4 Ways Depression Groups Help You Recover

By Nicole Beasley

Updated October 07, 2019

Reviewer Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

Depression can be debilitating. It can cause you to cut yourself off from friends and family, and society in general. When battling depression, you must follow your treatment plan and get as much support as possible. One of the options you have for support and therapy in your fight against depression is depression groups.

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According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one of the best things you can do to combat depression is to seek out emotional support from others who also experience depression. Often, we turn to friends and family when we need support. But friends and family who are not familiar with depression may spend more time offering advice and less time listening to what you have to say. Also, they may simply be unable to relate to what you are going through. Depression groups are a great solution to get the support you need, especially if you are worried about being a burden on those closest to you.

There are two main types of depression groups: support groups and group therapy. Both have their advantages and benefits. Depression groups of all types have a lot of the same benefits and advantages to people battling depression. There are also depression groups for people who are supporting someone else that has depression. Here's what you need to know about depression groups and how they can help you recover.

How Depression Groups Work

Depression groups work differently depending on what type of group you are involved in. Most depression support groups are not led by a professional. Instead, they are simply a group of individuals who have battled or are battling depression. It is a safe place for you to discuss your thoughts and feelings, and to hear stories from others that may be able to benefit you and help you feel that you are not alone.

Some depression groups are run by a professional. These groups may be more like group therapy, where you will gain some special insight and coping skills while also getting support and making connections such as in a traditional support group. Depression support groups are usually free and offered throughout the community or in someone's home. Depression groups led by a psychotherapist usually have a cost, although they are often covered by health insurance.

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How To Make Depression Groups Work For You

According to advice from Psycom, there are some specific things you need to do to make depression groups work for you. First, you should try multiple groups. The first group you go to may not give the vibe or support that makes you comfortable. If you are uncomfortable, you will not benefit greatly from the depression group. Don't give up if the first group or two that you go to doesn't work out. Instead, go to multiple groups until you find the one that works for you.

It is also important that you do not worry about your participation. While sharing your thoughts, feelings, and stories with others, you can often gain important insights and help others who may be struggling similarly. Yet participation is far from mandatory. Your first several sessions you may be content to sit and listen simply, and that's okay.

You should also be aware of confidentiality. You will be hearing very personal information and stories from the other people in your support group. You mustn't share these details with others outside of the support group. If you hear something that helps you and you want to share it with friends or family, be sure to leave out identifying details.

Finally, you should ask lots of questions! No question is too silly, and all questions will be answered by someone within the group. If your depression groups are led by professional therapists, they will be able to answer any question you may have. If your depression groups are not led by a professional, you will still likely be able to get an answer from someone else in the group who has experienced something similar.

Top 4 Ways Depression Groups Help

There are many ways that depression groups can help you cope and learn more about depression. Here are the top five most common ways that depression groups can help you recover and maintain your mental health.

Motivation

Experts say that depression groups help keep patients motivated to follow their treatment plan. When you are questioning whether your treatment plan is helping you, talking to other people who have met the same roadblocks can be very helpful. If your treatment plan doesn't seem to be working for you, learning about the treatment plans and experiences of others may give you some ideas to bring up with your mental healthcare professional.

Depression groups can also give you the motivation you need to keep going. When everything seems hopeless, and you want just to give up, hearing about the stories of others when they hit that wall can be very beneficial. When those same individuals share how they have overcome, or what has worked for them, it can motivate you to keep going in your battle and not give in to the depression.

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Inspiration

Often depression can make you feel as though you are incapable of being successful in life. Depression groups are great for inspiring you to follow through with the things you want to do in life. When you feel as though you are unable to complete tasks or meet your goals, hearing from other people about their success can inspire you to keep going and take on goals that you may have put on the back burner due to your depression.

Inspiration can be found in other ways, as well. You may find that you are given inspiration and ideas of how to cope with your depression on your own at home and work. You may also get ideas of how to treat your depression in therapy or with medications that you can bring up to your doctors for discussion to see if they are right for you.

Education

Often depression groups contain a wide range of people in different stages of recovery from depression. People who have battled depression their entire lives often lead these support groups. Their experience can greatly benefit you. You may be able to learn a lot about depression and how to successfully cope with it. For example, if you don't know whether to tell your employer about your depression, you may be able to get important information and resources about employment law and depression from others in the support group.

You can also learn a lot about depression itself, how it relates to others, and how it can be treated. You may learn healthy coping skills, treatment options, and other information that you were unaware of. While everyone with depression needs to seek professional treatment, you spend limited time with your therapist or psychiatrist. Attending a helpful support group can add to the time you spend in getting support with depression.

Understanding

Often when battling depression, it can feel as though no one around you understands what you are going through. When you feel misunderstood, it can make you feel more cut off and make depression symptoms worse. Having someone that understands your illness and what you are going through can be a great help in battling depression.

Getting Started with Help

Your first step to getting help with your depression is to speak to a professional. You will want to make sure that you are coping with depression and not some other mood disorder that has similar symptoms. Professionals will also be able to prepare you for the experience of depression groups. They will also be able to give you resources to locate depression groups near you.

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Your first step is to contact a therapist for treatment. Sometimes this can seem like a chore, either because you have to go out in the world or because you have a busy schedule that you are coping with in addition to depression. In either case, there are some alternatives to traditional brick and mortar therapy sessions.

BetterHelp offers a unique and convenient way to get the help you need to get started treating your depression and finding depression groups. With BetterHelp, you can talk to a therapist any time of the day or night, seven days a week. This makes it extremely convenient. You can also talk to your therapist from anywhere as long as you have privacy. With chat, text, phone, and video chat options, you can talk to a therapist in a way that is right for you.

Do not hesitate to get started treating your depression today. Depression groups are helpful, but they are just one part of the process. Make sure that you are also following a treatment plan with therapy and potentially medications such as antidepressants for a complete treatment of your illness.


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