treatment center
This comprises emotional support groups for people living with anxiety disorders. The Anxiety Treatment Center includes groups for people living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), where members are trained on how to ERP techniques through a therapist-led approach. They also have a social anxiety support group for adults in need of help for public speaking, meeting new people, and being in public spaces.
Triad Mental Health
Triad Mental Health is a mental health support group offering emotional support, guidance, and resources to people living with panic disorder and social disorder. It also supports people living with PTSD, OCD, and schizophrenia. Before the pandemic, the group would meet every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month.
Men’s Group is an online emotional support group for men. If you are a man in need of emotional support, being part of a men-only community is one of the best ways to ensure you get personalized help for your needs.
Men’s Group is a community of men dedicated to supporting each other through life’s challenges and changes. Being part of a men-only support group ensures that you get a free space to share, vent, and learn in a safe space without fear of judgment or being misunderstood.
Joining an emotional support group is the best way to heal from emotional issues caused by different life issues as you learn how to lead a happy and positive life. Emotional support groups offer a safe place for the healing process. At mensgroup.com, you will meet a group of mentors to guide you through the healing process and help you cultivate healthy life habits for a more fulfilling and happy life.
*Sources: 1. Do depressed and anxious men do groups? What works and what are the barriers to help seeking? 2. Men's mental health: 'Man up' is not the answer 3. By the numbers Men and depression 4. Are men getting more emotional? Critical sociological perspectives on men, masculinities and emotions 5. Gender differences in emotion perception and self-reported emotional intelligence: A test of the emotion sensitivity hypothesis