How Can I Find Anxiety Support Groups Near Me?
Updated February 06, 2020
Reviewer Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
Many who cope with anxiety take advantage of anxiety support groups available, including options available online and locally. But when you're considering support groups for anxiety, how do you find a group? Based on where you live, there are many local resources providing ways for people with anxiety to connect with their peers. These resources are comprised of local, county, and state agencies as well as mental health organizations and even everyday people starting support groups of their own.
Benefits Of Participating In An Anxiety Support Group
Joining a support group for anxiety is a big step toward learning how to manage your emotions. Many dealing with anxiety may focus on themselves and not realize there are others in their community facing the same struggles. People can learn about other methods used to manage anxiety. Peers share personal experiences and how they cope daily. Some feel a support group is a safe place to share their feelings about what causes their anxiety, especially if they don't feel comfortable sharing with a friend or loved one out of fear they won't understand.
Most anxiety groups are free and meet regularly. They may include participation from people who have found successful approaches to coping with anxiety. Sometimes local counselors or mental health professionals may moderate the group and provide discussion topics to focus on during the meetings. You can choose to share your feelings or listen to others if you don't feel like talking. People sharing their experiences with anxiety may encourage others to do the same in their way. The goal of many support groups is to provide a comfortable atmosphere for people who want to understand their feelings and how to deal with them healthily.
How and Where To Search For Local Anxiety Groups
Studies show there are 40 million people that deal with anxiety or anxiety disorders every year. While it is treatable with different methods, it is recommended to seek ways to be productive when dealing with your emotions. Incorporating treatment options for anxiety, such as prescribed medications and therapy, may improve your results when making changes to your living habits and participating in a support group. Here are a few sources to consider when starting your search.
Conduct an Online Search and Take Notes. When considering what your options are in your community, start by doing research online for local anxiety support groups. Use your preferred search engine and type in your city, along with "anxiety support groups." Change up your search terms to get different results. You'll find a vast number of potential sources to learn more about based on your interests. You may also learn where to go locally to participate and group session schedules. Write down sources that catch your eye and learn more about them one by one. If the contact information is provided use it to get in touch with the group and ask questions, gathering as much information about a group may help determine if you want to participate.
Use Online Directories for Anxiety Support Groups. Many trusted websites providing information on localized mental health support services might provide information about support groups. Some may provide support on topics besides anxiety, including depression, addiction, and anger management, to name a few. If you're dealing with anxiety and have other issues or concerns, your search may include groups that discuss more than just anxiety. The sites may feature a search box at the top of their page, and you can enter details such as your city, zip code, or type of group. These groups may also be led by a trained mental health professional.
Learn Groups Offered by Local Universities. Local college universities provide an assortment of support group options. Universities may provide details on their websites along with session schedules and contact information. These groups may assist in helping people cope with anxiety or other mental health concerns. Some may be a part of a study while helping students gain skills utilized in the mental health field.
Learn About Mental Health Organization in Sponsoring Groups. Mental health organizations at the national level may have local or county chapters hosting support groups for anxiety. Search for support group options by using their online database that lets you search for groups by state, county, or city. These organizations have groups for youth and adults on a wide range of mental health concerns. They also provide useful tools to help you understand other ways to obtain assistance with your anxiety.
Search Community Mental Health Centers and Country Agency Services. Many mental health centers available host support groups for mental health concerns such as anxiety. They may provide comprehensive support through paid services or for patients, but many have groups open to the public depending on scheduling. Some centers have partnerships with social workers or local county agencies affiliated with job and family services.
Look on Social Media. You may find social media pages for local groups during an online search. You can use the search box to find local groups. You may find options that provide support for different concerns besides anxiety. Some local groups may use the social media platform as its meeting spot regularly and make plans to meet in-person maybe once or twice a week, depending on the group moderator and interest of group members.
Ask People You Know. You may be surprised to learn about support groups available by people you know, such as family members or friends. They may know about groups started by local neighbors or give leads on where else to look. Someone you know may be dealing with anxiety and found a group they attend regularly. You may get tips on support groups that meet in local areas in your neighborhood, such as a library, church, or community park center. Such areas may post bulletin reminders on message boards with flyers as an open invite for anyone to attend.
Additionally, you can search for groups using mental health apps by organizations and agencies with mental health initiatives. Use a local phone book directory to learn about other mental health sources that may provide group support. Local city hospitals may host support groups with local experts and post the information on their website. Contact local churches and community centers to learn about support group meetings. They may provide leads on where else to search if they don't host a group. You can consult with your doctor or therapist for more tips on where to look and group options to consider.
Can't Find What You Want? Start Your Own
Creating a support group opens possibilities to connect with others experiencing the same struggles. It may require time and effort on your part to establish an environment for peers to connect. Starting your group is likely if you don't find a group established to meet your needs. Maybe you've tried some groups in the past and didn't get the support you hoped. Or, maybe you're in an area that doesn't provide many options. Consider how you would lead the group. Learn where to hold meetings and consider a schedule. Places such as churches, hospitals, and libraries may have space available you can use for free.
Tips on Finding The Right Support For You
Support groups are structured differently, and this may affect how the support provided is effective on its members. A group may not have a facilitator or moderator if it is a peer support group. Other groups may have a counselor or social worker leading members. Some groups provide advice and direction, while others let members vent by sharing their thoughts and feelings. Try different groups and get a feel for how support is provided. A group may provide support to individuals, couples, or families.
When attending the group, give it some time before determining if it is a good fit for you. Some groups may require a time commitment. Seek open groups that welcome new people or members of the public. Some groups may be closed, and you'll have to inquire on when to visit. A useful group should help you feel encouraged, safe, and provide positive insight. It's even better if they offer helpful strategies for coping.
What Else To Consider If You Can't Find A Group
When you can't find a local group, consider online support groups for anxiety. There is a wide selection of online support options to consider, but some may have local connections. Online support groups let you connect with others when it is convenient for you. Sometimes dealing with anxiety can leave you feeling uncomfortable around others. Some feel they are not ready yet to meet with others in-person but using an online support option may encourage you to move in that direction in the future.
Finding anxiety support groups near you includes assessing your options online and in-person through local community resources. Spend time learning about what your community has to offer when dealing with anxiety concerns. Taking part in a support group is a proactive way to help yourself or someone you know copes with anxiety.