Create 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 determine a mission statement and 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?

Location

Support groups can meet almost anywhere with the use of technology. Popular places to hold meetings are hospitals, rehabilitation centers, churches, non-profit facilities and even people’s homes. Here are some things to consider:

  • Ample parking for multiple wheelchair users
  • Location of parking to accessible entrance(s)
  • The meeting room’s temperature: people living with paralysis are sensitive to heat and cold so the leader should be sure to suggest that people dress accordingly
  • Accessible bathrooms
  • Assistive animals are welcome in the building

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].