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What does ‘support’ mean to you?

The COSHG directory lists hundred of groups that provide support. However, people vary in the kind of support they find useful. What is helpful to one person may not be to someone else.
Some of the things that may be supportive:-

  • Not being alone – just meeting other people who have the same issue, and being reminded that your condition or issue doesn’t make you weird or defective can be a tremendous help. For this reason, simply getting people together – maybe meeting occasionally for a coffee morning or a picnic – can be valued very much by people who would not otherwise have any contact with others in the same boat.
  • Sharing information
  • Listening to each other’s stories, problems, etc, hearing how other people coped. Some people find this really interesting and helpful – Other people say ‘It was depressing listening to everyone’s problems!’
  • Phone contacts - for emergencies or company or just knowing that the line is there if you need it.
  • Learning how someone else has survived/overcome ….

Telling our story is a way of healing. (People can tell their stories a number of times, each time will be a little bit different.)

Practical help - Someone will feed your dog while you’re in hospital

Being safe …to say how you really feel, expressing yourself

Not having to put on a brave face, telling the worst bit,

Being safe to cry. Not being judged. For some people, the support group may be the only place where they can show that they are sad/angry/etc

Being listened to well. Empathy

Exploring options –
Not having someone try to solve/fix your problem for you, but someone who helps you go through the possibilities. The decision is yours.

The accumulated wisdom that people in the group have from their experience

Sharing a joke - The black humour among people with a shared illness, etc

Someone keeping in touch, taking an interest, phoning to see how you are going

Talking about your fears, checking out if the fears are real.

Being asked what help you need. How would you like me to help? Would it be useful if I ….

Friendships and socialising

Encouragement

Being believed, Validating

Knowing there is someone available if needed, for example that you can call someone if you are concerned

Affirming strengths - Someone notices your strengths, (Even when a person is in a bad situation there will be some positives – they have survived, they have decided to seek help, they’ve had the courage to phone someone)

People appreciating you, your contribution to the group

Positive challenges

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