Support Groups Provide Help For Everyone

June 1, 2020

Posted by ABLE News
by Dr. Linda Gerra, director of Family Support Network for Lighthouse Guild

A support group is a group of people who meet regularly, by traditional face-to-face meetings, telephone conferences, or various online platforms, to support one another through a difficult time or issue. They provide opportunities for like-minded people to share their personal feelings and thoughts on their experiences and circumstances. Participants gain insight from hearing the challenges, successes and coping strategies of others and a minimum commitment to the group is usually required. Groups are guided by leaders trained to run a group and the subject/issues the group is focusing on. The Covid-19 Pandemic has forced many to live and work from home. Instead of the traditional face-to-face meeting formats, support groups can now easily meet via telephone conferences or various online in their members. They focus on the individual growth of each member and help them work towards identified goals. Attendance is usually mandatory and there is often a fixed number of meetings.

Support groups provide the participants with various types of help for coping with things such as mental health, vision loss, bereavement, trauma, stroke, etc. Participants can be of all ages and backgrounds, but they join a group to share and support each other around the same issue.

People with disabilities including those with vision loss face unique challenges in managing their lives. Participants share resources, advice and hope on living and coping. Group members help each other identify solutions that will maximize their living situations.

Parents are often overwhelmed with the complexities of raising a child with a disability and lean on other parents for support. High school students with disabilities share common social, emotional, academic and practical concerns. Often adults find themselves isolated. Coming together to network and socialize lets these individuals realize that they are not alone.

Some organizations that provide support groups are:
National Association of Mental Illness,
Lighthouse Guild Tele-Support programs,
Autism Speaks,
Macular Degeneration Support,
American Speech-Language-Hearing,
Association Center for Parent Information & Resources,

Dr. Linda Gerra is the director of Family Support Network for Lighthouse Guild

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