Depression support groups
Depression can make you feel isolated. It can be helpful to meet with other people who understand what it’s like. This is sometimes called ‘peer support’.
Self-help groups allow people with depression to provide as well as receive help.
“Self-help groups can be a fun and uplifting way to make new friends and to share support and ideas through illness and recovery,” says Laura Sacha, communications co-ordinator for Depression Alliance. “People in these groups support one another, which can help your self-confidence.”
How to find depression support groups
You can visit the Mind website for information about support groups in your area.
If you are carer and affected by depression, ring the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 to find out how to meet other carers.
Or you can ask your GP or your local psychological therapies team about depression support groups in your area.
What happens at a support group?
Sitting and talking isn’t the only thing that happens at meetings. Lots of groups organise social events and arrange special activities to help boost your mood and improve your wellbeing.
“Going to a group for the first time can be daunting, but you can be sure of a warm welcome, and people will understand how hard it can be to take that first step,” says Laura Sacha.
See how connecting with other people helps mental wellbeing.
Other types of depression support
Attending a group and talking to other people who have experienced depression is not for everyone. There are other kinds of peer support that can help you cope with depression.
Pursuing your interests
Being with other people who share your interests can also help you feel better. You can use the internet or local newspapers to look up classes or activities in your area that you might enjoy.
Lots of people experience feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem when they’re depressed. Helping other people by doing voluntary work is one good way of feeling useful and valued. There are all sorts of ways you can volunteer.
Time banks are an innovative way of volunteering your time and skills. You offer your skills in return for credits, which you can then use to buy someone else’s services.
For example, you could offer three hours of gardening and in exchange receive a one-hour language lesson and a two-hour beauty treatment from other members.
More help for depression
There are lots of treatment options for depression, including:
Speak to your GP practice if:
- you’ve been feeling down for more than 2 weeks