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Source: Thailand Medical News  Jan 24, 2019  5 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 8 hours, 40 minutes ago

Health Support Groups in Thailand (And How They Aid Recovery)

Health Support Groups in Thailand (And How They Aid Recovery)
Source: Thailand Medical News  Jan 24, 2019  5 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 8 hours, 40 minutes ago
“Health support groups” have been shown to be effective tools for patients battling all varieties of health challenges -- from heart problems to mental health to alcohol addiction. Joining such a group of individuals with similar experiences/conditions who are also on the road to recovery is one aspect of a comprehensive strategy to speed recovery.  In this article, Thailand Medical News explores the benefits of support groups and also give insights about what groups are available currently in Thailand.

Health Support Groups in Thailand

Many entities organize health support groups, ranging from small (often faith-based) community groups to enormous multinational institutions like the World Health Organization. As opposed to similar activities that require official licenses and/or accreditations like formal counseling, there are few restrictions on forming health support groups. 

In recent years, the internet has revolutionized health support groups, by both facilitating discovery of in-person meetings and with the proliferation of online support groups. In the 21st century, support groups are no longer limited to more traditional face-to-face meetings like the prototypical Alcoholics Anonymous meetup.

Thailand residents can access many Thai and English-language support groups across the country -- interacting in an atmosphere of mutual benefit, sharing experiences, developing coping strategies, building communities, and more. 

How Support Groups Promote Healing

Humans are social animals, spending an entire lifetime in communion with one another; people thrive in environments where they feel included. As such, shared experiences are powerful tools that can forge strong interpersonal connections. These connections are vital to the mental and even physical welfare of everyone, but perhaps most importantly for those who are struggling to achieve optimal health.

Scientific studies confirm that the encouragement and comradery of support groups can greatly improve health outcomes for patients facing a variety of health challenges. Benefits include:
  • Increased sense of belonging/community
  • Practical tips from peers for coping/recovering
  • A venue for vocalizing previously unexpressed feelings/concerns
  • Long-term and short-term management strategies
  • Overall increased sense of control over self
  • Discovering untapped economic or social resources such as public assistance programs
  • Motivation to continue pursuing wellness
Health support groups are not limited to patients themselves. Providing care for individuals battling health challenges can be very complicated; family and loved ones of people with health conditions can also experience great difficulty. Caregivers frequently benefit from support groups designed to help them maximize their effectiveness in their caregiving roles and to care for themselves in the process. For example, researchers from Mahidol University, in a 2017 analysis of a Bangkok stroke support group for caregivers of patients who had suffered a stroke, concluded that “the post-stroke care program improved family caregivers' post-stroke care skills which resulted in improved functional sta tus and decreased complications among post-stroke patients”.