Whether a person is newly diagnosed with diabetes, has been diagnosed for years, or is the parent of a child with diabetes, support groups can be an invaluable resource. Different groups serve different purposes.
Some groups are more educational, with members helping other members with advice, suggestions and solutions for challenges. Some groups are more social, enabling people with diabetes to network with each other and offer encouragement and support. Other groups are specifically targeted — for parents of children with diabetes, or for caretakers of people with diabetes. These groups help members to express their feelings of anxiety, guilt, fear or exhaustion, and members can help other members with tips on how to ease the burden.
Groups are available in every state, and finding one is easier than you might think. Check out the following resources to help you find a local group that meets your needs.
• Defeat Diabetes Foundation — The Defeat Diabetes Foundation has a listing of diabetes education programs and peer support groups in all 50 states. The listing is available at www.defeatdeabetes.org/ self_ management .text.asp?id=DiabetesSuppport_ Gro
• TuDiabetes is a social networking site for people with diabetes. This online support network allows people to interact, post advice, ask questions, write a blog and more. In addition, there are lists of events and specific groups of people who use insulin pumps, people who are married to someone with diabetes, parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, Christian diabetes, single diabetes and almost any other topic you can imagine. This comprehensive site is located at tudiabetes.com.
• The Children with Diabetes site provides a list, by state, of support groups for families. These groups allow children with diabetes to meet their peers, and help parents new to the situation to get advice from more experienced parents. www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/support
• Ashley’s Diabetes Information Center was created by a mother after her daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. The site offers a list, by state, of diabetes support groups. The site also offers two online groups: one for teens with diabetes age 12 to 18; the other for people living with diabetes. www.elviradarknight.com/diabetes/ supportgroups.html
• The American Diabetes Association has online message boards, which act as virtual support groups allowing members to ask questions and seek advice. The message boards are broken down into specific groups such as newly diagnosed, gestational diabetes, teens and young adults, etc. community. diabetes.org/n/forumindex. aspx?webtag=adaindex
• If you do not have access to a computer, another option to find a local support group is to call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES. No matter how or why you search out for other people with diabetes or caregivers, having others that support you (and what you are dealing with on a daily basis in terms of health) can greatly benefit not only your physical well-being but also your emotional and mental well-being.