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SUPPORT GROUPS

List of California Support Groups

A support group provides an opportunity for patients and others to attend to learn more about hepatitis. Many people feel that they can get a better sense of reality on their disease by meeting others. A support group provides a means to obtain more education and facts about challenges. It is also a place of hope, with caring individuals with the same concerns that you might have about your liver disease.

What is a meeting like? It is often not easy coming to a group meeting the first time. However, once in the door you should find a wealth of information to help you develop your health plan and understand your disease. Becoming an advocate for your own health is an important goal.

You may want to bring your friend or spouse to a meeting. It often helps to have the support from someone you are close to, and the meeting gives them a chance too to learn more about what you are experiencing, such as side effects and anxiety. Sometimes our loved ones have concerns that may be alleviated when they are given an opportunity to meet other people at the meetings.

Not all groups are alike! You will find that every support group is different in some way. There are groups that offer support with a specific educational component, other groups have speakers each month, some meet during the day, others meeting monthly in the evening, and they vary in size due to attendance. Try to attend more than one group in your area.

The support group forum, in the comfort of an open circle, should provide quality time for interaction and to ask questions that are on your mind. It should also be a confidential time. Participants in a group should keep personal information within the group setting. What is said in the group should stay in the group!

Several research studies indicate that people who learn self-care techniques and participate in support groups are less depressed, less anxious, less stressed, gain more knowledge, and rate the quality of their lives higher than those who do not participate. One theory is that these types of groups enable people to better comply with medical advice and adhere to wellness techniques through encouragement from other members. Members often become more responsible for their health and more knowledgeable about their condition.

Resource: California Hepatitis C Resource Center www.hepccalifornia.org 2002

© 2003 California Hepatitis Resource Center