Develop a mission statement and list of goals

Thinking about your reasons for starting a support group and who will attend is a great way to develop a mission statement and a list of goals for the group that will clarify its purpose for members.

Things to consider:

  • Who are the support group’s members?
  • Will the group focus on information and resource sharing, emotional support, or both?
  • What are the challenges and issues that group members face and have in common?
  • How will the group be of benefit to its members? What will they learn in the group?
  • How will the group help members to cope with the identified challenges and issues and/or grow and change as individuals?

Create a virtual support group

Because of COVID-19, many support groups are being held virtually rather than in-person to enable members to continue accessing peer support in a safe manner. Video conferencing is a great way to hold virtual support groups so that everyone can see each other as they are talking, enabling group members to view facial expressions and body language. Zoom is a popular video conferencing option; if your support group is connected to a hospital, rehabilitation center, library, etc., check with the facility to see if your support group can utilize their video conferencing platform.

For more information and tips on holding a virtual support group, please see the Virtual Support Groups page.

Recruit members

Contact staff, such as social workers, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, at local hospitals and rehabilitation centers to let them know that you are starting a support group for people living with paralysis and/or their family members and caregivers.

Get in touch with your local independent living center and ask them to let their consumers know about the support group.

You can also reach out to mental health professionals in private practices to ask them to share information about the group with their clients.

Post to your own social media and in any online groups that you belong to. Ask local nonprofit organizations that serve the paralysis community to share information about the group on their social media platforms.

Contact city and county government offices (behavioral health, disability services, etc.) to see if there are avenues available within their services to publicize your support group.

If you participate in activities with others who are living with paralysis (such as adaptive sports), tell them about your support group and ask them to let others know as well.

Be sure to create a flyer (in both print and electronic forms) that you can distribute to anyone who is willing to help spread the word about your group.

If you have any questions about the information on this page or support groups, please email us at [email protected].