Mental Health Support Groups
Mental health Center
Together we stand
Mental health support groups can be a wonderfully useful tool in managing mental problems and maintaining mental health.
While we offer our own support groups at the Mental Health Center of Tacoma, Washington, there are other support groups available outside of our organization as well. If for whatever reason our support groups do not fit your needs, we are happy to refer you to another group.
You may have some trepidation about participating in a support group. It can feel intimidating if it is something you have no experience with. It is hard for many people to open up about their feelings and issues to someone they love who is close to them, or even a trained professional, much less a room full of strangers. But most who take the plunge and get involved in a support group find it to be extremely helpful and love having a supportive community of people with experiences similar to their own.
If you are interested in joining a support group, here are a few tips
- It’s okay to be nervous
It’s okay to be nervous or scared your first time attending a support group meeting. It’s likely there will be other first-timers there feeling the same way you are. For certain mental health issues, such as social anxiety, it can feel almost impossible to participate. Know that you will not have to speak or share your story at any point. All group participation is voluntary, and everyone will want you to feel comfortable. You can just listen to others, and maybe introduce yourself, only if you want to. You don’t have to do anything. Likely by the second or third meeting, you will feel much more comfortable, but you still do not have to participate if you do not want to.
Confidentiality works both ways – it is important for you to know that anything you share with the group is confidential and that anything that is shared should also be confidential. Respect the privacy of your group members the way you would want your privacy respected. Please note that the only case where confidentiality is suspended is when people threaten harm to themselves or others.
3. Get the right fit
Support groups can be very helpful, but you can get the most out of what support groups offer if you feel like your group is the right fit. You want to find a group that serves your specific issues, has a majority or all people you feel comfortable with and meets at a time and place that is accessible to you.