So, you want to start a support group?

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on June 24, 2020 # Peer & Family Support Program Spotlight

So, you want to start a support group? Good for you! That is great! Even though it may be more difficult to form a virtual support group during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for them is even greater as our community struggles with increased isolation and loneliness.

Support groups play a pivotal role for individuals who are living with paralysis, caring for someone living with paralysis, are the loved one or friend of a person living with paralysis, or are a professional in the healthcare field.

Support groups do so many things for people in our community. By participating in a support group, members can:

  • Meet people who share the same experiences and understand what they are going through
  • Access emotional support
  • Have a safe space to express their feelings
  • Experience personal growth and change
  • Reduce their feelings of isolation
  • Increase their knowledge of living with paralysis or caregiving
  • Learn about available resources
  • Help others work through challenges

So how do you get started? The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is here to help through its newly launched Support Group Initiative. This initiative is meant to help individuals and organizations start a support group. To learn more about the Support Group Initiative and the information available to you, please click on this link:

On the Support Group webpages, you will find things to consider as you start a support group, including how to hold virtual meetings. You will also find a wealth of topic ideas for your meetings as well as materials and resources. You can download and print lists of state specific services and organizations or booklets on spasticity, bowel and bladder care and many other topics. You can access videos and webcasts on sexuality and travel. All of these materials and resources can be used during meetings and / or shared with support group members. You can also tap into general information to help you lead discussions on depression, nutrition, travel and more.

If you have any questions or would like to order some of the materials mentioned above, please email us at [email protected].

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The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.