When you face a terminal illness, you and your family go through significant emotional trauma. During these periods, finding a support group can mean the difference between mental anguish and effective learning coping strategies. Therefore, these are tips for finding the right support group.
Identify Your Support Group Goals
Your first decision is whether you want to attend your support group in person or virtually. Then, choose whether you want a therapist or one of your peers to lead the group. You should also determine whether you want counseling or support from individuals who understand what you and your family will deal with as the disease progresses. Finally, determine your time commitment, e.g., weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc.
Work With an Organization
Nonprofit organizations that support specific medical conditions are valuable assets. For example, the Glioblastoma Foundation can guide you in choosing the right support group. The best foundations offer many support services you may benefit from. They may have suggestions for group timing based on your treatments and mental health. They may connect you with others who will speak with you on the phone if you cannot make a meeting.
Look for Local Options
Whether you have just received your diagnosis or you have completed surgery and have received some chemo and radiation treatments, you need a group that you can get to easily. Therefore, search for local groups, so you can make local connections. This is especially valuable when you cannot get to your group because the members may come to you or call you on the phone.
Questions You Should Ask
Find out if the group serves specific diseases or stages as well as how long it has met for. Learn about the location and time of the meetings, who will moderate them and the training the moderator received. Discuss the group rules and any fees you need to pay.
Work with foundation professionals, e.g., Glioblastoma Foundation professionals, to identify red flags or problematic groups.
Once you find a group that you think will work, attend a meeting and stay open to the process.