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How Mental Health Support Groups Can Help You

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W. Nate Upshaw, MD

W. Nate Upshaw, MD

Dr. William Nathan Upshaw is the Medical Director of NeuroSpa TMS®. Since receiving training from the inventor of TMS Therapy nearly a decade ago, Dr. Upshaw has been a pioneer, champion and outspoken advocate of TMS Therapy. Dr. Upshaw’s holistic experience in the field has transformed him into Florida’s leading advocate for widespread accessibility to TMS Therapy.

About Dr. Upshaw

A healthy mental state is essential to our everyday mood, interpersonal relationships and psychological well-being. It affects how we make decisions and our contribution to the society we live in. Just as you would your physical health, your mental health should be maintained throughout the course of your life, from childhood to adolescence and through adulthood. 

Each year, 19% of adults struggle with their mental health. Due to the stigma attached to mental illness, only half of those affected seek treatment. When left untreated, mental illness can affect your thinking and behavior, which can lead to poor performance in work, school, and other everyday activities. 

Understanding Mental Health Disorders 

There are different factors which can contribute to mental health, such as biological factors, life experiences or family history of mental illness. While there is no cure for mental health problems, it is possible to treat and recover from them.

Some of the most common types of mental illnesses include the following:

  • Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders, including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
 

Mood Disorders

Those who experience conditions such as major depression disorder, bipolar disorder, and even seasonal affective disorder (SAD) usually have a difficult time regulating their mood. Each year, nearly 10% of adults are affected by mood disorders, feeling periods of sadness or unusual changes in mood. Individuals with major depression can experience significant feelings of low mood as well as loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. On the other hand, bipolar disorder can change a person’s energy levels and levels of activity. These individuals can experience high and low moods, known as manic phases and depressive episodes. Some people may suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which is a type of major depression triggered by periodic changes in seasonal weather. Most communities have depression support groups which can help those suffering relate to others facing similar struggles. By joining these types of support groups, members are able to share and receive advice with others to help cope with life’s challenges and ultimately, eliminate the stigma associated with this mental health disorder.

 

Anxiety Disorders

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the most common types of mental health disorders are anxiety disorders. Anxiety is a feeling of distress in relation to certain objects or situations, like dangerous or unfamiliar events. Individuals with anxiety disorders may try to avoid specific events or may encounter feelings of uneasiness when doing things that don’t involve any danger, such as everyday chores and errands. Those who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder should consider visiting anxiety treatment centers to find a support group, where they can learn helpful tips on how to deal with their condition and remove the stigma around anxiety disorders.

 

 

Normalizing Mental Disorders

While society’s perception of mental health has improved over the years, there is still plenty of work to be done. The stigma against mental illness is still powerful and can be overwhelming for someone struggling with a mental health disorder, which may cause them to feel hesitant to seek the proper treatment needed. 

 

Despite this stigma, there are a number of mental health resources available for those looking to recover. By talking about the importance of mental health, we can remove the perceived taboo that keeps people silent. Learning more about mental health allows us to positively spread information and help those directly affected. Most importantly, showing acceptance and respect when speaking on the topic can lift a significant amount of weight off those struggling to cope with their illness’ shoulders. 

 

 

How to Reach Out For Help

Are you committed to treatment but despite the support of your loved ones, experiencing feelings of loneliness? Or do you feel as if no one can relate to you? Forming a connection with someone who has endured similar experiences can help you feel more comfortable throughout your journey. 

 

In addition to traditional therapy sessions, mental health support groups can become a key resource in a person’s road to recovery. These weekly, in-person sessions (or during COVID-19 pandemic times, Zoom meetings) can help bring people together who have lived similar experiences. Whether it be mental health issues, substance abuse, chronic medical conditions, or other stressful life changes, these community medical services are formed by organizations and leaders looking to offer an environment where people feel safe and are able to accept the guidance of others.

 

 

Here are 9 benefits of mental health support groups:

  • You will realize you are not alone.
  • There’s freedom to express your feelings in a safe environment.
  • Constant learning of helpful information.
  • Improved social skills.
  • You will be filled with hope and a positive outlook.
  • A reduction of distress.
  • Increased self-understanding.
  • You get to help others.
  • Affordability.
 

These benefits can greatly influence your recovery. If you are able to participate in a support group, consider giving it a try; this could serve as a bridge between your medical and emotional needs. 

 

Below you will find a list of mental health and grief support groups located in the Central Florida area, but you can also ask your medical provider for recommendations they may have. When you start attending meetings, it may take some time to feel comfortable surrounded by a new group of people. Remember that finding the right group may be instant for some people, but others may need to visit different groups in their area to find the right one that works for them. It’s perfectly fine to keep looking until you find the right place for you, where you feel the most comfortable and at ease.

 

 

Finding A Mental Health Support Group Near You

Finding a community can help those looking to improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one is experiencing feelings of loneliness during the course of treatment, there are mental health support groups in your area that can help you find the community you need. 

 

 

Below is a list of mental health support groups in the Central Florida community: 

Mental Health Support Groups in Tampa FL

  • Who & Where: Teen Support & Intervention Group (190 Fitzgerald Rd, Suite 1, Lakeland, FL)
    • When: Every other Friday, 6:00PM
  • Who & Where: Anxiety/OCD Support Group (Online Meeting)
    • When: Every other Wednesday, 7:30PM
  • Who & Where: Free Weekly Eating Disorder Support Group, Center For Discovery (2111 West Swann Avenue, Suite 201 & 202, Tampa, FL)
    • When: Thursday, 7:00PM

Mental Health Support Groups in Wesley Chapel FL

  • Who & Where: Virtual Adult Groups, Hope Psychotherapy & Consulting Services (26829 Tanic Drive, Suite 101, Wesley Chapel, FL)
    • When: Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday
  • Who & Where: Virtual Teen Groups, Hope Psychotherapy & Consulting Services (26829 Tanic Drive, Suite 101, Wesley Chapel, FL)
  • Who & Where: Understanding Self & Others (Online Meeting)
    • When: 6:00PM

Mental Health Support Groups in St. Petersburg FL

  • Who & Where: Women’s Therapy Group (259 4th Avenue North, Saint Petersburg, FL)
    • When: Wednesday 12:30PM
  • Who & Where: Teen and Adult DBT Group, Dr. C Psychology (233 3rd Street North Suite 101, Saint Petersburg, FL) 
    • When: Contact host for more information.
  • Who & Where: Women’s and Men’s CBT Group, Dr. C Psychology (233 3rd Street North Suite 101, Saint Petersburg, FL) 
    • When: Contact host for more information.
  • Who & Where: Calm Your Anxious Mind (840 Beach Dr NE, Saint Petersburg, FL)
    • When: Contact host for more information.
  • Who & Where: Addiction Recovery: 1+ Month Sobriety, Alan Cyr (Online Meeting)
    • When: Monday 7:00PM

Mental Health Support Groups in Brandon FL

  • Who & Where: If I Were Not Here Anymore… (1403 Oakfield Drive Brandon, FL)
    • When: Second Sunday of the Month, 3:00PM
  • Who & Where: BMH,LLC with Shane Thomas Raymond (421 Lithia Pinecrest Road Brandon, FL)
    • When: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 8:00AM
  • Who & Where: Woman’s Group, Renewed Integrative Wellness LLC (138 E Bloomingdale Ave, Suite #1, Brandon, FL)
    • When: Contact host for more information.
  • Who & Where: Grief Group, Troutman’s Empowering Services (138 W Roberston St, Suite 8, Brandon, FL)
    • When: First Saturday, 6:00PM

Mental Health Support Groups in Lakewood Ranch FL

  • Who & Where: The Courage to Begin Again, La Alza Health and Wellness (8051 North Tamiami Trail, Suite F-2, Sarasota, FL)
    • When: Contact host for more information.

Haven’t found the right group you’re looking for? Visit psychologytoday.com to search more support groups in your area.

 

Works Cited

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 2015. HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50. Available from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.htm

Felman, A. (2020, April 13). Mental health: Definition, common disorders, early signs, and more. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543 

Holthaus, LISW, LMSW, J. (2020, September 10). The Importance of Mental Health Awareness: Pine Rest Blog. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from https://www.pinerest.org/mental-health-awareness-blog/ 

Susman, D. (2019, November 03). 9 Benefits of Support Groups: Advocating for Better Mental Health. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from http://davidsusman.com/2015/04/23/9-benefits-of-support-groups/

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