Solid Motives Matter
Before you start your own anxiety group you must have solid motives for doing so. The initial reason I started my own group back in March 2017 was because the closest group was near Manchester. I wanted to be able to talk about my anxieties without feeling judged or travelling over 50 miles so I started my own.
If you do start your own anxiety group it will help significantly if you have experienced anxiety. Otherwise anyone attending your group might find it hard to connect with you. That is just a personal observation though.
Ignore What Everyone Else is Doing
Every single article I read about help groups before I started said you need a dedicated venue for your group. We had a couple of meetings at a rugby clubhouse and it quickly became apparent that it wouldn’t work. It was awkward and there was no atmosphere. Everything seemed forced. When I decided to move the group to a local cafe it worked.
Find a place that feels right. It could be anywhere from a bingo hall to an ice-skating rink but don’t feel trapped by what everyone else is doing.
Market Your Group
At the very least you need a Facebook page for your group which will encourage you to decide on a name. I also have a website, dedicated email and Twitter account but that’s entirely up to you. People need to be able to find you so having a platform to share your events helps.
Advertising locally will encourage people to attend your meetings. You’ll be surprised how much free advertising you can get by being a non-profit.
Rules sound very high school but they are important. It will also help the other people in your group feel safe.
In the clubhouse days I always had an agenda because I didn’t think the conversation would roll without one. This is another personal preference but I no longer have a written agenda because we don’t need one. I have a few notes on topics I want to talk about but other than that there’s not much preparation needed.
Why You Should Start Your Own Anxiety Group
It is super rewarding and I have been told on a couple of occasions by my members that the meetings do have a positive impact on how they feel. It’s also a socialising opportunity which is a great reason to get out of the house.
I hope I inspired you to start your own anxiety group and if you have any questions feel free to contact me.
Together we can end the stigma that surrounds anxiety.