By Cynthia Von Seggern, PhD, CAPS group and outreach coordinator
College can be a stressful time, but you don’t have to go it alone.
Whether you’re struggling with homesickness, depression, substance use or navigating the campus community as a minority student, a support group may help you.
Support groups bring people together who are facing similar issues so that everyone can share their experience and give or receive advice. It’s a safe space to talk, listen and get the support you need to help you cope with your concerns or situation.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some potential benefits of joining a support group include:
- Having an opportunity to talk openly and honestly about your feelings
- Reducing depression, anxiety, fatigue or distress
- Gaining a sense of control and empowerment
- Developing a clearer understanding of what to expect in your situation
- Feeling less lonely, judged or isolated
- Improving your coping skills and sense of adjustment
- Getting practical advice or information about treatment options
How To Find A Support Group
- Check the Counseling and Psychological Services website. CAPS offers support groups for a variety of audiences. They are open only to University of Nebraska-Lincoln students, and most are free. If there isn’t a support group for you, contact CAPS. We may be able to start a new support group or refer you to a group in the community.
- Ask a doctor or other health care provider. They may be able to recommend a local group for you.
- Search online. Many support groups are advertised online and on social media. Online participation groups may be available as well.
- Contact local centers. Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples or community centers in Lincoln may be able to help connect you to a local support group.
- Ask people you know with similar concerns. If you know someone struggling with the same situation, ask them if they have a support group suggestion.
Get The Most Out Of A Support Group
Joining a support group can be intimidating. You may be nervous about sharing personal issues with people you don’t know. Remember that it’s OK to simply listen at first. Over time, you may feel more confortable sharing your own ideas and experiences. Or are you a first time user of a support group? Try out our Drop-In Support Group where you can ask a CAPS therapist questions, receive support about any area of concern,or learn different tools for managing stress/distress and anxiety.
As beneficial as support groups are, don’t forget that they are not a substitute for regular medical care. Let your doctor or therapist know you’re participating in a support group. If you don’t feel the group is appropriate for you but you need assistance coping with a concern, condition or situation, talk with your doctor about counseling or other types of therapy.
CAPS is here for you. To learn more about us, call 402.472.5000 or visit health.unl.edu/caps.