The CreakyJoints Australia team have compiled an extensive list of arthritis support groups around Australia. To find one that suits you, explore our interactive map and use the zoom functions in the bottom right-hand corner. When you zoom in to the individual red marker pins, the name and contact details for that group will pop up.
Groups sometimes come and go. If you can’t find one listed near you, contact your state’s arthritis organisation. If you’d like to add or remove a group from our map please contact us.
Have you recently been diagnosed with a chronic health condition? Have you had your condition for some time but feel you could use more information and support to help you manage it better? Do you care for someone with a chronic health issue?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, there is a good chance you will benefit from joining a peer support group.
Many people have a fixed idea of what they believe support groups to be like. Some may visualise structured meetings, exercise groups, online groups or just people sitting around whining about their ‘aches and pains’.
Support groups come in all shapes and sizes but they share many common features, such as:
Support groups can be run by health professionals, community groups or individuals. Groups can be categorised not only by who runs them but also where and how they are run. They can be conducted:
Facebook and other social media platforms are home to many thousands of support groups that are often set up by individuals or community/non-profit groups. Group sizes vary from a handful of members to thousands. They can be open to the public or limited to registered members.
Some groups are registered with the relevant health organisation for their condition. Others are unregistered and informal. Groups can also be moderated or unmoderated.
Peer support groups also vary in the types of support and services they offer. These could include:
Most groups also have some way of communicating which members between meetings. They might send out newsletters via mail or email or they may have an online platform as well as their meetings.
We all have our preferences regarding when, where and how we like to communicate but there are so many options out there that there really is something for everyone.
Now that you know a bit more about the types of groups available, you probably want to know what they can do for you. Some have already been mentioned above but there are many more, such as these:
Support groups are not ‘one size fits all’. Take your time and explore your options. Contact groups that interest you and ask questions about how they are run. You can even ask to go along to a few meetings to see if they fit your needs. For online groups, observe the types of posts and comments that come up for a while before you decide if you want to participate in discussions.
You’ll know when you’ve found the right group when you start to feel you are part of their community. Give it a go and you won’t need to feel you are alone in your struggles anymore.