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Promoting Wellness with Support Groups

In group today, I reiterated my background in receiving mental health treatment at the center where I receive care...I have come a long way! I re-introduced myself because we had a guest, an intern studying social work.

I remember just two years ago I was struggling with isolation and not interacting with many people outside of my family. In general, isolation is a concern for people living with a mental illness because it is a common symptom. For me, I was comfortable being alone in the confinement of my home with the Internet and my online scrabble games and music. However, I desired more social activity besides family so I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone and to participate in all of the group sessions the center had to offer.

And now I am functioning at an even higher level than before, and I am thankful for the treatment and therapy I have received from the mental health care staff, family and peer support. I strongly recommend group therapy to others who want to enhance their social skills and decrease risk of isolation; and also, to improve their level of functioning.

In my experience, the support groups are an outlet to keep it real and to get various perspectives on everyday struggles and accomplishments. The support groups that I participate in are like a family to me now- we share our concerns and joys in a respectful manner.

If you want to learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc. (EMM), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).


Serena said…
Thanks for this post today! Just what I needed to hear when I just begining to consider support groups myself!
Allen Pradhan said…
Nowadays people are living very fast and very stressful life, they don't have much time for their self. Due to this painful life they are going toward the mantle illness. Socializing is the solution of this problem. So, we should wake up and care our self!!!
Valash said…
Hi and thank ya'll for the comments, it is nice to know that my audience can relate to my experiences or take something new and beneficial with them. I forgot to add that support groups are available for family members too- so be aware of your resources whether you are a person living with an illness or are a family member.

Serena: Here is a little insight if you have never participated in a support group-- In the beginning you will most likely feel a little uncomfortable about sharing your experiences in front of other people because discussing mental health is so personal- and that is normal, but if you can connect with someone at the support group it makes a significant difference in your transition. Good luck on your journey with support groups.

Allen Pradhan: I agree with you that lack of communication can contribute to incidences of mental illness, along with other factors of course such as heredity or genes, environmental factors, acccidents, and substances like alcohol and street drugs.

I am so glad that more people are focusing on mental illness and getting treatment if they have a mental disorder. There is so much stigma around mental health it is disturbing, however, organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada) are opening up dialogue about a sensitive topic that was previously shunned, and are changing perceptions, which is key to overcome the stigma.

I hope this blog educates readers that mental illness can be manageable with some form of treatment and support- family, peers, etc. Thank you again for your feedback!

Have a great day on purpose!

Ashley Smith

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