Help Each Other Deal With COVID-19 Impacts: Start a Virtual Support Group With This Manual and Free Tools

Sections of this topic

    Start a Virtual Support Group to Help With Stresses of COVID-19

    We are all feeling stress, anxiety and fear about the virus. All of us can
    help each other — and we can do it from home and for free. This short video
    explains why this is so important and what we all can do.

    Free Step-by-Step Guidelines and Tools

    Welcome to this toolkit of free resources to organize your own small, virtual
    and confidential support group. The resources are for anyone — whether you
    are a bus driver, bookkeeper, business owner, teacher or health care worker
    — anyone wanting to help with the pandemic.

    The resources have been used for over two decades to start support groups around
    the world. All of the resources can be freely shared if they are marked with
    the Creative Commons terms on the bottom.

    All of this, as well as our ongoing direct help, is a free offering from the
    personnel in Action
    Learning Source
    , which has been helping people to successfully organize
    peer coaching groups around the world since 1995. The design of the groups is
    adapted from Authenticity
    Consulting’s
    Authenticity
    Circles
    .

    What Your Support Group Will Look Like

    The purpose of your support group is to help your members — including you
    — to feel less stress, anxiety and fear, especially about the impacts of the
    virus on their lives. That comes from you all feeling heard and accepted in
    your group. It comes from you all sharing ongoing feedback, materials and especially
    thoughtful questions. It comes from each of you continuing to act on what’s
    most important to you now.

    In your customized support group, there will be from four to five members.
    They will meet in 90-minute sessions over the phone or Internet every couple
    of weeks. There will be six meetings in total. Each member will get time in
    a meeting to get help from other members. Your members will reach out between
    meetings to provide more support when needed.

    How to Use These Resources

    You can use these resources to provide very useful and meaningful help during
    this time of crisis. You can do it from home — and you can do it for free.
    You don’t need to be an expert. We help you every step of the way.

    Be assured that the following tools have been used many times to efficiently
    start very useful support groups. Just apply each tool, one at a time. They
    build on each other. You might get a friend to work with you as a team. ( (The
    following tools use the phrases “support groups” and “peer coaching
    groups” interchangeably.)

    You can do this! Your group members will agree that your group was one of the
    most transformative experiences in their lives.


    “It is, without exception, the most
    impactful group process I have encountered, and I believe it could really help
    people in these uncertain times.”
    – Andy Horsnell, Social
    Enterprise Solutions


    Tools to Get Started

    1. How
      to Recruit Members
    2. How
      to Select the Technology for Your Group
    3. How
      to Prepare Members

    Tools to Support Each Other

    1. How
      to Facilitate Support Groups

    2. Tips
      for Facilitating Virtual Peer Coaching Meetings
    3. How
      Members Can Support Each Other Between Meetings

    Tools to End Your Group

    1. How
      to End Your Support Group
    2. How
      to Evaluate Your Support Group

    Many Sources of Free Help

    1. Consider
      These Resources for Yourself and Others
    2. Pose
      Questions in Our Facebook Group
    3. Attend
      Office Hours With Experts
    4. Email
      Us

    Optional – More Advanced Help if Desired

    You do not need the following documents to facilitate your meetings. However,
    as you gain experience, you might become more interested in them.

    1. Advanced
      Techniques in Facilitating Peer Coaching Groups
    2. Frequently
      Asked Questions About Peer Coaching Groups
    3. Peer
      Coaching Group Basic Evaluation Questionnaire
    4. Test Your
      Knowledge of Peer Coaching Groups
    5. How
      to Acculturate Groups for Effective Facilitation

    Are You Interested? Have Questions?

    If so, then email us at
    peersupport@StartSupportGroups.com

    Please Register Your Group With Us

    We have done extensive planning and development to provide these free resources
    and ongoing help to you. Our joy will come from knowing that people are using
    our help and how they are using it. We’d also like to know what else we can
    do for you.

    We will NOT share any of your information with anyone else or use it for business
    solicitation. Please take one minute to fill out this online form.
    Inform Us of Your Support
    Group


    Acknowledgements

    We would like to thank these sponsoring organizations:

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