Aware Support & Self Care Groups offer a unique opportunity for people, over the age of 18 years, to talk openly about depression, bipolar disorder and other related conditions and their impact. We guarantee confidentiality within normal limits. Peers share their experience and understanding and offer an exchange of thoughts and techniques around self-care and resilience.
If you are under 18 years of age, please contact childline for support.
View our six minute introductory video about Aware Support & Self Care Groups to find out more.
What Happens At Support & Self Care Groups
When you arrive at an Aware Support & Self Care Group, you are greeted by two Aware volunteer facilitators who provide you with literature about Aware services. A facilitator opens the meeting by outlining the group rules including confidentiality* and explaining the purpose of the Aware Support & Self Care Group.
Facilitators introduce themselves by their first name only and invite all attending to do likewise. The meeting is declared open to anyone who would like to share. Someone in the group shares their thoughts and feelings. To gain understanding for the group, a facilitator may ask some questions to clarify what has been shared. The facilitator asks the person sharing if they want feedback from the group and if so, opens to the group for their thoughts and support. A facilitator briefly summarises any options offered by the group before allowing the space for others to share.
A proactive approach is used throughout the Support & Self Care Group meeting in which participants can express emotion, acknowledge feelings, question thoughts and beliefs and focus particularly on helpful actions they can take. On average there will usually be between five and ten people at each group, with a mixture of men and women. Groups last an hour and a half followed by tea and coffee.
Is Support & Self Care Group for me?
Ongoing attendance at groups will give you a better understanding of your depression (and elation) and its impact on your relationships. The caring nature of the groups supports people to develop an understanding of their condition and to identify mood changes earlier which can minimise the disruption on daily life.
You do not have to register in advance and groups are free of charge. People are asked to introduce themselves on a first name basis. After that, you don’t have to speak if you don‘t want to, you can sit back and listen. You will be invited to share if you wish. It can be helpful when a family member or friend brings you to your local support & self care group, if attending for the first time. However they will wait outside to respect other people’s privacy.
What other services are available?
If you don’t want to attend a Support & Self Care Group just yet or cannot get to a one, Aware offers an online programme called Life Skills Online throughout the year. This online programme, based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), is supported by trained Aware volunteers. We also offer support for depression and bipolar disorder via our Support Line or Support Mail services.
Please click on a county below to see the available times and locations.