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How can I find a support group?

When a child is struggling with their mental health parents and families often feel very alone. Support groups offer a space to come together and share experiences and similar concerns. They can be a valuable way to see what works for others, share challenges, and learn about local resources.

There are different kinds of support groups:

  • Some support groups are peer-led, facilitated by trained (or untrained) volunteers/staff with lived experience, while others may be led by a mental health professional.
  • Groups may be offered by community organizations, mental health programs or hospital services. Your child’s mental health provider might be able to make recommendations for you.
  • Some family support groups offer general support not specific to your child or youth’s mental health condition, and other groups bring people together around a specific diagnosis or challenge.

Sometimes a group just doesn’t work for you, and that’s okay. You should feel comfortable in the support group space that you choose, so trying different ones may help you determine the best fit. 

Here are a few general support groups around the province to look into:

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  • Pathways Serious Mental Illness Society offers weekly online support groups for families supporting a loved one with mental illness. They also offer a family to family course for parents and families.
  • Foundry Virtual BC offers groups and workshops to support caregivers with young people ages 12-24.
  • Family Support Institute of BC offer peer-led sessions to connect and share on a variety of topics, listed in their event calendar. These are mainly focused on supporting families who have a child with a disability.
  • Emotions BC has a support group and skills group series to help families cope better when a loved one struggles with emotional regulation.
  • Lives in the Balance (Ross Green) Facebook support groups are for parents/caregivers of kids with behaviour challenges or those using the collaborative problem solving model.
  • For groups related to alcohol or drug use, call the Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Service at 1-800-663-1441 or 604-660-9382 in the Lower Mainland. Moms Stop The Harm offers Holding Hope and Healing Hearts support groups for families with a young person using substances and for those who have lost a child. Some families find Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings helpful. 
  • For a listing of mental health support groups in British Columbia, call the Mental Health Support Line at 310-6789 (do not enter an area code) 24 hours a day from anywhere in BC.
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Contact us at the Kelty Centre – we can help you find support groups that are in your community, and also support groups for different kinds of challenges and disorders.  

Featured Resource:

Choosing a Support Group that’s Right For You (Here to Help) 

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