US News and World Report just published “The Low Down on Mental Health Support Groups” and overall, its report was favorable. As US News sees it, mental health support groups are varied. But they have the potential to offer friendships, a confidential environment to discuss difficult issues that some people find threatening, resource sharing and the opportunity to learn success strategies from people who use them.
US News mentioned only two nationwide providers of mental health support groups — the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance and NAMI. The report also acknowledged that groups are offered at some hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and community centers, as well as springing up from the grassroots in some locations.
I know of a couple of grassroots groups in North Carolina. Here in the RTP area, a large support group was organized via Meetup that draws mostly working people with Type II bipolar. In the Greensboro area, First Presbyterian Church hosts support groups for people with mental illnesses and their families, led by a long-time member who has bipolar disorder.
The reporter encouraged people with mental illnesses to “try on” a few groups by visiting, since different groups have different personalities, philosophies, and even meeting structure. But she expressed confidence that the right group could be found.
Notably absent from the list of organizations providing support for people with mental illnesses were churches.
Why do you think this is?
What do you think would happen if you proposed a support group for people like yourself at your church?