Support groups for schizophrenia

Contents

Families, friends & carers

Centrelink Financial Information Service

Centrelink has a free Financial Information Service which can help with advice on entitlements in general and on making the most of your income. See centrelink or call 13 1021 to make an appointment.

Besides any personal income and social security payments like the Disability Support Pension and Rent Support, check what other financial help is available. It’s sometimes possible to get one-off loans or grants from Centrelink for specific purposes – ask the Centrelink Disability Support Officer.

Concessions

For people on low incomes, concessions may be available for some services, such as gas, electricity and water, public transport, vehicle registration, dental and eye care, ambulance cover, telephone, and sometimes a taxi subsidy (if a doctor agrees the person can’t use public transport). Any extra income encourages more independence.

Managing money

Encourage the person to manage their own money as much as possible. It may seem easier to do things for them, but it’s better in the long-term if they can use an ATM and pay bills themselves. Bank charges can be expensive for people with small accounts, so discuss opening a Credit Union account – similar to a bank account, but cheaper to operate. Centrelink and local councils often have staff to advise on budgeting and may be able to help with managing money.

People with some illnesses, such as Bipolar disorder for example, may spend money irrationally when they become ill – for example, running up excessive credit card debt or giving money away.

Discuss ways of dealing with this with the person when they are well, such as agreeing to freeze their bank account in certain circumstances, or arranging an ‘enduring financial power of attorney’, see ‘Looking ahead’ in this guide

Would legal support help?

If there are concerns about mismanaging money when the person is unwell, they can sign a simple legal document giving a trusted person ‘enduring financial power of attorney’.

This means they can handle their own money as usual, but if they become ill the person with power of attorney can manage things. Discuss this with the person you care for. Ask an understanding solicitor to draw up the document. (A letter from the person’s psychiatrist confirming they are mentally well at the time of signing will help this process.)

Somewhere to live

A stable home helps a person with a mental illness cope better and live more independently in the community. It also helps give them a sense of security and the feeling of being part of a neighbourhood.

Living in the same place means the person stays in the same mental health service area and can build a good relationship with their health team. It reduces the risk of drifting into unsuitable accommodation or becoming homeless. When you’re planning accommodation, think about location – for example, is there easy access to shops, transport and mental health and support services?

Talk to the person you care for about long-term accommodation. Where would they like to live? If they live with parents, what will happen when the parents are no longer able to provide care? How independent is the person? Do they need more support? Discuss these questions with other family members and the case manager.

The person you care for may be reluctant to think about all this, but emphasise that it will have to be done eventually. The sooner they are able to live more independently and have other supports in place, the better it will be for them.

What are the accommodation options?

Options vary from area to area – ask the case manager for information.

Public housing generally costs less than private rental accommodation. In some States, people with a psychiatric disability have priority on housing lists. Some local councils provide housing for people with disabilities.

Supported accommodation (sometimes called a group home) may be available through community-based agencies such as the Richmond Fellowship or the Mental Illness or Schizophrenia Fellowships. Supported accommodation usually means a home shared with others who have experienced mental illness, with a support organisation providing help with day-to-day living.

When you’ve decided on the best accommodation, look at making this a reality, by putting the person’s name on any waiting lists, for example. If living with family is best for now, think about how this could be done more independently – maybe in a ‘granny flat’ where, with support, they can do more for themselves?

What accommodation support is available?

Local support services can also help someone live more independently.

This may be available from a team at the local mental health service, the outreach arm of a rehabilitation program, or from other community agencies or the local council. This may include anything from having Meals-on-Wheels to getting help with cooking, cleaning, budgeting or social outings.

Respite care

Respite programs are another option which gives family and friends acting as carers time out to take a break, while giving the person with a disability some experience of living more independently. Contact the Carer Respite Centre in your local area on 1800 059 059 for details.

Multicultural services

In some areas there are special psychiatric units which provide bilingual psychiatrists and other services for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. Contact the treating health professionals for details. They should also have access to a 24-hour Translating and Interpreting Service.

For further information, please the multilingual factsheets on mental illness.

See also, Mental Health in Multicultural Australia at www.mhima.org.au.

Assistance with human rights

We all have the right to dignity, safety and equal opportunity. If you or the person you care for feel you have not been treated fairly, there is a range of agencies which can help, including:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Australian Human Rights Commission, see www.humanrights.gov.au or call 1300 656 419.

Political support

The State and Federal members of parliament for your area have a duty to represent your interests.

Do not be shy about contacting them and enlisting their support. Do what you can to educate them about the issues faced by people with a mental illness and their family and friends. Ask them to raise specific issues with a relevant Minister, or in Parliament.

In a crisis

Despite everyone’s best efforts, crisis situations can occur.

  • See ‘Learning new skills’ in this Guide for how to develop a crisis plan.
  • See ‘In a crisis’ in this Guide for a summary of what to do when someone becomes unwell.
  • See also the seperate SANE factsheet ‘How to help in a crisis’.

For more detailed information about treatment and support, see ‘Medications and other treatments’.

Helping Someone with Schizophrenia

Have a loved one with schizophrenia? You can make a huge difference by helping them find the right treatment and support, overcome challenges, cope with symptoms, and build a satisfying life.

The love and support of family and friends plays an important role in schizophrenia treatment. If you have a loved one with schizophrenia, you may be struggling with any number of difficult emotions, including fear, guilt, anger, and frustration. You may feel helpless in the face of your loved one’s symptoms, worried about the stigma of schizophrenia, or confused and embarrassed by strange behaviors. You may even be tempted to hide your loved one’s illness from others.

But it’s important to remember that a diagnosis of schizophrenia is not a life-sentence for your loved one. Recovery is possible, especially with your support. To help someone with schizophrenia, it’s crucial you:

  • Accept the illness and its difficulties
  • Not buy into the myth that someone with schizophrenia can’t get better or live a full and meaningful life
  • Do your best to help your loved one feel better and enjoy life
  • Pay attention to your own needs
  • Maintain your sense of humor and remain hopeful

While dealing with a loved one’s schizophrenia can be challenging, the following strategies can help you guide your loved one on the road to recovery without losing sight of your own hopes and dreams.

Tips for helping a loved one with schizophrenia

  • Educate yourself. Learning about schizophrenia and its treatment will allow you to make informed decisions about how best to cope with symptoms, encourage your loved one to pursue self-help strategies, handle setbacks, and work towards recovery.
  • Reduce stress. Stress can cause schizophrenia symptoms to flare up, so it’s important to create a structured and supportive environment for your loved one.
  • Set realistic expectations. It’s important to be realistic about the challenges of schizophrenia. Help your loved one set and achieve manageable goals, and be patient with the pace of recovery.
  • Empower your loved one. Be careful that you’re not taking over and doing things for your loved one that he or she is capable of doing. Support your loved one while still encouraging as much independence and self-help as possible.

Tip 1: Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. In fact, it’s just as important for your loved one with schizophrenia that you look after your own health needs. Schizophrenia can place an incredible amount of stress on the family. It can take over your life and burn you out. And if you’re stressed, you’ll make the person with schizophrenia stressed and trigger or exacerbate their symptoms.

Since adopting healthy lifestyle habits is also important for your loved one in managing schizophrenia symptoms, by taking care of your own health you can act as a role model. You may even be able to pursue some of these steps together, helping to motivate and encourage each other.

Connect with others. Social interaction with someone who cares about you is the most effective way to relieve stress. It’s important for both you and the person with schizophrenia to have other people you can connect with face-to-face—someone you can talk to for an uninterrupted period of time, someone who will listen without judging or continually becoming distracted. That person may be a friend, family member, clergy member, or professional therapist.

Get regular exercise. Physical activity reduces stress and releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Whether you exercise alone, with a friend, or with your loved one with schizophrenia, aim for 30 minutes of activity on most days, or if it’s easier, three 10-minute sessions.

Eat a healthy diet. What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Minimize sugar and refined carbs, foods that quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Boost your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, fish oil, walnuts, and flaxseeds to help improve your focus, energy, and outlook. The same diet tips can help manage your loved one’s symptoms, too.

Practice acceptance. Instead of dwelling on the unfairness of your loved one’s diagnosis, accept your feelings, even the negative ones. It can make a huge difference in your ability to manage stress and balance your moods. See HelpGuide’s Emotional Intelligence Toolkit for more.

Seek out joy. Making time for fun isn’t indulgent—it’s necessary. Schedule time into your day for things you enjoy, whether it’s spending time in nature, visiting friends, or reading a good book. Encourage your loved one with schizophrenia to do the same.

Look after your health. Neglecting your health will only add to the stress in your life. Get enough sleep and stay on top of any medical conditions.

Use relaxation techniques. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation can put the brakes on stress and bring your mind and body back into balance.

Tip 2: Build your support network

To better support and care for someone with schizophrenia, you need to find help, encouragement, and understanding from others. The more support you have, the better it will be for both you and your loved one.

Recognize your own limits. Be realistic about the level of support and care you can provide. You can’t do it all, and you won’t be much help to a loved one if you’re exhausted, so seek help where you can.

Join a support group. Meeting others who know first-hand what you’re going through can help reduce feelings of isolation and fear. Support groups provide an invaluable venue for the relatives of people with schizophrenia to share experiences, advice, and information.

Turn to trusted friends and family members. Ask loved ones if you can call on them for support. Most people will be flattered by your request.

Seek out new friends. If you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.

Take advantage of support services. Ask your loved one’s doctor or therapist about respite services and other support available in your area, or contact local hospitals and mental health clinics.

Tip 3: Encourage treatment and self-help

Encouraging treatment and self-help is a cornerstone of helping a loved one with schizophrenia. While medication is an important element of schizophrenia treatment, your loved one’s recovery depends on other factors as well. Self-help strategies such as changing to a healthy diet, managing stress, exercising, and seeking social support can have a profound effect on your loved one’s symptoms, feelings, and self-esteem. And the more someone does for themselves, the less hopeless and helpless they’ll feel, and the more likely their doctor will be able to reduce their medication. Your encouragement and support can be crucial to your loved one starting and continuing a program of self-help.

Starting treatment

Often, the first challenge of treatment is convincing the person with schizophrenia to see a doctor. To people experiencing delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia, there is no need for medical intervention because the voices and conspiracy theories are real.

If a loved one with schizophrenia is reluctant to see a doctor, try to:

Provide options. Your loved one may be more willing to see a doctor if he or she has some control over the situation. If your relative appears suspicious of you, suggest that another person accompany them to the appointment. You can also give your loved one a choice of doctors.

Focus on a particular symptom. Someone with schizophrenia may resist seeing a doctor out of fear of being judged or labeled “crazy.” You can make the doctor less threatening by suggesting a visit in order to deal with a specific symptom such as insomnia or lack of energy.

Tips for supporting a loved one’s schizophrenia treatment

  • Seek help right away. Early intervention makes a difference in the course of schizophrenia, so help your loved one find a good doctor and start treatment.
  • Promote independence. Rather than doing everything for your loved one, help them develop or relearn skills that will allow for greater independence.
  • Be collaborative. When your loved one has a voice in their own treatment, they will be more motivated to work towards recovery.
  • Encourage self-help. Since schizophrenia is often episodic, periods of remission from the severest symptoms can provide an opportunity for your loved one to employ self-help strategies that may limit the length and frequency of future episodes.

Tip 4: Monitor medication

Once in treatment, careful monitoring can ensure that your loved one stays on track and gets the most out of medication.

Take side effects seriously. Many people with schizophrenia stop taking their medication because of side effects. Bring any distressing side effects to the attention of the doctor, who may be able to reduce the dose, switch to another antipsychotic, or add medication to counter the side effect.

Encourage your loved one to take medication regularly. Even with side effects under control, some people with schizophrenia refuse medication or have trouble remembering their daily dose. Medication calendars, weekly pillboxes, and timers can help. Some medications are available as long-lasting weekly or monthly injections instead of daily pills.

Be careful to avoid drug interactions. Help your loved one avoid any dangerous drug interactions by giving the doctor a complete list of the drugs and supplements they’re taking. Mixing alcohol or illegal drugs with schizophrenia medication is harmful, so talk to the doctor if your relative has a substance abuse problem.

Track your family member’s progress. A journal or diary is a good way to track changes in your family member’s behavior, mood, and other symptoms in response to medication.

Tip 5: Watch for signs of relapse

Stopping medication is the most frequent cause of relapse in schizophrenia, so it’s extremely important that your family member continues to take all medication as directed. While relapse can occur even if a person is taking medication as prescribed, you may be able to prevent a full-blown crisis by recognizing the warning signs and taking immediate steps.

Common warning signs of schizophrenia relapse

  • Insomnia
  • Social withdrawal
  • Deterioration of personal hygiene
  • Increasing paranoia
  • Hostility
  • Confusing or nonsensical speech
  • Strange disappearances
  • Hallucinations

If you notice any warning signs of relapse or other indications that your family member’s symptoms of schizophrenia are getting worse, call the doctor right away.

Tip 6: Prepare for crisis situations

Despite your best efforts to prevent relapse, there may be times when your loved one’s condition deteriorates rapidly and hospitalization is required to keep him or her safe. Having an emergency plan ready for an acute psychotic episode will help you handle the crisis safely and quickly. A good emergency plan for someone with schizophrenia includes:

  • Emergency contact information for your loved one’s doctor and therapists.
  • The address and phone number of the hospital you will go to for psychiatric admission.
  • Friends or relatives who will take care of other children or dependents while you deal with the crisis.

It’s also wise to go over the emergency plan with your family member. The crisis situation may be less frightening to your loved one if they know what to expect during an emergency.

10 tips for handling a schizophrenia crisis

  1. Remember that you cannot reason with acute psychosis
  2. The person may be terrified by their own feelings of loss of control
  3. Don’t express irritation or anger
  4. Speak quietly and calmly, do not shout or threaten the person
  5. Don’t use sarcasm as a weapon
  6. Decrease distractions by turning off the TV, computer, any fluorescent lights that hum, etc.
  7. Ask any casual visitors to leave—the fewer people the better
  8. Avoid direct, continuous eye contact
  9. Avoid touching the person
  10. Sit down and ask the person to sit down also

Tip 7: Explore housing options

Someone with schizophrenia needs a stable, supportive place to live, but finding the right living situation can be challenging.

  • Can your loved one care for him or herself?
  • How much support does he or she need with daily activities?
  • Does your loved one have a drug or alcohol problem?
  • How much treatment supervision does your loved one require?

Living with family

Living with family can be a good option for someone with schizophrenia if their family members understand the illness well, have a strong support system of their own, and are able to provide whatever assistance is needed.

At-home arrangements are less likely to be successful if the person with schizophrenia uses drugs or alcohol, resists taking medication, or is aggressive or uncooperative.

Choosing the Right Housing Option for Someone with Schizophrenia

Living with family works best if:

  • The person with schizophrenia functions at a fairly high level, can maintain friendships, and is involved in activities outside the home.
  • The interaction among family members is relaxed.
  • The person with schizophrenia intends to take advantage of available support services.
  • The living situation does not negatively impact the lives of any young children in the home.

Living with family is not advised if:

  • The main caregiver is single, ill, or elderly.
  • The person with schizophrenia is so ill that there is little chance of leading a normal family life.
  • The situation causes stress in the marriage or leaves children in the home feeling frightened and resentful.
  • Most family events revolve around the person with schizophrenia.
  • Support services are unavailable.

Try not to feel guilty if you are unequipped to house someone with schizophrenia. If you can’t look after your own needs or those of other family members while caring for your loved one, they will be better off elsewhere.

Residential options outside the family home

If an at-home living arrangement isn’t the right fit, explore the residential facilities in your community.

Options in your area may include:

Residential treatment facilities or 24-hour care homes – A more structured living environment for those requiring greater assistance or suffering an acute psychotic episode.

Transitional group home – An intensive program that helps individuals transition back into society and avoid relapse after a crisis or hospitalization.

Foster or boarding homes – A group living situation offering a degree of independence, while providing meals and other basic necessities.

Supervised apartments – Residents live alone or share an apartment, with staff members available on-site to provide assistance and support.

Schizophrenia Support: Schizophrenia Forums, Support Groups

Seeking schizophrenia support in your local community or online is part of taking responsibility and control of your mental health, or that of a loved one. Schizophrenia support can include:

  • online schizophrenia forums
  • schizophrenia support group meetings
  • schizophrenia family support groups

Fellowship Offered by Schizophrenia Forums Ends the Silence

Schizophrenia forums allow for almost real-time, moderated discussion threads for patients, family members, and others charged with caring for the person with schizophrenia. Talking to others with similar experiences can provide powerful healing and offer participants a deep feeling of belonging. Active schizophrenia forums can provide a deep fellowship, unavailable through any other avenue – a connectedness that ends the silent suffering of those touched by the disorder.

Schizophrenia Support Group Therapy

Schizophrenia support group therapy can prove vital to treatment success. Easily accessible, safe schizophrenia support group options represent a critical component of treatment for those suffering from the mental disorder. They also provide an understanding network for the patient’s family members. Coping with the chaos and confusion that the patients project during their tormented episodes of paranoia builds frustration and resentment in caretakers that have little or no support network. Finding schizophrenia family support can mean the difference between grace and the destructive behavior that can find its way out of the pressure cooker of unrelieved stress.

Where to Find Schizophrenia Support

To find schizophrenia support in your community, ask your doctor, psychiatrist or therapist, for a referral. NAMI, The National Alliance for Mental Illness offers schizophrenia support groups in many local areas throughout the U.S. In addition, through their “Family-to-Family” program, family members can receive education about the illness as well as schizophrenia family support. This is a great source of schizophrenia help.

For other community schizophrenia support, check with your county mental health agency, county social services department and your local United Way.

Here are additional schizophrenia support resources:

  • Schizophrenics Anonymous – several member groups throughout the U.S. Phone: 810-557-6777
  • Schizophrenia National Support Organizations with links to group locators and resources

Online Schizophrenia Forums

  • SupportGroups.com
  • Rethink Mental Illness
  • MDJunction

Print out or save this helpful list of schizophrenia support resources to your computer hard drive. But don’t just print or save it – take action and step toward healing immediately.

article references

Getting help for psychosis and psychotic disorders

Psychosis is a temporary state of experiencing an ‘altered reality’ – also known as a ‘psychotic episode’. This is where a person has difficulty knowing what’s real. Psychosis isn’t a mental illness in itself; rather, it’s a symptom of some mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia. It’s possible to have a single psychotic episode and to have a complete recovery.

Psychotic disorders are when psychotic episodes, and other symptoms, start to happen more frequently or don’t go away. If you think you’re experiencing psychotic symptoms, see your GP immediately. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and make sure you get the support you need.

If you need help urgently

If you need urgent help with psychotic symptoms, visit the nearest emergency department or see our urgent help page for services that can help. Alternatively, check out the mental health crisis number in your state.

If you need to talk to someone

If you’re looking for information, or just want to talk to someone, get in touch with one of these services:

  • eheadspace: This online chat counselling service is available 7 days a week, 9 am – 1 am AEST.
  • Kids Helpline: This web-based and email counselling service is available 24/7 for young people up to 25 years.
  • Lifeline: Online chat counselling service is available 7 days a week, 7 pm – 12 am AEST.

Visit our urgent help page for telephone counselling services.

Online information about schizophrenia, psychosis and psychotic disorders

  • SANE Australia provides information and resources for schizophrenia and psychosis.
  • headspace provides information and resources about psychosis.
  • Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) is based in Victoria. Their website provides information about psychotic disorders.

Online programs and support groups

  • Mental Health Carers Australia is for friends and family member supporting people through depression and other mental health disorders.
  • OnTrack is an online program for people aged 14 and older who are having strange experiences and are looking for help with figuring out what’s ‘real’. OnTrack helps you cope with your symptoms, but it needs to be used in conjunction with other treatments. You should chat to your GP before using this program.

Family Support Groups

BC Schizophrenia Society provides family support groups throughout the province. Family Support Groups are for family members and close friends who are supporting someone with schizophrenia, psychosis or serious mental illness.

Family Support Groups are available monthly in various regions across B.C. Contact a local BCSS educator or visit our event listings to find one near you.

Family Support Groups are led by trained facilitators or educators and are designed for adult loved ones who have friend or a family members living with mental illness. We provide guest speakers and updated information about mental illnesses and local resources. This helps family members, friends and other caregivers learn more about the current system, how to navigate it, and what resources are available for our loved ones.

BCSS uses the NAMI model of group support for families, we offer a safe, confidential setting, that is free of cost to participants.

BCSS Principles of Support

  • We will see the individual first, not the illness.
  • We recognize that mental illnesses are medical illnesses that may have environmental triggers.
  • We understand that mental illnesses are traumatic events.
  • We aim for better coping skills.
  • We find strength in sharing experiences.
  • We reject stigma and do not tolerate discrimination.
  • We won’t judge anyone’s pain as less than our own.
  • We forgive ourselves and reject guilt

Phrenz support groups

Phrenz groups are for people who have experience of a mental health problem. Sharing experiences with others can be a great way of learning new coping skills and growing your support network.

Phrenz groups are a chance to learn and to make friends. Sometimes, the groups go on outings and take part in activities together, organised by group members.

All Phrenz groups are facilitated by people who have experienced mental ill health. For details of your nearest Phrenz group, contact one of our Regional Development Officers.

Relatives support groups

Relatives support groups are for families, carers and friends of people with mental ill health. All of these groups are facilitated by someone who has a relative with a mental health problem.

In challenging times, it can be helpful and reassuring to talk to other people with similar experiences. Learning from other people’s ways of coping is an important function of our relatives groups.

To find your nearest group, contact one of our Regional Development Officers.

We’ve also published guidelines for realising a family friendly mental health service.

Further reading:

Refocus: Listening to the needs and experiences of carers of people with mental illness

FRIENDS

FRIENDS stands for Family Recovery Initiatives by Engaging, Networking and Developing Supports. FRIENDS is a partnership between family members, Áras Folláin, Shine and the Mid-West HSE. Family recovery is the process of becoming aware of how our behaviours and beliefs impact our relationships and quality of life. When someone practices family recovery, it can have a positive impact on everyone involved in our lives, in particular the person experiencing mental health issues.

FRIENDS EVALUATION REPORT Part 1&2 May 20th 2015

FRIENDS Family Recovery Booklet

Would you like to talk online with others who are supporting or caring about someone with psychosis, schizophrenia, a mood disorder, depression or some other mental health concern?

Would you like to ask questions about mental illness and get information on support and services available to you in BC?

Click here to go to our online support forum, which provides support for family members and supporters.

For more detailed information about the support forums, please see below:

The BC Schizophrenia Society and the Mind Foundation (on behalf of BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information) are pleased to announce the launch of a series of new online support groups.

These support groups are for people caring for a loved one:

  • who is having difficulty coping with difficult thoughts, experiences or emotions, or
  • who may have a brain condition or mental illness affecting their thoughts emotions or behaviour.

The online groups are anonymous, private and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are three groups in the series. All groups are moderated.

For in-person or phone support– please check for support groups in your area on the calendar or by contacting your local BCSS Coordinator for groups not curently listed.

  • Support Groups Page (register or log in to get access to the forum)

(NOTE: you will need to register (click on the register link) to view or post in the family support forums. You will need to provide your email address to register but no-one other than our moderators will be able to see it. )

Group Descriptions

1) Family Support Group – This group is for a family member, spouse, parent, sibling, friend of a person with a mental illness. It is a private online place to discuss ideas and experiences, to ask questions and to share resources and information with one another. You are welcome to use your real name or a pseudonym/nicname when you register to this group, and only those people registered with the forum will be able to see what is written on the list or post responses.

2) LGBT Family Support Group – This group is for persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered, and who also are caring for a loved one or family member with a mental illness. It is a private online place to discuss ideas and experiences, to ask questions and to share resources and information with one another. You are welcome to use your real name or a pseudonym/nicname when you register to this group, and only those people registered with the forum will be able to see what is written on the list or post responses. This group is moderated by program coordinator Sophia Kelly.

3) Rural Family Support Group – This group is just like the Family Support group (#1) above, except for people living in rural areas. Since services are so different in rural BC, it makes sense to have a place to ask questions, share experiences and talk about caring for someone with a mental illness that is just for folks living outside the major centres in BC. This online support group is moderated by Kim Dixon, the BCSS Regional Coordinator for the Prince George area. (The same as the above two groups, you are welcome to use your full name or a nicname to register with the group for increased privacy, and only those people registered with the forum will be able to see what is written in the group area or post responses. )

How To Get Involved / Confidentiality

In order to preserve the privacy of the groups (and to prevent spam) you will need to register to participate in any of these groups. To register, simply click the REGISTER link in the menu (top right of the page). (Make sure you answer the question in the first part of the registration screen, that helps verify you”re a person and not a spam robot.) You will need to provide your email address when registering, but no-one other than the moderators will be able to see it. You can view the descriptions of the various groups by clicking here.

Once you”ve registered for the group you will be able to log in and join the support group that suits you best. If you need help getting registered please email for help.

Note to group members and researchers: The posts in the support forums are private, belong to their authors and need to be respected as confidential. No permission is granted for any use of the support forums or the information within for anything other than personal support. Research enquiries or other announcements are not welcome and will be deleted from the support forums. Announcements may be posted in the Information area of the site.

Volunteers: The groups are new and the conversation is just starting up, so we invite you to introduce yourself and start a conversation on the groups to help get things going. We”re also looking for volunteers willing to be ‘greeters” on the list – this low-commitment volunteer position would be to make a point of logging into the list once a week and posting or replying to posts to help stimulate discussion and welcome new members. Please contact if you are interested in helping out in this way.

This project is funded by BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information www.heretohelp.bc.ca

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