Diabetes affects your life 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It requires constantly making essential blood sugar management decisions. Connecting with others who also have diabetes is key, as well.
Peer support communities, or support groups, help provide the ongoing support you need. Whether they’re in-person meetings or online sessions, they provide a sense of community and an outlet of support for individuals facing the day-to-day challenges of diabetes management.
Finding a Diabetes Support Group
Where do you begin when you want to find a diabetes support group or community? Here are a few tips to help.
- Check with government and nonprofit organizations – No matter where you live, government organizations and nonprofits (such as the American Diabetes Association) are likely to have support group recommendations where you live.
- Look on social media – It’s often possible to connect with other individuals living with diabetes on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Using hashtags to search, such as #diabetes or #type2diabetes on Twitter may be useful. On Facebook, searching the term “diabetes” may help you find active Facebook Groups for individuals who live with diabetes.
- Talk to your healthcare team – Talk to members of your healthcare team, such as your physician, nurse, or diabetes educator. They may know of local or virtual groups.
- Start a group yourself – If you don’t find a good support group, consider starting one. It can be as simple as creating a new chat group on social media. You can even ask family members and friends to help you find new people to invite to the group.
- Visit diabetes forums – Beyond a traditional support group, forums provide a place where you can ask questions, share news, post stories, and connect online. Discussions generally get organized by categories, such as diabetes news, diet, exercise tips, mental health, and others.
The Importance of Staying Connected
Staying connected, whether it’s through in-person support groups or online communities, offers multiple benefits.
Studies have suggested that being involved in online support groups1:
- Provides helpful tips for diabetes self-management
- Gives people a sense of community and feelings of empowerment
- Improves quality of life via sharing experiences
Some other benefits of connecting with others who have diabetes include:
- The chance to share your own story and experiences
- Hearing the knowledge, experiences, and stories of others
- Feeling less alone or isolated
- Sharing strategies for improving mental and physical health
- Enjoying practical tips from others to make diabetes management easier
- Getting good ideas for nutritious meals
- Enjoying encouragement and compassion from others on difficult days
- Learning new strategies for sticking to your physical activity plan
- Staying motivated to stick to your diabetes management goals
- Discovering information on new diabetes technologies, treatments, and research
- Connecting with other people and building strong friendships
While in-person support groups and online communities have many benefits to offer, the ability to build strong friendships is one of the most important. Beyond spending time with the entire group, developing a solid friendship or two — the chance to have a diabetes buddy — can be particularly helpful.
Having someone close that you trust to share your journey with removes the isolation you may feel; it gives you someone who understands the ups and downs of diabetes management. And that’s invaluable.