What is a Support Group?
A support group is a gathering of people, physically or online, to share information, experiences, problems and solutions, often relating to health or social issues. Support groups allow you to interact and connect with people who have been in a similar situation to you. Sharing information about similar experiences can help you understand more about your own situation and help you to feel ‘heard’.
Group members may opt to engage in one or several activities such as providing practical, emotional or social support to members, sharing knowledge such as videos, newsletters, brochures, websites and more. Groups also come together to inform better services, fight stigma, fund research, advocate for members, and raise community awareness.
Benefits of Support Groups
- For many people, finding out they are ‘not the only one’ is one of the major benefits of peer support groups.
- Common ground and a common language help participants ‘feel normal’ again.
- Reduced depression has been documented as a benefit of peer support group attendance.
- For many participants, group membership provides benefits which go beyond the support for their condition. These benefits include friendship and emotional support, increased self-esteem, improved communication skills and more.
Tips For New Groups
There are no fixed rules about how a group should operate. This is something that members will have to discuss and decide. The group should determine their purpose, how it will work and how decisions are made.
Some groups prefer to keep their roles relatively informal, with members taking on various responsibilities as they arise. Other groups may wish to be more formal in structure by assigning specific roles for each task to a different group member
Support Groups Checklist
Support Groups QLD works to support you to find your people. We aim to foster individual and collective wellbeing.
Our door is always open to consult and assist new and existing groups to grow and sustain their members.
Funding Information Sheets
For new groups, in particular, it is not essential to focus on funding at the outset. Funding can come later, once the group decides on its function. However, it is crucial to consider what funds are required to run a peer support network and how this can be sourced. There are two main types of costs in running a peer support group:
- The variable costs of running each meeting; and
- The fixed costs of having a peer support network established.
Variable costs are the costs that are spent and changed with each peer support network meeting, such as room booking fees, tea and coffee, catering, staff delivery fees, transport costs, and information collection or delivery costs, including printing of handouts and alike.
Fixed costs do not change no matter how many peer support network meetings are held and include things like insurance.
A gold coin donation at the door is usually sufficient to cover the cost of morning tea while the group is in the early stages of its formation.
Get in touch with Support Groups Queensland to find out how your group could be supported. We also auspice groups on a case-by-case basis.