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Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Why Support Groups Are Essential in Strengthening Communities

Support groups help communities of people relate to each other and heal from emotional or physical wounds. In addition to healing, support groups also help bring communities of people together and strengthen bonds with one another. It is a place where you can find solace in a safe place with others that speak the same language that you do. There is often a lesser need for backstories, allowing you to speak more freely and share in one another’s experiences.

What each person shares should be kept confidential — an element that creates lasting bonds between each community member. With trust comes commitment to one another, which can aid in strengthening communities around the world.

Cancer Survivors

Cancer affects not only those that survive the physical toll but also the family members of the diagnosed. Cancer support groups have helped patients and their loved ones through what might be considered the most turbulent times in their lives. Even though this may be a difficult time, attending regular support groups can improve your quality of life. Knowing that there is a present and well-established cancer patient and survivor group may help other community members to not feel so desolate if or when their lives are affected by cancer. It can empower your community to talk openly about fears, experiences and hope to support one another throughout the process.

Mental Health

Many people in America suffer from mental health problems because of a lack of access to quality care. According to Regis College, one in five in America will suffer or have suffered from mental illness. Mental health support groups are free of charge and help those struggling by allowing them an outlet to talk about their feelings with others going through similar situations. There are a large number of people who are currently incarcerated who landed there as a result of a mental illness. By better serving our community members and offering mental health services and support groups, we may also reduce the number of crimes that occur near our homes.

Addition and Recovery

The road to recovery is long and full of a lot of deep-rooted personal work. Directing individuals within your community towards getting help with their addictions can help to reduce the presence of drugs and alcohol on the streets where you call home. By providing programs and groups that can assist addicts to find the right path, you are removing the possibility of that person luring others down the dark alleys of drug and alcohol use. Groups, such as Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, are meant to serve as safe places for those in need to seek refuge and converse freely without judgement. The strength of your community is empowered by anonymity being treated as sacred in order to maintain the fellowship of the group.

If you are in need of support, reach out for help. A quick online search can help you to locate a small group of people within your community that can help to enrich your life, reciprocating by simply being present. Remember, your support group doesn’t always have to be face-to-face. There are online support groups where you can reach another person 24 hours a day. By bettering yourself, you are better able to contribute to your community. Additionally, you never know when your story or experience could be of help to others. When hoping to serve your community, simply sharing a piece of yourself may be all you need to do.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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