Support groups of all kinds help people to get through their own health challenges, whatever they may be. There are thousands of groups in Queensland. You may find you need to start a new group or change your group depending upon your purpose in getting together.
When groups describe their mission or their purpose, it is important to be clear … your mission states what is the issue you are dealing with and what you want to work on. There is no “right” length for a mission statement, some people like only a sentence, others a long flowing description. Over time and through working together, you might change this main idea. At least once a year or following a major change, discuss this purpose and whether it is still OK.
A simple framed mission statement:
To support each other through …., we share our journey with others, we seek out new ideas about our condition and work together towards recovery/wellbeing/coping.
An important way to think about what your group does is to describe the before and after you. This will help you think about what you might gain through your group or how you could describe to a new person why they should join your group.
Changes people have described to us are:
“He never used to talk at all. Like never. Not one word.”
“I didn’t believe recovery was possible before I joined the group, now I do.”
“I feel normal again.”
You might want to think about how many people might need your group, to think about what size it could be. You can use population data to help you plan. For example, only 1 in 2000 have my condition, there are 80 000 in my city, and I really only want to connect people around my age, so our group might be 4-6 people.
Lots of decisions about the format of your group will be influenced by your health issue. For example, groups about addiction tend to meet very frequently versus cancer survivor groups who may meet monthly. It may be hard to meet together in person, some groups meet only on-line, others might try a quarterly face-to-face plus an on-line forum.
The larger the group, the more complex it is to communicate, but larger groups have more people contributing. Again, there is no “right” size. There are lots of group techniques and technology to help you work together. If you are finding it hard to plan, please contact us for assistance.