Tag Archives: support groups

The Importance of a Support Team

The importance of building your own support team to maintain your mental health cannot be understated.  This is what I would consider to be one of the prongs of a multi-pronged system one creates to support their own mental health. The support team may look different for different people.

Before I checked myself into a partial hospitalization program due to my major depression, I invited two of my best friends to my house.  One of them knew that I had been suffering from depression and the other one had no idea.  I sat down with them at my kitchen table and shared with them my plan to take time off from work and enter a rehab program for my depression.  I asked for their help and support.  They had no idea how to support me.  In my state of mind, I had no idea what I needed either.  I asked them to send me text messages now and then and to invite me out for coffee or some other activity to get me out of the house.

I had been sharing my depression all along with my wife, my sister, and my brother and knew that they were clearly people who I could trust and count on in times of support. I had at least one or two uncontrollable crying bouts with my siblings and many with my wife.  They were understanding, compassionate, and supportive. I was lucky to have them all.

I made sure that I had a psychologist and a psychiatrist who I trust and can meet with at any time.  I haven’t seen a therapist for over a year, but I still know that I have one whom I trust and could call at any time in order to schedule an appointment.

Finally, a couple of days prior to entering the program, I attended my first every support group.  It was a group for men with depression and/or anxiety.  I broke down and cried for most of my first two hours with these men, as I shared my story and my plan.  They were a group with which I felt an immediate connection.  I haven’t had to deal with depression for two years, yet I continue to meet with this group of men twice a month.

As I mentioned earlier, everybody’s support team is going to look different.  Some people may rely on friends, mental health workers, and a religious leader.  Others may rely on family, relatives, and a trusted neighbor.  The point is to have people who you trust and can reach out to in times of need.

Please feel free to comment on this post, as well as any of my other posts. Thank you.